wing chair makeover — part 1

This weekend, I decided to try my hand at the most difficult DIY project I’ve tackled to date.

Reupholstery. Yup…serious reupholstery.

See, I picked up an old wing chair. And when I say “picked up”, I mean literally picked it up on the side of the street. It was in front of my neighbors’ house across the street.

I know, I know….but I couldn’t help myself.

Anyway, after I acquired my new old chair, I had second thoughts. So, I got a quote to see what it would cost to get it professionally reupholstered. The quote came back at $350 for labour, $60/yard and 6 yards of fabric, and an 8 week wait!

Hmmmm…I could buy a REALLY nice chair for that. Or I could just put this wing chair back out on the street.

Next stop was the trusty old internet. Amazing what you find when you google what you are looking for…”how do I reupholster a wing chair?” I asked. And low and behold, a zillion “how to” links pop up.

Well…if they can do it, why can’t I?

Off to Fabricville I go and pick up this lovely silvery damask print material suitable for the job. Five meters for a TOTAL of $40 and I’m good to go!

The best tips I read online from various sources are these:

Take the existing reupholstery off one piece at a time, you’ll soon realize that each piece is layered on top of another. It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion.

Number each of them as they come off. You’ll have to put the pieces back on in reverse order later.

And then mark important information like “top / bottom/ left side/ right side”…etc. these pieces will become your pattern that you lay out on your new fabric, so take the time to do it…it will save you time and frustration later, I swear! You’ll need a few tools for the job including an awl to pull out all the staples (I used a flat head screwdriver instead), pliers to get those pesky ones that just don’t want to let go, and gloves. It gets hard on the hands pulling out a thousand and one staples!

Remember to wear work clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Pulling off old upholstery is sort of like pulling up old carpets….it’s dirty work. And can be more than a little gross, if you don’t mind me saying.

The upside in my case, I found $3.51 in the cushions and hiding in the frame of my chair as I was taking it apart. For a free chair, I just made money!

Here are some pics of my chair being deconstructed…I think you’ll get the idea.

Next week, I’ll show you how to put it back together again, and my finished product…

For more about rouge, visit or check out past blogs at www.justalittlerouge/


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