Ballard Designs inspired chair reupholstery

We almost passed by these awesome beauties this summer during our weekly yard sale outing since they were hiding to the side of the driveway behind two very large and very blue wingback chairs. Luckily I got out to inspect something else and had to walk right by them. They were a little rickety, but fixable. Whitney gave me the look that I’ve come to recognize as “I want that”, and what the lady wants, the lady (usually) gets.
PhotobucketThe listed price was $15 per chair, but by then end of our negotiations, I had it down to only $5 each. We loaded them up and whisked them back home to the garage. And there they sat, cluttering my workspace and crowding out the cars.
PhotobucketWhitney saw a picture of some fabric at Ballard Designs and thought it would be a fantastic look for the chairs. Of course at $24 per yard in the catalog, I knew it wouldn’t be happening. But she surprised me as she often does, by finding it for only six bucks a yard at a local upholstery fabric place.
PhotobucketSo with the fabric chosen, I set to work taking out the many brad nails holding the faux red leather in place. Those babies were in there good. I had to use needle nose pliers and a flat head screw driver to remove them. I had originally planned on re-purposing the nails for something else, but they were so difficult to pull, that by the time I had wiggled them out, they were either bent out of shape or broken.
PhotobucketThank goodness the age of these chairs were such that it made sanding quite easy. Most of the varnish had started to come up anyway. I used a 100 grit sandpaper and a palm sander to reveal the raw wood underneath. At only 30 minutes a chair, it seemed like a breeze compared to the faux fireplace or the zebra chairs.
PhotobucketNext, It was on with a white primer before covering them with an aqua latex paint. Yep, we went all crazy on them. But don’t fret, we didn’t leave it like that. We topped the blue with a cream latex paint- a trick we’d picked up along the way from all our blog reading research, most notably Mustard Seed Interiors.
PhotobucketOnce dry, Whitney took some sandpaper and lightly sanded over the top cream coat, revealing small scratches of the blue underneath. The cream really dulled the blue coming through – almost to make it look like a grey-blue color. The effect was a shabby, but not too shabby look, that went well with the fabric choice. It was then on to a topcoat of sealant.
PhotobucketThe re-upholstery was so easy on this piece that we didn’t get any pictures of the process. Oops. The seat simply came off and we wrapped the fabric around it, stapling at the bottom of the cushion before putting it back on. The back of the chair was just as easy- we covered the padding with the print and stapled it to the sides of the back. We covered the staples with some trim that we picked up at Hobby Lobby with a little hot glue and a bit of patience.

PhotobucketThey turned out pretty well for only being our second upholstery project don’t you think? And I feel great knowing my wife didn’t spend over $500 on this chair had she ordered it from the Ballard’s spring catalog.
PhotobucketFor the longest time the chairs didn’t really go anywhere in our house, and yet for some reason we haven’t been able to bring ourselves to sell these beauties. And truth be told, it was from these chairs that Whitney started coming up with her master bedroom mood board we’ve been talking your ears off about lately. So they’ll have a home yet.
PhotobucketAdd this to the growing list of things we’ve been working on to get the master room ready in it’s final reveal-all glory.
PhotobucketWe’ve done a few pieces of furniture now, and this, by far was the easiest. If anyone ever sees more chairs like this out there, call me. I’m on it.

Update: We revealed the master bedroom and chatted it up about all the costs involved here. Check it out.

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  1. How unbelievably precious are those chairs! Awesome job!

  2. I used a very similar fabric from Joann’s to make couch looks great on chairs!! You make it look so easy!

  3. I LOVE THESEEEEEE!!! How was it using a latex paint? Did you just use a paint brush or do you have a sprayer?
    They’re GORGEOUS!!!

    Pamela @

    • I’ve turned into a die hard sprayer – I just can’t get that smooth look with a brush (unless I water the paint down a ton and spend a lot more time). Thanks so much!

  4. They look great!! I want to know what kind of paint you used too and how you applied it!! Please share!!

    • I wish I knew the paint colors, I think there were just latex oops at HD or Lowes. We prefer to use semi-gloss for chairs. We applied with a sprayer and then sanded the top with both 100 and 400 grit sandpaper.

  5. Oooohhh, how very BEAUTIFUL! Totally and complete transformation!

    Deborah (visiting happily from…hope you have a minute to stop by too…)

  6. You did such a great job! The chairs look beautiful. Nice work.

  7. These chairs are beautiful now. The fabric you chose is just lovely.

  8. I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you’ve done with these chars. We are starting our own refabulating business from our front porch, call Our Front Porch, no website yet, just getting up and going. What you’ve done is wonderful, I am inspired, just not enough time to do all that I am inspired in refabulating pcs, probably good because I want to keep everything we do !

  9. these are so beautiful! A simple but stunning transformation!

  10. seeing this fabric makes my heart race…beyoncome visit anytime–and hope you will enter my shabby chic giveaway:


    micheled lovely!

  11. 100 times better! It doesn’t even look like the same pair of chairs :). Great job I love the fabric!

  12. LOVE these!! Even better than the original! I featured you today in my Friday I’m in Love favorites!

    – Jenn

  13. They turned out beautifully! It’s amazing to think those are the same chairs. The color is wonderful and the fabric was a great choice. I have a similar color scheme in my own master bedroom.

    Visiting from Inspiration Friday! : )

  14. WOW!! I’m SO impressed!! And I like your chairs better!!! Awesome job!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! :)

  15. Love it! Stopping by from

  16. Absolutely, Positively a Fantastic Transformation.

  17. These look better than the Ballards chairs! You did a fantastic job. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Addicted 2 Decorating.

  18. These came out wonderful- I love the fabric you chose and love the painted finish! Well done! Sharing these on FB- thanks for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday!

  19. Wow!!! Simply lovely! You did a great job! $5 per chair is CRAZY. These really turned out beautiful. Carrie

  20. Wow! That is quite a transformation! I’m always intimidated by upholstery stuff and that, combined with traumatic childhood fabric store purgatory experiences makes me shy away from chairs but you may have helped me overcome my fear!

    Terrific job!


  21. Wow! They look great! What a great find! You guys make good teamwork. I am your newest follower. Hope you can visit sometime.

  22. Oh my those are amazing! I hopped over from Homemaker on a Dime and I am so glad I did. I am embarking on a chair redo myself and this has totally inspired me!

  23. That is simply amazing! Actually you did better than the original. Thanks so much for sharing with my newbie party

  24. Love the chairs!! You did a fabulous job and the fabric is perfect!

  25. I *LOVE* this!! Love the fabric, love the worn out look on the wood, love it all. :) Thanks so much for linking up. :) xoxo

  26. So gorgeous. What a transformation! Love.

    New follower from Trendy Treehouse (:

    Kelli + Kristi

  27. What a stunning redo. I absolutely adore that fabric, so shabby!

  28. Wow, GORGEOUS!!! Love that fabric. I need to get brave and finish the chairs I ripped apart!! haha. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for you to share this (and any other projects you might have) over at Trash 2 Treasure Tuesday on the Korner! Thanks!!!

  29. LOVE the fabric! Great job!

  30. Yes, those chairs sure do look like the hopped out of the Ballard catalog.

  31. Yes, those chairs sure do look like they stepped out of the Ballard catalog.

  32. WOW! You did a fantastic job on the chairs! I love the colors. And, what a great buy for something that now looks so expensive.

  33. Um. WOW! So since you aren’t quite ready yet to put them in the master bedroom you are welcome to bring them over to my house to live for awhile. 😉 They turned out beyond fabulous!! Thank you for sharing them with us at Inspiration Friday.


  34. that looks fabulous!! this would be so great at my blog party. I hope you’ll stop by!

  35. What a transformation! Nice job!

  36. What a transformation! Gives me great ideas for the 4 chairs I picked up at an auction for $5 (yep, $5 for 4, not $5 each!).

    P.S. I came here from A2D’s link party!

  37. Everything about these looks AMAZING! Love the fabric choice! I think they look better than the Ballard chair! Thanks so much for sharing! :) Have a wonderful weekend!

  38. Wow! Beautiful! You did such a great job on the repholstery! I love, love, love the fabric. The colors would match our home perfectly.

    I would love for you to stop by and link up your project for Functional Friday.

    The Not So Functional Housewife

  39. Your chairs turned out absolutely GORGEOUS!!! I’m putting them in the SPOTLIGHT at the PoPP. Thanks for linking up.

  40. Guys, those chairs look great!!! ~ Barbara @

  41. Love these!!! Just discovered your blog and I love it. I’m a new follower. Hope you stop by and check out my blog. I also have a link party every Monday. Would love for you to stop by and link up.

  42. You guys, what a wonderful job you have done on those chairs. They are TERRIFIC. Congratulations. I just finished a chair myself last night, but it is nowhere near the fab. job you did. I will post it in my blog one of these days. Thanks so much for sharing. You are an inspiration.

  43. Love the chairs…am wondering the name of the fabric. I’ve looked around and have not been able to find it around me. Thank you.

  44. Whoah! That is a dramatic before and after, AMAZING! I’m now on the hunt for some old junky chairs to re-do! Thanks for linking up at Burlap & Denim.


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