Chairs Inspire a Dining Room Makeover

My friend Amy and I have known each other ever since I moved back to Texas 18 years ago. And all that time she’s had the same dining room furniture. It belonged to her mother who had bought it used back when Amy was young. So, while the set was useful, it also had sentimental value to her. But it definitely had seen it’s better days. The table was unstable and the chairs were rickety. It was time for a makeover.

In December, I tackled that project with her help. We planned out new dining chairs while upcycling a couple of her old ones.

I insisted her sideboard would be amazing with a coat of paint, and so she found new handles and we set out painting it using Amy Howard’s One Step Paint in Easy Street.

When you have a perfectly good mirror, why not paint it too? The pop of green made all the difference in the room.

I found this amazing 8 foot dining table on Craigslist last summer for $50. It’s been sitting in my garage since then. It would be her new table…but with a coat of fresh paint…actually lots of coats! I used Benjamin Moore Advanced in Linen White.

I took 6 antique chairs from my stash to be the set that would go with the table.

But the entire design really started with our hero fabric from Schumacher that we would use on the chairs. Amy has loved this fabric ever since she saw it on a set I did last year. We settled on linen and cotton seats because velvet felt too heavy for the space. From there we added in solids and checks in the same color. You can see how the paint worked great with all these fabrics.

I used the main fabric on top, and a variety of fabrics on the seats that included solids and checks.

Three would have a green color scheme and three would have a periwinkle blue.

I couldn’t resist making the welt cord out of the embroidered fabric.

And we kept two from her original set to use as extra seating and donated the rest. The green paint completely changes the dark look to a happy and fun chair.

The pompom trim added a bit more personality to these two chairs.

And now look at this amazing set! It has lightened up her space and added so much personality.

The room itself is so bright and cheery now compared to before.

I can’t wait to be invited over for dinner! (hint hint)

The only new thing in this space was her light fixture from Lowes, and I convinced her to go with round bulbs. Doesn’t that just make this space?

In the end, we upcycled some of her furniture and brought in some “new” upcycled pieces which included the table and chairs. And it was the chair design that set the tone for the entire room.

This is a perfect example that you can make an amazing room using antique and vintage pieces. Doesn’t this inspire you to do the same? Chairs really can be the inspiration for an entire room.

It starts with fabrics and a good color scheme. On January 26, I’m doing my Ugly Chair Challenge again. It lasts for 5 days, and we dive into how to design a chair. It’s the most fun thing you’ll ever do in a challenge, I promise. It’s only $10 to join and you can check it out by clicking here. I hope you’ll join me for this 5-day fun event!


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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