The King’s Chair

January 17, 2011

Several months ago, I found a cane arm chair at a thrift store and just had to bring it home.  Something about its shape spoke to me.  As I mentioned before, I had every intention of placing it in our master bedroom, as a place for ‘The King’ of this castle to take off his shoes at the end of the day.  Unfortunately, over the course of this makeover, ‘The Queen’ happened to fall in love with it, and thinks it might just belong downstairs. 

I stripped it down to its frame before the holidays began, but sadly, it was cast aside for the frenzy of Christmas crafts and holiday décor.  I tried to finish it before Christmas when I discovered how to make double welt cord, but then my last needle broke and the chair was returned to the garage.  This past weekend, I returned to this project, and finally finished it! 

Here is the chair ‘Before’:

chair before

And ‘After’:

camel velvet chair after

I kept it classic this time.  I didn’t pick a snazzy modern fabric or the latest geometric for the upholstery to wow you.  Instead, I chose a neutral camel velvet because I wanted it to be a timeless piece ~ one I could rotate throughout the house based on whim, feeling, and mood ~ all the things that dictate furniture placement in my home these days. 

Here’s the brief ‘How To’:

First, I stripped the chair down to its frame, then gave it a coat of RustOleum’s ‘Canvas White’ gloss spray paint.

chair bare frame


Note, there is a basic wood frame with springs that sits inside the seat of this chair (not shown).   I stretched the velvet to fit the back of the chair and stapled it in place.

back fabric

Next, I added new foam, batting, and then the velvet on top, all stapled in place with a staple gun.

foam batting fabric

For the new cushion, I used the old fabric as the template.

use template

Do you have disappearing ink pen?  They’re a fabulous magician’s tool for marking your fabric before you sew all the pieces in place.  The ink disappears the next day. Genius!  I found mine at Joann’s Fabrics in the sewing section.

disappearing pen


I stitched up some basic piping in a casing like I mentioned here and then a simple slipcover around 3” foam for the entire seat. 

foam and piping

I attached the foam wrapped in batting, and new slipcover to the wood seat frame mentioned above, then attached it to the chair frame.  As a last step, I attached my double welt cord with some hot glue.

double welt cord


There is one thing I learned from this latest makeover: it will be a long time before I reupholster anything with velvet.  It is not a forgiving fabric, rather, it’s a temperamental stretchy diva of a fabric. 

velvet piped cushion

Is it absolutely perfect?  No Siree.   Is it good enough for me?  Yes indeedy!

I am rather proud of the back, it is lovely.

back of chair


Do you approve of the new lattice pattern wool rug?  I exchanged it for the blue version you saw here.  If you love it too, you can buy it from RugsUSA.  I had big plans to take this chair upstairs and let ‘The King’ use it for himself.  Alas, I think it might just have to live downstairs for awhile to make ‘The Queen’ happy.

chair in living room


Speaking of The King, have you seen ‘The King’s Speech’ ?  We saw it this past weekend, hello Colin Firth?  Incredible!  I’m in love love love with Mr. Darcy.  And he won the Golden Globe for ‘Best Actor’ last night!  

As great at the story was, I also loved the cinematography.  Several walls throughout the film took my breath away.  Some were the gorgeous wallpapers from Lionel’s home (Geoffrey Rush who plays the speech therapist), big props to the film’s set decorator and art director.  The wall in Lionel’s office just mesmerized me.   Layers of muted but colorful plaster, like a giant piece of abstract art.  Stunning! 

kings speech wall in office

I highly recommend the film, but note I’m a lover of well acted period dramas that tug at your heart strings!  This one definitely qualifies. 

What about you?  Dragged anything home from a thrift store lately?


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