How an Ugly Chair Turned Sexy

Back in January I hosted the 3rd Ugly Chair Challenge, and let me just say that it was a blast! In this challenge, I taught all about how to design a chair. (If you’ve never participated in my challenge, you’ll definitely want to do it when I bring it back in August.)

The best part of the week is the makeover that I do on a chair during the 5 days of the challenge. It started with showing the group 3 chairs, and allowing them to vote on the chair that they would like to see me makeover. Here were their choices…

The group voted, and the result was overwhelmingly in favor of this chair below. It had dated fabric, but an unusual asymmetrical shape.

I stripped the chair down and made repairs to the frame. Then, my mind turned to what fabrics I would use.

I had been hoarding this butterfly fabric from Katie Kime for months, wanting to use it but not having the right chair. I determined that it would be at least a few of these fabrics below. Then, I painted the frame black. I always let the fabric drive the paint color.

The biggest dilemma was the seat fabric. I thought I would use the scribble fabric that I picked up from my favorite local fabric store, Plush Fabrics. But I also had an idea that maybe a fur might be the right choice. I waited until it was time to put on the seat fabric before deciding.

I had toyed with the idea that the spot fabric might be fun on the backside, but in the end I put the butterfly on both front and back. It was just too cute to not use it on both sides. I chose a different scene from the fabric for each side.

I ended up using hot pink welt to make it stand out since the butterfly fabric wouldn’t have made a great welt for the black frame.

The spot fabric went on the arms to add a bit of surprise. This fabric has been discontinued but I just happened to have a few scraps left over from previous projects.

And the fur won for the seat. The scribble fabric would have been okay, but not the best choice in the end. When I laid the fur on the seat, it took my breath away.

The design is the most fun part of doing a chair makeover, but sometimes you have to take some risks and try things. I know that I can always change my mind if I need to.

Aren’t chair makeovers just the best? You get to reimagine it and use your creativity…which is so much fun. And that’s how this chair went from ugly to sexy in only 5 days! If you want to learn more about how to design showstopper chairs, head on over to my YouTube channel and watch this latest episode. Click 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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