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Designing the Gypsy Look

I always get excited when clients are adventurous, that’s no shock to anyone, I’m sure.  This latest project took on a gypsy look using a long banner textile purchased from the Middle East. Just as a side note…I love it when I get these packages from Uzbekistan. Typically they are wrapped in plastic or rough cloth with a red wax seal holding everything in place. 

I had four Victorian chairs in desperate need of a makeover. The upholstery and insides were completely ruined and the finish was flawed as well. 

Once the fabric was gone, I began working on stripping the finish of the mahogany chairs. This involved lots of stripper and hours of sanding. To lighten the wood, I had to wait for a sunny day in February to bleach the chairs. It’s a tedious process but the results were well worth it. 

Next, we had to find the right fabrics for the seats. My client wanted all different colors for the seats, so I went to work looking for the right shades of velvet. 

Then, the chairs started coming together. I knew as I upholstered the top, they were going to be stunning. 

The lighter wood took on that relaxed boho feel while the fabrics gave it a carefree gypsy look.

The seats made the top fabric stand out.

All the trim was done in different velvets to add more color to the top front and back. 

And that combination of chair style, wood, and fabrics is how you get that gypsy look, my friends. 

I always like to ask, which is your favorite?  But it’s really hard for me to choose. I think it’s the combination of these together that make them all so dynamic.  What do you think? I would love to know in the comments section!

Wendy Conklin

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!


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