French Distressed Chair and Easy Upholstery Tutorial

This French distressed chair with easy upholstery tutorial is for any French decor loving girl.

French Distressed Chair and Easy Upholstery Tutorial.

Some people can be easily intimidated by upholstery projects but I’m here to tell you that it is very easy, especially on chairs like this that only need the seat upholstered.

And the best part of this DIY project is that it is very inexpensive as I use a drop cloth and stencil and paint to give this chair a makeover.

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To get started, here are is what you need for this project:


Here is the chair before she got a makeover. It was $4 from the Salvation Army, solid wood and from Romania.

The chair before a wooden chair with a neutral seat.
The chair is stamped made in Romania.

Paint Directions:

  1. Unscrew the seat from underneath and set aside.
  2. Paint the chair with 1-2 coats of white paint drying 1-2 hours in between coats.
  3. Paint the chair with 1 good coat of the charcoal grey paint.
  4. Allow to dry 24 hours before sanding and sand the entire chair with fine grit sandpaper sanding more around the edges for a natural distressed look. Wipe off excess dust.
  5. Finish the chair by rubbing clear wax over chair with a rug then wiping/buffing off as you go.
Painting grey over white paint to distress it.

Upholstery Directions:

1. Lay the seat upside down on the piece of drop cloth keeping the old fabric attached to the seat (you can remove the fabric but then you will need new foam and batting so it’s easiest to just leave it on). Cut around the chair leaving about 2-3 inches all around.

Putting new fabric on the seat of the chair.

2. Starting in the middle top or bottom, pull the drop cloth a taut then staple. Do the same to the opposite side as pictured below. You want the fabric pulled nice and snug but too tightly will make pulls in the fabric.

Stapling down the fabric onto the chair.

3. Repeat the same on the sides of the chair alternating top, bottom, side, side with one staple next to the first staple about an inch apart repeating until you are only left with the corners.

The chair seat and the fabric being stapled on.

4. For the corners, (1) pull the middle piece of fabric towards the centre of the chair and staple. (2) Then pull one side over the part just stapled and staple in place (3) and repeat for the last piece. This will ensure a nice fit with no fabric pulling from the top side.

Stapling the corners of the fabric.

5. Trim off the excess fabric.

The seat all stapled with the new upholstery.

6. Tape the edges down with packing tape (it’s all I had on hand and seemed to do the trick!)

French distressed chair and easy upholstery tutorial/drop cloth seat - So Much Better With Age

7. Flip the seat around and place your French stencil on the middle of the chair and secure with painter’s tape. Squeeze a bit of black fabric paint on a paper plate and dab the foam brush into it dabbing off excess on a paper towel. Dab the foam brush up and down over the stencil onto the fabric moving making sure the paint doesn’t bleed through under the stencil.

8. Let it dry then screw the chair pad back to the chair.

Isn’t it so sweet and French?

The chair painted a distressed grey with the new upholstery on it.
fleur de lis stamped onto the seat of the chair.
Up close picture of the distressed paint on the chair.

I hope you try making your own beautiful French distressed chair along with this easy upholstery tutorial.

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French Distressed Chair Easy Upholstery Tutorial graphic.









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