Do It Yourself Cheap & Quick!

IMG_6194Continuing last week’s blog topic, one of my summer projects is updating a vacation rental condo that is a bit tired. I am working with a shoestring budget, but I’ve put my sights not only on replacing worn and damaged supplies, but also on key areas that will visually make the property more desirable to prospective tenants. Sometimes minor changes can make a BIG difference.

Last week we updated the master bedroom. This week we take on the guest bedroom which is furnished with two full size beds, a small dresser with matching night stand and chair and a TV. The duvets are a good quality Tommy Bahama print but were paired with ruffled white eyelet bed skirts, the chair seat was badly stained and the TV was dated.

First we tossed the eyelet bed skirts and purchased plain tan bed skirts that complimented the duvet print. Eyelet is for a “girly” room and does not go with Tommy Bahama décor and that small detail was one of the first things you noticed when entering the room. We also replaced the TV with a new flat screen … and I decided to have a bit of fun replacing the stained chair cushion. The owner said we could toss the chair, but I explained that the cushion was an easy and inexpensive fix and I’d make it a fun project.  Besides … I always recommend some kind of chair or bench in every bedroom … ideal for putting on shoes and socks.

So today I’d like to show you how easy and inexpensive it is to recover a chair seat, vanity stool, bench cushion, or even a full set of dining room chairs. First you should make sure that the chair or stool seat is removable. You should turn the chair upside-down to confirm that the seat is attached with screws. Often you will see that the material is stapled or tacked to a wooden base. Jot down measurements of the length and width of the seat.


You will need a screw driver to remove the seat and a flat head screw driver to remove the staples or upholstery tacks that are holding the old fabric. You will also need an upholstery stapler (about $10 at Lowe’s or Home Depot), scissors and fabric.

IMG_6194I made a trip to Joann Fabrics and chose a fun upholstery fabric that complimented the bedding and matched the tan bed skirts. I took along one of the pillow shams from the bed to make sure the fabric I selected would be compatible. Look for a “upholstery” type fabric that will hold up to heavy use and spot cleaning. Thin cottons and silky fabrics are generally not a practical choice and may tear away from the staples … but if you fall in love with a cotton print, it is possible to double up the fabric to make it more durable.  Make sure you purchase at least three or four excess inches on all sides. The sales associate at the cutting table will assist you if you are inexperienced at purchasing fabric. You want to make sure you have enough fabric to stretch over the seat, including the padding, and to be able to grab, stretch and staple at least one half inch from the edge of the seat bottom.   Too little fabric and you won’t be able to get a good grasp of the fabric to pull and staple.  A little extra is better than not enough.


Remove the seat from the chair base.

IMG_6193Using the flat head screw driver, remove all the staples and the fabric.


I find it easiest to work on the floor since you need to use some pressure when stapling. If your fabric has a definite pattern such as stripes or checks, you will want to make sure you line up the edges evenly. Spread your fabric out face down on the floor. Set the seat with padding face down on the fabric and wrap your staring side around the base. Staple, staple, staple. From here on out you will need to stretch and hold the fabric tight as you staple your way around the seat bottom.


Working around corners, pull fabric tight, little by little, and staple as you go. Remember that no one will be looking at the bottom of the chair, so you do not have to space staples evenly … but do use lots of staples so the fabric is tight all the way around.


Cut away excess fabric and attach seat to chair base.














Cost  … $6.00 for fabric!

Time … 30 minutes!









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