Beware of the Chair Makeover

Here’s a warning…if you read this post you are very likely to get a chair addiction. And there’s no cure!

This past week I taught hundreds of folks my design techniques in my Ugly Chair Challenge. It was a blast! I even made over a chair during the 5 days to show how to take something that is deemed ugly and turn it into a beautiful piece. And it was all in the moment…real time designing. I had no preconceived idea or plan before beginning. In fact, the first day I had the group vote on which chair I would makeover. And this is the one they chose.

And if the front wasn’t sad enough, take a look at the backside! It was cane and someone attached a cushion to it with buttons.

So, my first task was stripping that chair. Once it was down to the frame, things started looking much brighter for this sad arm chair. I could see the potential then.

The fun part was about to begin…the designing! I had a lot of fabrics in my studio that I have been wanting to use, so I laid them out and began thinking about what I wanted to achieve.

It takes a little bit of time and visualizing for me to see the vision of what the chair could become. I ended up with the Schumacher Avondale floral fabric, but I needed a coordinating fabric for the backside. Once I had the fabric selected, I knew the frame would be painted a soft creamy white so that the fabric would have the chance to shine. I chose Linen White by Benjamin Moore.

I tried out both the yellow and the pink geometric fabrics above, but finally settled on the yellow. The larger print seemed to balance well with the large floral. And the color was amazing, too!

I put in some late hours in my studio to complete it, but it was well worth the time. Just take a look at the final result!

I focused on the details like where to place the flowers to get the most from this print. I decided against doing something different on the arms because I didn’t want to distract from the amazing floral fabric.

I always try out different options on the arm to get the ones that really take my breath away. I love the big flower and the tiny ones…it’s good to mix it up!

The backside fabric was actually an indoor-outdoor fabric, but it worked perfectly with my floral.

So beware of chair makeovers…they have the potential for creating a chair addiction as well as bringing so much joy into your life. But if you want to enter this crazy world, my DIY Upholstery Course for Beginners is open this week only. And there are bonuses if you sign up early…like you get a 10-minute call with me to talk about anything you want!—that one expires Sunday (tonight)at midnight! I’ve got an amazing downloadable that teaches how I place my floral fabrics on chairs. I’m giving away a training that teaches how to mix patterns with a hero fabric, and another group call as an upholstery check in! Each of these bonuses disappear as the week progresses, so join the first day and you will get them all!

The course is pre-recorded, so you can start whenever you want, rewatch as much as you need, and have lifetime access. We’ve even got a FB group where you can get help if you need it. The course closes Thursday at midnight. You can join here:


I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

Check out my online courses to spark your creativity and upgrade your joy, starting today!

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