This DIY project was taken on last summer and took me a year to post on this space. (If that’s not any indication of how jam-packed my year has been, I don’t know what is.) Every single time I catch my six painted & reupholstered dining chairs out the corner of my eye, I remember one thing:
When an old friend asks you to go ‘garbage picking’ with her on a Tuesday night, you go.
My best childhood friend, Karen, was telling me about how she furnished every room in her house with a reclaimed or renewed piece she found by trolling the streets of her neighborhood on ‘bulk’ garbage night. What she discovered on these excursions was that a lot of people throw out perfectly good stuff because a screw came out or they were in the mood for updated version of said stuff. What they considered a piece of trash she considered a perfectly good (FREE!) addition to her new home. I agreed.
Last summer, I had just moved into a new apartment and was looking to furnish it for cheap (FREE!). I went with her one Tuesday night, and in the first 15 minutes of us setting out on our garbage picking adventure, this is what I scored:
It must have been fate. We rounded the corner of a block, and saw a man putting out one, then two, then four, eight, twelve…a whole stack of these black restaurant chairs! His restaurant had closed down and he was storing these in his basement.
I picked out six since I needed them for around my eight-seater dining table and I already had two clear chairs from IKEA at each end. I also took home that butcher block metal rack on wheels that was thrown out because one of the wheels was off (a 10-minute fix) and was dirty (cleaned it in 5).
The first things I did was remove all the seat cushions and sand down each chair. Since I was taking the chairs from black to white, I painted each with a primer coat. When that dried, I painted two coats of glossy white paint on top.
To reupholster, I shopped around for a neutral, modern, pretty fabric and ended up going with this white & beige buffalo plaid from IKEA. I trimmed the fabric around the outline of the seat, I pull it tight and secured with a staple gun. Not gonna lie – this was my favorite part!
Lastly, you screw the seat back onto the frame, and BOOM…you have six ‘new’ dining chairs even West Elm would get envious of. They made their home around my long dining table with their ghost chair sisters.
I couldn’t have found better chairs if I tried. They are absolutely perfect for the space, and tie in with the beiges of the living room area. Even my little Alejandro approves.