Brighten Up a Plain Chair: How to Make A Chair Slip Cover
Brighten up a plain chair in an afternoon!
I have a boring, but useful chair. It goes in bedrooms, the living room, almost anywhere. It came from a great aunt several years ago. No one wanted it, I think it was mauve, but it had good bones. So I brought it home and had it recovered. The olive green leather seat and a tapestry back in shades of green and yellow that I chose blended with my home. I must not have been feeling venturesome; it is pretty, but nondescript and boring!
I have been thinking about recovering it, or at least changing the back to something brighter for several years. But it is perfectly good, and it is hard for this girl, of depression era parents, to reupholster something that is perfectly good! I thought about making a slipcover for the back, but the curved top felt daunting. So it stayed, useful but drab.
One day this week I had some time on my hands. And the chair haunted me. I had moved it from the guest room to the family room, so I see it every day. And I just wanted it to be bright-er. I went to my collection of fabric – nothing compared to my sister’s collection – to find some possibilities!
I found three that might work. A green back ground with flowers, a lighter one with an off white background in a floral print and a reddish background that matches my sofa with green and yellow stripes. Which to choose? I placed them on the chair and stepped back. Each one had merit. All morning I changed them, trying to determine my favorite, punctuated by chores and errands. The light one, that I first thought was the best pick, just looked too 80s, the flower colors were muddy – out! The reddish had a green stripe, but from a distance it looked a bit like a dull Christmas, so that one just did not do it! In the end, I choose the green background with flowers that has reds, pinks, and a little yellow. See what you think.
Now, how to make a slipcover and tackle that curved back that intimidated me! The curve has been the barrier that has kept me from recovering the back for some time. I would just move the chair it to a guest room where I did not see it as often and brightened it up with a pillow or a throw. After angst, I decided that I had little invested – the fabric came from our daughter’s stint as a decorator. If it did not work out…it just did not. Time to tackle the curve that had long intimidated me!
In another stash, I found some trim that went well with the fabric sample. I laid them on the chair and pinned the trim to the front panel, making that curve, then sewed it. I went back to the chair and pinned the back, again matching the curve and sewed it. Now the upper sides, pinned and sewn. Next, I pinned the placement of the arm holes, used a drinking glass to trace the curve, and cut out the excess fabric around the arms and made a narrow hem. Finally, I tackled the lower sides and bottom with a narrow hem. I put the slipcover on and attached the fronts to the back below the arms with velcro.
After each step, I placed the slipcover on the chair and took the next step. The top to the arm, the arm to the seat. One step at a time, back and forth. And just a short time later it was done! I don’t know why I waited so long!
The end result is here! The slipcovered back is brighter. It goes in my family room and makes me happy, and I had fun problem-solving and creating something out of things I had around the house. When it does not suit us anymore, I can remove it and go back to the boring tapestry or I can make a new slipcover.
Be brave, have fun, create, and make it happy!