Well, I found my new love…no, no - not human-wise, project-wise! That new love is deconstructed furniture!
I first noticed this look from Restoration Hardware and immediately fell in love. Since I was not about to drop a thousand dollars on one chair, I started my usual Pinterest research to see how to get this beautiful, fun and funky look.
My search was a bit of a surprise….for the first time (probably) ever, I wasn’t bombarded with a million different articles, opinions, project ideas, etc… there were only a select few articles that actually showed the process of how to deconstruct furniture. The main commonality I noticed was that each project seemed to vary greatly, simply because every piece of furniture was built differently.
After getting as much info as I could, I did what I do best…grabbed my staple gun, fabric (and other various tools), rolled up my sleeves, and got to work!
Let’s get into the details….
First, a list of the main tools I used:
- Fabric (I've had this fabric for a while but I imagine I bought it from JOANN Fabric)
- Burlap (same story here, I've had the burlap for a while and more than likely got it from JOANN Fabric)
I found this chair and ottoman at our local Arc Thrift Store. It was a steal at only $17 (after the 50% off discount :o))
Here is what the chair and ottoman looked like before….
Yes, Zilla (our boxer mix) inspects every piece of furniture that comes into our home :)
I typically find the most labor-intensive part of reupholstering is removing the old fabric. To make it less of a headache, you’ll want to have your piece elevated on a sawhorse table (or something similar) so you can easily access all areas of the furniture. Alas, I did not take my own advice on this one so I primarily was on the (cement) floor ripping it apart. Not too comfortable…lesson learned!
As I was inspecting the chair, I noticed the current fabric was nothing more than a slip cover – score! This one will be a breeze…or, so I thought…but what I failed to remember in that moment of excitement is that slip covers are covering something…and the mystery of what it was covering was soon to be discovered!
After the slipcover was off, I saw what it was covering….and the real work began…
I didn’t get pictures of the fabric coming off (but don’t worry, I’ll create a separate post with the steps to do this!) but in this case, my only goal was to get the fabric GONE. So, using the fabric scissors, I cut along the frame of the chair to get the big pieces off, then used the staple remover and tack puller to take off the remaining fabric on the wood frame.
You know I aim to be totally transparent with my experiences…and I don’t want this to seem like it was a ‘breeze’. Removing the fabric took about 3.5 hours…and I had to bring Cully in a couple of times to help with the more detailed, tedious parts (for those of you that know/follow me, details and patience aren’t really my ‘thing’. Lol).
One thing that took longer is the chair hand another layer of fabric on it…so a total of three layer that had to come off (that includes the slip cover though, which only took about 15 minutes to get off).
Here is a glimpse of how much fabric and other stuff came off…and this was only about 2/3 of it.
Now to upholster it….I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the arms, but I knew I wanted to use fabric on the back support area. First, it needed a bit more cushion, so I used a mix of the existing cotton batting and new cotton batting to fluff it out. Then, I measured the area, cut the fabric, and using the tack nails and hammer, I nailed the fabric into the frame of the chair.
I imagine by this point, I was getting tired as I didn’t take anymore in progress photos; however, I’ll walk you through the rest of the project...
I decided to take all the fabric off the arms and just have exposed wood for the arms. I keep the original blue fabric on the seat and added burlap to the front of the seat (the current fabric there was too worn so I had to replace it). Lastly, I cut out a new piece of fabric to cover the existing seat cushion. I did not sew it, I instead used fabric glue and large pins (on the bottom) to secure the new fabric to the seat cushion.
I recreated a similar look with the ottoman. First, I ripped off all the old fabric then measured, cut and nailed the new fabric on the top, leaving the base natural wood.
As a finishing touch, I used our All-Natural Furniture Wax (scented w/lavender and orange because it’s like aromatherapy!) to condition the wood and give it a more vibrant look.
And there you have it....a deconstructed chair for about $50 ($17 - chair, $20 fabric, $6 tacks, $7 cotton batting). Sure beats $1,000, right?
Before I leave, I’ll share a few lessons learned about this project, based on my experience:
Lesson 1: Deconstructing furniture is not necessarily ‘easier’ than a full-on reupholster project. It did take about 4-5 hour less than a regular reupholster project of the same size, but total time spent on deconstructing this chair was right around 7 hours.
Lesson 2: USE A SAWHORSE table next time – my knees and back will thank me
Lesson 3: There are MANY ways to get the deconstructed look – for example, someone else may have kept the arms upholstered or perhaps they may have replaced the blue fabric on the seat – the thing to remember is each deconstructed furniture project could look completely different from the next, depending on the build of the furniture and the look the individual is going for. Embrace your creativity and see what happens! Ok, this was more advice than a lesson but close enough :)
All things considered, would I do it again? YES! In fact, I already have another side chair and full on 3-person couch to work on :) Those projects will also be posted once I decide to start (and finish) them. But I usually need a break in-between reupholster projects.
If you like this article, share it! And as always, leave comments/questions below.
Until next time,