Do you have a bunch of old dining room chairs that you’re thinking of getting rid of? Perhaps you’ve moved into your first home and your family and friends have all rallied around in that way they do to donate you bits of furniture they no longer want … and definitely doesn’t match your decor tastes.
Don’t rush to order a skip to get rid of all the trash – look at how you can turn all that trash into treasure with these clever chair renovation projects that we promise you’ll definitely want to finish. From on a budget to splurge-spending, there’s a clever trick and idea for everyone.
21 DIY Chair Renovation Projects You Can Actually Finish
Whether you’re boot sale rummaging, staring in horror at donated household items, or just looking for a way to cheaply reinvent some of the stuff you already have in your home, here are some of the smartest and simplest DIY chair renovation projects. Don’t forget to let us know which one is your favourite!
1 – Covered, Studded + Fancy Chair Project
You can make these chair renovation projects as simple or as complicated as you like. This beautiful design looks like something that should cost a fortune, but just like the rest you’ll see here today, it’s a restored beauty – an old and ugly chair shown some love to make it something new, modern and refreshed.
This idea uses the idea of covering or reupholstering the chair, using metal tacks to frame the edge and add a little something new. Believe it or not, reupholstering your old dining room chairs isn’t actually as difficult as it looks, and if you click on the picture, you’ll find a full tutorial on how you can recreate this fabulous look.
2 – Woven Seated Chair Challenge
Originally this chair was a bargain store find, and with a little tender loving care, was recreated into a chair that is both versatile, fits in with whatever decor you need it to, and can even re-use old materials you have – clothes, for example.
Cut up old t-shirts, jeans, sweaters, whatever you have, and do it so they’re left in strips. You take the old chair out, remove the horrid and old cover, and use the strips of fabric to create a base – tie them to one side of the chair, and then tie the other side to the other. Using the rest of the woven pieces, weave your new chair base, and for a more in-depth tutorial, click on the picture. The professionals always describe it better, we know!
3 – Modge-Podge Wooden Seat
Modge Podge is a wonderful thing – you can use it for so many home DIY projects. We’ve found some on Amazon, but if you’ve found it anywhere else, feel free to shout out to us and let us know!
This beautiful design can be replaced with any design you like – you could cover the wooden base and back of this old dining room chair with material, paper, wallpaper, wrapping paper, whatever paper you like in fact. Let’s say you wanted to create a new chair for the kids room, and the kids currently have an obsession with Batman, you could use Batman-themed wrapping or wallpaper to cover the chair, using Modge Podge (or a mixture of PVA glue and water, a bit like the papier mache you once made in little school), to gloss it over and keep it all in place. Once that layer has dried, cover with a few layers of gloss and wax, and you have a wonderful custom-made chair that can be redecorated time and time again.
4 – Simple Seat, Simple Transformation
Just because a chair, or other piece of furniture, is a little bashed-up doesn’t mean it can’t still be a beautiful piece of furniture. You need to make sure the piece is structurally sound, and if it’s not, that you can fix it before you part with your hard earned cash, but a few gouges or scratches shouldn’t be what puts you off buying a second-hand or used item.
A faded paint job, a shabby finish, surface scratches and even gouges can all be repaired with the right tools, and with some tender loving care, can turn a piece that was almost trash into a little piece of treasure.
This simple seat is a classic example of this – a simple transformation. All it takes is a new cover for the base, and a couple of paint layers, and for more information just click on the picture.
5 – Distressed + Simple DIY Chair Project
If you’re going for a distressed look, the trick is to use two different colours. After you’ve sanded your chair ready for your new chair renovation projects, take a contrasting colour and rub it / paint it over the areas you plan to ‘distress’ later on. This is usually the areas of the chair that would usually get banged-up the most – the fronts of the legs, the front of the chair itself, the back, etc.
Once that contrasting colour has dried, paint the entire chair with your main colour – the colour you actually want it to be. Once that has been left to dry and you’ve added your multiple coats, use your sandpaper and go over the ‘distressed’ areas – the places we already discussed that usually get bashed-up.
When you go over it with the sandpaper (by hand is easier to control than with an electric sander), the contrasting colour you first painted will peek through, and it’ll look super amazing. Go over the entire thing with a gloss or wax to make sure it’s well protected, and you have one of those chair renovation projects you can’t believe you never tried before.
6 – Turquoise + Chevron Chair Upcycle Project
To get a really good finish for your chair renovation projects, you’ll want to use multiple layers of wax. Once the paint job has been completed and everything is dry, give it a going over with the layer of wax and buff it for as long as your arms will allow. Have a rest and buff it again, before leaving overnight to dry and seal.
The next day, repeat with another layer of wax and a good buff, and if your arms can stand it, one more layer again.
The point of this? The more layers of wax you’ve buffed into it, the more it’ll stand the test of time. One thing we learned when we completed a coffee table restoration job was that two layers of wax over two days wasn’t enough. With kids around, it wasn’t long before the wax buffed away completely, and not only did the paint start to flake and chip, it got dirty and stained which we couldn’t wash away. We had to sand and start again.
7 – Chair? Shelf? Towel Holder?
This old dining room chair has been given a new lease of life completely, chopped down so that it’s small enough to hang on the wall, but large enough to be used as a very cool and very unique little shelf. We think this would look great in the bathroom, don’t you?
The bottom bars work great as towel rails, and that top section is just big enough to have a couple of your favourite bathroom ornaments or bottles of something pretty-smelling. It’s actually not that difficult to achieve yourself at home either. A winning chair renovation project if you ask us!
8 – Purple + Gold Dip Dyed Chair
It really is as simple as adding a lick of paint to an old piece of furniture to give it a new lease of life, and this chair is a classic example of that. Just because that old dining room chair is a little out of style, doesn’t mean it’s time for the trash. Update it and give it a modern twist with a paintbrush and a few extra tools.
You’ll need things like masking tape, a craft knife (Stanley knife), a dust mask, sandpaper (and / or electric sander), paintbrushes, dust sheets, paint – the appropriate stuff for the job, scissors, white spirit for the cleanup, old clothes, etc. Make a list of all the things you need before you get started on your chair renovation projects and things will be less likely to go wrong, especially if this is your first time.
9 – Different Chair, Different People
Here’s a project the whole family can get involved in – why not have a different chair completely for everyone who sits around your table? Your kids could pick their own, you could pick your favourite, and so could your significant other. If someone likes arms and someone doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. If someone likes a hard back and someone else likes a soft cushion, who cares? Let them have their say – it pays to be comfortable around the dinner table after all.
You could have a good old rummage around thrift stores and car boot sales, keep an eye out on websites such as Gumtree, and let everyone pick their chair, and then pick how they want to redecorate it. You could give them a palette of colour options, such as these pastel shades, or let them let rip – it’s up to you.
Customise your dinner table how you want to. Why not? It looks like fun, doesn’t it?
10 – Simply Studding
Some chairs are just made of a really nice wood, and this chair is a classic example of just that. When the wood underneath is decent and you don’t feel like you need to cover it all up with a thick lick of paint, just sand it down, give it a wax, and leave it looking natural instead.
Studs have been added to the surround if the chair, but remember to be careful when you’re sticking them … We thought about putting them around the chair base itself until we realised that our legs would get stabbed by them and it probably wasn’t a good idea. Food for thought…
The chair legs have been dip-dyed a wonderful shade of pink, beautifully contrasting that re-covered chair base, and you can easily achieve this by using masking tape and a tape measure to get them about the right pink length, and painting them whatever colour matches your decor. Simple right?
11 – Half + Half Chair
What about when you like the wood but want some colour too? That’s the beauty of these chair renovation projects – you can customise them suit exactly whatever it is you’re looking for. If you want pink and gold leopard print, do it. If you want half and half wood with these muted pastel shades, do it. We actually think this looks amazing, and is easily recreated using different pastel shades and masking tape. Just have a bit of a plan first – work out what colour you’re planning on putting where. Although, to be fair, if it all goes wrong, you could just sand it down and re-paint it again.
That’s the beauty of these renovation pieces – you can keep customising them. If you change your decor, don’t change the chairs, just give them a fresh coat of paint or upcycle them so they have a new lease of life. Technically you might not ever need to buy new furniture again … and you’ll never run out of new projects!
12 – Flexible Folding Chairs
Even the cheapest of chairs can be given a new lease of life, just like these folding chairs, freshened up with a fresh coat of metal paint and some new covers for the padding – these are easily popped out and you can cover them with whatever fabric you like. You could match the curtains, or clash with them – the choice is yours. You could even use old baby clothes patchwork sewn together to create a wonderful custom-made piece for your kids room. Great idea, right?
There’s a great tutorial for these flexible folding chairs, and you can learn how to do it for yourself by clicking on the picture. Remember to come back and let us know what magical designs you come up with – we can’t wait to see!
13 – Just The Tip Upcycle Chair Project
It’s simple, it’s effective, and actually, we really kinda like it. How about you? The idea itself is super simple – sand the chair down and get rid of any old product, polish, paint or wax, give it a once-over with wood varnish to give it a good shine, and then ‘dip’ the top to match your room decor – it’s a great way to get the chair to match the rest of the room, but still keep a lot of the original features. Some of those old-style wooden dining room chairs are made from beautiful wood.
It’s super easy to do too – use masking tape to mark off the bits you don’t want to paint white (or whatever colour you’re using), and then paint everything above that. It’s a great way to add a simple and cheap touch to a chair to revamp it entirely. Perfect for the kid’s rooms too – if they scuff the chair up, you can simple redecorate it! (Or get them to earn their pocket money …)
14 – Mapped Out Chair Design
If you love to travel, why not look at getting yourself an old atlas that your dad always used to have in the back of the car, and that Modge Podge stuff we talked about earlier – you’re basically going to glue and then varnish this map to the hard base and back of the chair, giving it a brand new vintage look that we’re simply lusting after. What a simple idea, right?
You could paint the rest of the chair, or leave it with a clean wooden finish like you can see here, but just make sure you either use a good couple of gloss layers, or a decent few layers of wax buffering to make sure it’s well coated and protected. After all your hard work making this happen, you wouldn’t want anything or anyone to scuff it up.
15 – Sanded, Painted + Stencilled Chair Renovation
One of the first things you should remember about upcycling your old dining room chairs is that sanding is a necessity. If you don’t go through that sanding process, removing whatever paint / wax / product has been built up over the years, the finished results won’t be anywhere near as good as you wanted it to look. It’ll be lumpy, badly finished, and the colour might even be patchy in places.
Sanding might be a pain in the backside but it really is an important step. Take the chair into the back garden, make sure you wear a face mask, and get electric sanding, using smaller pieces of sandpaper by hand for those tough to reach places. That half an hour you spend then will make the rest of the chair renovations projects much simpler, we can assure you of that.
16 – Turquoise + Pink Repurposed Chair
The great news about these chair renovation projects is the fact that you can turn ‘ugly’ furniture into beautiful furniture. Do you know what that means? Cheaper furniture!
Think about it – you buy a few ugly dining room chairs from a car boot sale, or are donated some from your other half’s Nan and Grandpa, and you spend a few quid doing them up yourself. That’s much cheaper than paying a few grand for a brand new dining room table and chairs that everyone else on the block has got too. When did unique furniture go out of fashion?
17 – Woven Chair Project
Even metal framed chairs can be given new life with a coat of paint, and spray paint works well for these designs, but you’ll need to remove the back and the base of the chair before you do that. Either that or make sure it’s well covered. Remember those spray paints have a habit of flying everywhere and covering everything … Usually everything you don’t want to cover.
Rather than replacing the back and seat section of this, material has been stretch across, wrapped around, and then stretch back across the opposite way to create this strip-seat look. If you click on the picture, you’ll find a full tutorial, and it’s not actually as difficult to recreate as you first may have thought.
18 – Painted Back Chair Renovation
Another simple look that combines both neutral woods with pastel pops, a very pastel and pale blue she has been used to contrast the darker wood, and only the back, legs, and a small stencil on the seat itself has been painted. The wooden sections have been sanded, varnished, and waxed, and that’s pretty much all you need to do with them if they’re in decent condition.
Using the stencil idea, you could even cover the entire wooden base, and as a really cool idea, you could use these old wooden dining chairs as garden chairs around a table for outdoor entertainment and dining. Get whatever stencils you like and cover the base, or just pick one and paint it right in the centre. Just make sure you use the appropriate finishing coat if you want to use these beauties outside.
19 – Chair to Garden Furniture Renovation Projects
There are plenty of places you can find *free* chairs and other household items and furniture. People are always giving this stuff away, and there are actual upcycle websites where people list the stuff they don’t want in the hope that someone comes along and removes the problem, making it into something beautiful again.
Even if the back of the chair is a mess, or the arms are broken, or even if the seat is cracked – all of these things can be easily replaced and repaired to give you a piece of furniture that is 100% customised and unique to you because you made it. Don’t you just love the sound of that?
We’re totally obsessed with the idea of this clever chair renovation project – removing the back completely and making them into gorgeous garden furniture.
20 – Two-Chair Garden Bench Project
Here’s one of those chair renovation projects you can’t quite believe – two chairs have been cleverly moulded into a beautiful garden bench, although we can’t think of a single reason why you couldn’t move this right on into the home too. Imagine this along the hallway wall – shoes could go underneath, and handbags and other bits and pieces could be placed on the bench rather than dumped all over the floor. It’s beautiful, eco-friendly, and space-saving / multi-use.
If you click on the picture, you’ll find a full tutorial, but this is actually super simple to recreate yourself. You could give it a number of finishes, painting it brightly coloured for the kids, or even using Modge Podge and various fabrics or wallpapers / wrapping papers to give it a different finish. The choice is yours – that’s why we love it so!
21 – Mickey Mouse Chair
And one that the big and small kids will definitely love – Mickey Mouse chair renovation projects. This one is on a rocking chair, but if you don’t have one handy (who does?), you could always just paint the bottom sections of straight-legged chairs yellow to have the same effect.
It’s a super simple idea, but one that definitely does the trick, and you could use different colours and ideas to match different characters. Add some red and white polka dots and you’ve got yourself Minnie Mouse. Change things to blue and you could have Donald Duck, and you could always create Disney Princess chairs too – there’s nothing wrong to stop you from getting creative.
Check us out on Pinterest for more great home and DIY projects to get totally obsessed with. Don’t forget to come back and let us know what you come up with if you decide to get creative too! Tag us with #CherryCherryBeauty and if we love it, we’ll feature you too! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Happy DIY-ing! 🙂