I’ve spoken quite a bit about how much I love a good junk shop find. Well, this chair started its life with me when I found it in a skip outside my flat in Tooting Bec, many moons ago. It was chipped, battered, covered in splashes of paint and missing a seat cover but I loved the turned wooden legs and the shape of it (and I felt oddly sentimental about someone throwing it out) so I rescued it.
It then came with me as I moved from flat to flat across London before arriving with me a few years ago at my current home. After all that travelling I thought it deserved a makeover so I gave it my full attention and now it sits, scrubbed up and pretty, next to my other dining chairs like a happily re-homed puppy. In fact I feel so sentimental about this chair I can safely say it will never find itself back on a rubbish pile. We’ve been through a lot together.
Here’s how I upcycled it – I hope it inspires you to do the same!
Step 1: Scrub it clean. This took several goes with a bucket of water and a scrubbing brush. You need to get all the dirt, oil and dust off and also scuff up the surface a bit for the paint to take well.
(I forgot to take a photo of it before I started the first coat of paint but i think you get the picture!)
Step two: Apply your first coat of paint. *disclaimer* I’m a big fan of chalk paint – I’ve painted my entire kitchen and bathroom in the stuff and I planned to use that in this makeover. However, when it came to it I realised I’d nearly run out! So I started with chalk paint then finished with regular Matt emulsion. Which works. But chalk paint is quicker and easier as you don’t need to bother with an undercoat etc.
Step 3: Apply your second coat. In lieu of enough chalk paint I used a Laura Ashley emulsion paint colour called Cloud for the top coat, which is as lovely as it sounds. Bright white with a hint of sky blue. I applied two coats to give a thick, even coverage.
Step 4: Wax or varnish. Depending on the finish you want, you can now either wax or varnish your chair to lock the colour in and give it a hardwearing finish. (Annie Sloan do great waxes and varnishes.)
Step 5: Remove and cover the seat pad. In the spirit of full honesty, I’m letting you see the underside of the seat pad after I covered it. It’s not pretty! But as no one will ever see this side, I just pulled the material tight and fixed it with drawing pins. An upholsterer would be appalled but then an upholsterer is never going to see the underside of this chair, so I figure that’s ok.
Step 6: Admire your new seat pad from the front. And forget what it looks like on the back…
Step 7: Pop the seat back in.
Step 8: Admire it! See, wasn’t that easy.
Step 9: Give yourself a pat on the back for rescuing something from landfill and giving it a shiny new makeover
Happy upcycling! If you’ve done something similar I’d love to see it – add a photo to the comments below or chat to me on my social channels.
All images: Victoria Harrison