Pinterest and YouTube have created a phenomena which makes DIY seem so easy and realistic. My dad was a craftsman with an entire garage full of tools that he actually used. I would play around in his workshop building stuff as a kid–one time I built bunk beds for my Cabbage Patch Kids, yes, I am owning that fact–and I always thought of myself as being pretty damn handy. So, of course, DIY is definitely the way to go for me to furnish my new apartment.

People put the craziest things in the trash. Last summer my husband and I found a fully functional teak garden table that was tossed out because of a broken hinge on the butterfly extension. After that, I started trolling before trash collection. I found this chair and I was inspired. Its burgundy stain was chipped and the wood was cracked in a few places. The cushion was kind of gross, faded fabric, and not particularly cushion-y.


First step, I removed the cushion.

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Yeah, this just wouldn’t do. I went to the store and bought foam. I couldn’t find Dacron, which I read helps smooth out nice cushion stuffing, so I just added stuffing between two layers of foam and held it really tightly while I stapled the fabric to the board. I used clean section of an old table cloth that had a few stains on it for the fabric.

IMG_0916I sanded the chair to remove most of the original burgundy. I wanted the wood shade to be closer in color to the other wood furniture I already have. I did not do the best job sanding. Really, I was just too lazy to get into the corners created by the carved wood. I focused on smoothing out the cracks and removing most of the visible color. I then stained the wood with two coats of natural color, and then lacquer.


My husband had the fantastic idea for how to adhere the cushion to the chair. I took the original nails that directly tacked the thin fabric to the wood, and cut off the head of the nail and hammered them into the existing holes, stake-like fasteners onto which I could hammer the cushion.IMG_0966

It worked very well. Once on the frame, I hammered about five nails discretely into pleats of the seat just to make it more secure. Then I added a black fabric border to hide the wood/cushion seem, to make it look a little less rustic, a little more refined.


And voilà! Here it is.   IMG_0968

I am quite proud of the finished product, but it really was not as easy as it might seem. The most difficult part was the sanding and staining, but pretty good for a first try and a free chair (the only cost was the foam as I had all the other tools at home).  IMG_0970