Chair Upholstery & Deck Revamp

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One of my first ever finds at the Burlington Flea were these white, metal, outdoor chairs. At the time, I had just moved to Cincinnati and had very little furniture and was on the hunt for a few chairs that I could add to my existing table. When I was told that they were $10 a  piece, I was so excited I completely forgot to bargain! Of course, they needed a little bit of work, but I needed super cheap and had plenty of time. 

The chair cushions & seats needed the biggest overhaul and the metal needed to be sandblasted & painted. I decided that the first item that needed to be upgraded was the seat. My apartment was pretty small and my list of tools wasn't really all that long, so I loaded everything up and took them home to Tennessee. 

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First Steps

  1. As you can see, the chairs had a great shape and had plenty of potential! The first step was to get rid of all the fabric that was existing. It was time for the faded plaid to go! Flipping the seat over, I had to pry out each one of the staples with a screwdriver until the fabric & foam were loose. 
  2. Once it was all off, I realized that the "wood" that was being used for the seats was actually a moldy, soft particle board. So I decided to replace the particle board with some new MDF. I traced the circle 4 times onto 2 half sheets of particle board, making sure the edge of the circle was close to the edge of the board. 
  3. I secured the board down with C-clamps, and began to carefully cut the circles out. I used a jig saw to get a smooth edge on the circle. Other than taking out all the staples, this was probably the most time consuming part. 
  4. Once the bases were cut out, it was time to assemble all the pieces - cushion, backing, fabric. Each layer, not including the cushion, had to be stapled on separately. Make sure to cut the fabric a few inches bigger than your actual chair to allow for the edge of the cushion as well as enough to staple into. You can always trim it down afterward, but it is much easier if you have enough fabric to work with. 
  5. Originally I used old burlap coffee bags for free from a coffee shop. The burlap was a fun graphic material that I knew I didn't want forever, but a great temporary solution. The intention was that the burlap would only be for a short time, but it lasted much longer! Finally, I changed it up when I started doing the back porch refresh with beautiful Maharam outdoor fabrics! Start with one side, then the opposite so that you have a staple on all four sides. Then you can begin to pull the remaining fabric up and staple it in. When stapling the backing & the fabric, it is important to pull the fabric pretty tight so that the fabric is taught when done. This will help with the durability of the cushion as well as it will look more polished when done. 

Above is the finished product of both the white chairs and of the newest addition, the navy chairs (which were also a great find at the flea for $40 total). Both probably could have used sandblasting, but for $40 a piece, I thought I could make it work with a power sander. I didn't sand every piece of the chairs, but instead took the easier route and made sure that the metal along the top was nice and smooth. I then proceeded to spray paint them - the white chairs with Valspar's White Gloss spray paint and the navy chairs to match the bar cart with Liquitex in the Prussion Blue (which I was told is going to be discontinued - so I may be buying more for backup!). The white chairs took no sewing, but the navy chairs cushion did need to be sewed together because of its shape prior to stapling to the chair. Tyler's aunt, Aunt Cindy, who is a pro at pillows and window treatments, helped me out making the chair cushions as well as a few pillows for the sofa! 

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Last year, our back porch didn't get much attention, mostly because I was focused on a wedding, it was our first summer and we weren't home very much. However, for the past month or so, the back porch has slowly transformed, and I am happy to say that we use it almost every day! It has been so nice to have a dining and lounge space on the back porch. It seems that when we are both home, we grill most dinners and will just sit outside and enjoy the sun! A few things that I think make this space so enjoyable is the ceiling fan, a bit of greenery and having the bar cart filled with all our outdoor essentials - bug spray, candles, lighter, etc. Overall, the space didn't really cost all that much to transform, but the changes have made the porch so much more enjoyable and honestly has truly added another room to the house! 

Hope you are enjoying the summer weather as much as we are! 

Happy Porch Sitting! 

-a.