I needed a new chair for my sewing desk upstairs, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money or get anything too fancy.

What I found:

Ugly mustard brown seat rubbed off in places, reddish brown wood stain that was fading away, all in all pretty scruffy.

I found a beat up pile of assorted old chairs at a local antique store. The one I ended up bringing home was only $15 and was a simple Shaker style chair that I thought I could make look pretty modern.

What I did:

My original plan was to re-stain the wood frame a dark, rich brown, but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to work. I’m definitely no expert on restoring wood furniture, and it was as if the original stain had faded away in places, but where it hadn’t faded, the stain wasn’t going anywhere. I was pretty sure any re-staining job I tried was going to end up splotchy and discolored, no matter how hard I tried to remove all of the existing stain. Maybe because it had been soaking into the wood for 50+ years?

Anyway, I went to Plan B and decided to go glossy black instead. I spray-painted on three coats of a glossy black, then finished with two more coats of a clear sealer.

For the seat, I removed the original vinyl and padding, and cut out a piece of new, bright red vinyl fabric, stapled three sides onto the seat board stuffed it extra full with pillow stuffing (necessary for my sometimes-extended sewing vigils), and stapled it closed.

The end result:

Chair is now evenly a glossy black, with a soft bright red cushion.

My Cost:

  • Chair: $15
  • Red Fabric: $12/yd * 1/2 yard = $6
  • Sandpaper: ~$5
  • Black paint: ~$8
  • Clear finish spray: $5

Total: $39

Other Tools Used:

  • Stapler