Reupholstering a Mid-Century Chair from Craigslist

 I’m a Craigslist newbie. Never sold anything on Craigslist, never bought anything on Craigslist, was actually kind of scared of Craigslist until recently. I’m not here to say that you should or shouldn’t be afraid of Craigslist… (that’s up to you), but I am here to tell you about my positive experience on this virtual marketplace.
I turned to Craigslist recently because I just couldn’t seem to find a chair that I loved for our new office. Usually if I can’t find an item that I love in stores, I turn to local thrift shops, and eventually garage sales and estate sales. Unfortunately during the Chicago winter, garage sales and estate sales are not really an option. What’s a girl to do?!
My answer: she should introduce herself to Craig and his fabulously resourceful List. Enter Craigslist. After a little searching in my area, I found this $20 mid-century chair and immediately contacted the seller. After a few friendly email exchanges… the chair was mine! With a carload of trusted family members (for back-up of course), I drove to a local suburb to pick this bad boy up. Here’s what the chair looked like when I got it home…
Less than desirable, but oozing with potential. I had to really enforce the “oozing with potential” to my pick-up squad; they weren’t as sold on that part as they were on the “less than desirable” part.
My plan was to clean up the wood & reupholster the fabric. I liked the neutral look that the chair already had going on, plus I had some other “loud” design elements in mind for the office, so I wasn’t sure that a loud fabric would compliment my plan. I decided to stick with the cream look and bought some reupholstering fabric from JoAnn for $6 on sale (of course). I also bought a layer of cushion to apply under the fabric for a little extra padding.
Before I could add those clean layers I had to rip off the old fabric, which was more like old wall paper? Now that I think back, I probably could have just adding my padding and fabric on top of the existing stuff, but I wanted to start fresh, which I am still feeling mixed about.
When I ripped off that layer of grossness, I found even MORE grossness. I’m not even sure what this next layer of “stuff” is, and to be honest, I’d rather not put too much thought into it. I closed my eyes and scraped the excess “stuff” off of the wooden base. I used this reupholstering tutorial to re-cover the seat after it was clean. With a layer of padding, some reupholstering fabric, and a staple gun, the whole cushion took about 30 minutes or less.
Next up: cleaning up the wood. This was the easy part actually. I sprayed a little Pledge all over the chair and wiped it off. That’s really all this seat needed because the wood was in pretty awesome shape, other than needing a good clean/shine.
It was already looking better! For the dramatic reveal, I reattached the new cushion and ta-daaaaaaaa:
A gorgeous mid-century chair on a rookie budget! For less than $30, I had a new desk chair with a lot of personality!!
What a difference a little TLC makes…

The subtle stripes on the cushion help give the plain-Jane, or should I say JoAnn, fabric a bit of a personality. Plus, it’s no secret that I just can’t resist a nice stripe.

I had no doubt in my mind that a little elbow grease and some sweet talking could make this wood shine again and bring this Craigslist treasure back to its glory days!
Since there is not a desk in the office just yet (soon, hopefully!), the chair currently doesn’t have much of a home. Once we commit to a desk idea and make it happen, this chair will hopefully be a part of the equation. For now, it looks pretty darn adorable in our office and adds a little more mid-century charm to this space.
I know I won’t be doing all of my shopping on Craigslist in the near future, but I am definitely adding it to my list & checking it twice. You heard it here first people: I have officially jumped on the Craigslist bandwagon! Hopefully it can find this lonely chair a partner-in-crime… #deskdreams

  • Susancnw

    So, what does the family think now?

  • They are big fans!! … I knew would be eventually!