Bar Stool Redo

Thanks partly to the crash of 2008 and Pinterest, millenials have perfected the art of taking cheap thrift store (and in some cases, perhaps even side of the road) finds and transforming them into stylish furniture pieces worthy of a chic home. It’s become so common, I almost felt it pointless to even bother writing about this — but every time I complete a project, I get questions as to what I did, step by step. So here it is.

To be honest, I sort of rushed through this particular piece. We are in the midst of a kitchen remodel (with a side project of tiling the bathroom floor), so I’ve been sort of drowning in projects lately.

I’m in my 24th week of pregnancy, and my second trimester energy burst is already starting to decline. That’s actually the only reason I did this project — I needed a form of seating in the kitchen and a single bar stool seemed like the best option.

If I had it my way, I would have just ordered this one from Restoration Hardware in antique white. But alas, we’re putting money into the kitchen and I’m a stay at home mom, married to a civil engineer, not a man with a trust fund (side note, I wouldn’t trade my Ryan for ANYONE).

So on a random Wednesday, Porter and I went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and I immediately spotted this beauty:

Ok, maybe it’s actually quite hideous, but then I turned it into this:

It’s super easy, but you’ll need these items:

  • 150-ish grit sand paper
  • Rubbing alcohol or vinegar and a rag
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Screw driver

Here’s how to do it:

1) Unscrew the cushion. You can usually find the screws by turning the chair upside down (probably one screw near each corner), remove the cushion, set aside.

2) Lightly sand the wood (just rough it up a little) using 150-ish grit sand paper. People hate sanding, but it really helps the adhesion and it honestly doesn’t take that long. Like I said, it’s a super light sand. Shouldn’t take you more than 3 minutes.

2) Spray it down with alcohol or vinegar and wipe debris away.

3) Add a layer of primer. I used this one. I love spray primers for projects like these because they’re so convenient. Let it dry for 30 minutes or so, then it’s ready for your first layer of paint.

4) Pick your paint. I used a sample paint I had leftover from picking a wall color for baby #2. The color is Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist and the cane back section is Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (my most favorite white paint EVER). I applied it with a brush and I actually didn’t notice any brush strokes after the second coat. I just buy middle range brushes from Home Depot. They’re nothing too special, but they’re not the super cheapo ones.

5) Reupholster the cushion.

  • Remove the nasty 80’s material using an exacto knife and try not to think about how many gross butts have sat on it over the years.
  • Decide about a foam replacement. In my case, the foam was actually in pretty good shape, so I decided to keep it. Again, drowning in projects over here and didn’t feel like driving to Michael’s to buy a new one. But in some cases, you will need to. Just ask an employee where to find chair cushion foam.
  • Place your chosen fabric upside down, place your cushion on top of that. Cut the fabric into the shape of your cushion, but leave 3 inches or so extra fabric on each side so that you have enough to pull over and secure with a staple gun. If the fabric ends up covering the screw holes (mine did) then just poke a hole through the fabric right at the screw hole so you can get the screw back in without twisting the fabric. Tip, pull the fabric as tightly as you can, then secure with staples.

6) Place the cushion back onto the chair and screw it it. I recommend waiting a full day to do this so that you don’t scratch your paint in the process.

I was much more meticulous about painting my kitchen cabinets, which I will be writing about soon, but this was a quick project that enabled me to have a place to sit as my pregnancy continues to limit me physically. The first time I redid a chair, it took me longer to do. But once you do a couple, it becomes routine and easy.

No more excuses to have ugly chairs now haha. Xo