lines

Blog

Styling Guide

Bring the Chair Whimsy aesthetic into your home with our styling guide!

Explore Categories

Victorian Makeover Possibilities

Who doesn’t love a good chair makeover? I certainly do! This coming week I’m hosting my Ugly Chair Challenge where I’ll show how to use fabrics and paints design a chair. That’s why I do what I do…to see the transformation.

And what I’ve found is that some of the most dramatic chair makeovers involve ornate, Victorian style chairs. Some people might pass these chairs by thinking their best days are gone, but I never do! The possibilities are endless. You just need a little imagination. Here’s some of the ways I’ve styled these Victorian chairs over the years.

The Fun: I still remember this first set shown below from a few years ago. I bought the chairs on a whim that I could do something cool with them. I had never attempted to transform something like this before.

Before

I used Kim Parker Ariadne’s Dream in linen with a navy chalk paint and dark wax. The surprise was the backside with a red animal dot print. What a fun set this was!

After

Hollywood-Glam: I took two more of those frames and did something glamorous. The gold paint and banana leaf fabric gave this chair a Hollywood-vintage vibe. These chairs would look beautiful in a blush pink room!

After

Whimsical: This next set of chairs were pretty sad looking when I picked them up. They were dirty and lacked inspiration. But I knew they could be something great.

Before

I took this super fun fabric with purple flowers and black/white butterflies and paired it with a black painted frame. I worked hard to get the flowers in different places on the backside. They were a touch dramatic and a bit of whimsy.

After

Bohemian: Red velvet fabric might scare a lot of people off, but I have trained myself to totally ignore the fabrics and the finish of chairs. I look at the shape and I knew this one had potential for an amazing set of chairs.

Before

I paired these chairs with various Mexican textiles and bold colored velvets with black paint. These are some of my all time favorites and give off a cool boho vibe.

After

Classic: This next set was super dramatic in gold and red fabrics, but my client needed silver and a variety of colors.

Before

Each chair has a color scheme with a solid seat and a floral-inspired top fabric. These became classy with a touch of glam by adding the silver paint.

After

Romantic: This final chair was one I completed just a few weeks ago. I went with one of my favorite floral fabrics from Designer’s Guild. I wanted a romantic look.

Before

A romantic chair is what I got! I went with black paint to help the fabric pop and to tie into the charcoal black already in the fabric. And that decided that the fabric would completely cover the entire chair. I couldn’t be happier with the result.

After

The next time you see an ornate Victorian frame, don’t hesitate…get the chair. You can create fun, whimsical, glamorous, classy, bohemian, and romantic looks (among many others). With a little creativity and imagination, the possibilities are endless.

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!

white-lines

Bring some whimsy into your home!

24-Upholstery-Ideas
white-lines

Get 24 chair upholstery ideas for your next project!