In the world of interior design, furniture often carries sentimental value, and sometimes, you come across pieces with great potential that need a second chance.
For me, it was a pair of wingback chairs I acquired for a $25 each on Craigslist. While these chairs had solid frames, their outdated patterns and worn upholstery cried out for a transformation. Despite a previous DIY setback, I was determined to breathe new life into these wingback chairs. I want to share with you some tips and tricks I've learned along the way along with considerations on whether you should DIY or pay for it to be done professionally.
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Wingback chairs are highly favored for reupholstery due to their timeless design and versatility. Their classic shape, characterized by tall, winged sides and a high backrest, offers a perfect canvas for showcasing various upholstery fabrics and styles. The origins of wingback chairs date back to the 17th century, where they were initially designed to provide warmth and protection from drafts in large, stately homes. Over the centuries, these chairs evolved in both form and function, becoming symbols of comfort and luxury. Today, their enduring popularity stems from their ability to blend seamlessly with both traditional and modern interiors, making them an excellent choice for reupholstery projects. Whether you prefer a vintage, opulent look or a more contemporary aesthetic, wingback chairs can be transformed to suit your style, breathing new life into a cherished piece of furniture while preserving its rich design heritage.
Before Photos of Our Wingback Chairs
Let's take a step back and revisit the moment when we first acquired these remarkable wingback chairs. We discovered the chairs through Facebook Marketplace, and from the outset, it was clear that they were constructed really well with good bones. These were the image from the Facebook listing.
That said, their robust construction made for a somewhat challenging fit in our trusty Chevy Tahoe, but that only added to our excitement of repurposing the chairs.
Before deciding what to do, we strategically placed them within our living room to figure out the layout of our space.
I wanted to walk through our considerations for upcycling these chairs so you can see all of the things we considered before our end result!
Why Wingback Chairs Are Perfect for Being Reupholstered
Wingback chairs have long been celebrated in the world of interior design, and for good reasons. Here's why wingback chairs are excellent candidates for reupholstery:
Wingback chairs are known for their robust construction, boasting sturdy frames and meticulous craftsmanship. This durability ensures they can withstand the reupholstery process and emerge as stunning pieces of furniture.
The classic design of wingback chairs allows them to effortlessly adapt to various décor styles. With the right choice of fabric and upholstery, you can infuse a modern or traditional twist into them.
Wingback chairs are versatile and can be placed in various settings, from the living room to the bedroom or even as elegant dining room chairs. Their adaptability makes them valuable additions to any home.
Finding the Perfect Wingback Chairs Second Hand
Before embarking on your reupholstery project, sourcing the right wingback chairs is a must.
Here are some tips on where to locate them at affordable prices:
Craigslist is a treasure trove of second-hand furniture. Keep a vigilant eye out for wingback chair listings in your local area. Hidden gems at pocket-friendly prices can often be found, just as I discovered.
Similar to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is an excellent platform to discover pre-owned furniture. You can efficiently filter your search based on location and price range, simplifying the process of finding the perfect chairs. This is where I found our wingback chairs.
Local thrift stores and consignment shops offer fantastic opportunities to scout for wingback chairs. Frequent visits are recommended, as inventory changes regularly, increasing your chances of stumbling upon a fantastic deal.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
These nonprofit home improvement stores sell new and gently used furniture and building materials. Supporting a charitable cause while discovering your ideal chairs is a win-win situation.
Choosing the Best Fabric
When it comes to choosing fabric for a reupholstery project, the decision between investing in higher end upholstery fabric or opting for a cheaper alternative like a drop cloth depends on a few key factors.
First and foremost, consider the intended use and longevity of the piece. If you're reupholstering a cherished heirloom or a frequently used piece of furniture, it's often wise to invest in high-quality upholstery fabric that not only complements your design vision but also stands up to wear and tear over time. On the other hand, if you're working on a temporary project or experimenting with a new or trending look, a drop cloth or more affordable fabric can be a cost-effective choice. Additionally, assess your budget and the importance of aesthetics in your design scheme. Balancing durability, aesthetics, and budget constraints will help you make an informed decision that ensures both the short-term and long-term satisfaction of your reupholstery project.
If you're seeking an economical alternative to expensive upholstery fabric, consider employing drop cloth for your wingback chair makeover. Drop cloth is a budget-friendly, durable material that can deliver a similar aesthetic to costly upholstery fabric.
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Choosing to DIY vs Contract the Work for Reupholstering Wingback Chairs
One of the most enticing aspects of DIY reupholstery is the potential for significant cost savings. Our reupholstered chairs below cost $50 for the chairs, $100 for the fabric, and $500 for the service for a total cost of $650 and it provided the look I was going for by hiring someone who was experienced in doing it. It saved me the time and the headache of trying to figure out things on my own.
While professional reupholstering can be costly, a DIY project for both wingback chairs could have a total cost that could be considerably lower.
Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the expenses with a total of $150 plus time.
- Chair Purchase: I was fortunate to find my pair of wingback chairs on Facebook Marketplace for a mere $25 each, totaling a mere $50.
- Fabric: To reupholster both chairs, I spent only $100 on fabric. The drop cloth I employed was not only budget-friendly but also highly durable.
- Supplies: Basic upholstery tools and a staple gun are essential for this project. If you don't already own these tools, you can find them at reasonable prices.
- Time Investment: Reupholstering furniture is a time-intensive process, requiring approximately 5-10 hours per chair. However, the satisfaction of witnessing your chairs undergo a remarkable transformation makes the effort well worthwhile.
Working with a Reupholster: Considerations and What to Expect
We entrusted the reupholstery of our beloved wingback chairs to skilled professionals, and we couldn't be more delighted with the outcome especially as they had to reuse our curtain fabric! This is what they looked like when we dropped them off at the warehouse to get reupholstered.
Working with a professional reupholster can be a highly rewarding experience when reviving your wingback chairs. To begin, it's essential to provide the reupholster with detailed information about your piece, including its dimensions and any special considerations. This typically involves measuring the length, width, and height of the furniture and discussing any specific design or fabric preferences you have in mind.
It's also crucial to communicate your desired timeline for the project, as turnaround times can vary depending on the complexity of the job and the reupholsterer's workload. For us, it was a 6 week turnaround time.
In terms of the contract, expect to see key details such as the scope of work, the agreed-upon fabric and design choices, a cost breakdown, payment terms, and a timeline for completion. Clarity and open communication are key throughout the process to ensure both you and the reupholsterer are on the same page, resulting in a satisfying transformation of your cherished furniture.
After Photos of Reupholstered Wingback Chairs
Below is the reveal of our beloved wingback chairs post-reupholstery! These photos are captured right after our skilled reupholsterer dropped them off. I was head over heels in love with the final look.
Looking back, we can confidently say that the decision to embark on this reupholstery journey was one of our best decor choices. Fast forward eight years, and these chairs are still holding up beautifully, showcasing their enduring charm and durability. It's a decision we're so grateful for, and we can't wait to continue sharing our decor adventures with you!
The chairs underwent a stunning transformation, and it's worth noting that this could have been easily achieved using a drop cloth instead of our surplus fabric for a fresh start.
To ensure longevity and a touch of fabric protection, we applied a reliable upholstery spray. That's the essence of our reupholstery adventure—a successful blend of creativity and practicality!
- Strong fabric protection repels water based spills for easier cleanup
- Ideal for household items like upholstery, curtains, pillows, table linens, backpacks, luggage and more
- Perfect for use on clothing like shirts, dresses, silk ties, suits, outerwear, canvas shoes and more
Ready-Made Covers for Effortless Styling
If tackling a DIY project or seeking professional upholstery isn't your cup of tea, that's okay. There's another fantastic option—investing in a ready-made chair cover. Here are a few of my personal favorites. Simply slip the cover over your wingback chair, and voila! It's a quick and hassle-free way to give your chair a fresh new look in no time.
- STYLISH COMFORTABLE SLIPCOVER: SureFit makes it easy for you to dress up your favorite armchair with our beautiful crisp cotton relaxed fit slipcover.
- DESIGNED WITH YOU IN MIND: Best fits wing chairs with 29-32” W (outside arm to outside arm), 36-45” Tall, 44-52” wing point to point (measure from 1 wing point around the back to other wing point), form fit arm up to 14”
- SIZE:Suitable for wing chairs that are 27.5~31.5 inches (70-80CM) long, 37.4~43.3 inches (95-110CM) high and 31.5~36.2 inches (80-92CM) wide. It can fit most sizes of wing chairs. You can measure your wing chair in advance and compare it to our size chart. Feel free to contact us if you get any size or fitting problems.
- DESIGN IDEA: Designed for today's lifestyle with just the right touch of tranquility and elegance. Ruffle skirt satisfies classical tastes, while the seersucker look offers casual appeal, offering you different possibilities for living room decor.
Reupholstering wingback chairs, whether you're diving into a DIY adventure or entrusting the task to professionals, is like embarking on a creative journey where you get to inject your unique style into a piece of furniture. It's a fantastic way to breathe new life into old, tired chairs and make them truly your own.
The beauty of reupholstery lies in the opportunity to select fabrics that match your interior design vision and reflect your personality. Whether you're a seasoned DIYer or just starting out, the process of revamping these classic chairs is not only satisfying but also incredibly rewarding.
The next time you come across a pair of wingback chairs with good structural integrity, don't hesitate to embark on the reupholstery journey. With patience, a staple gun, and some beautiful fabric (or budget-friendly drop cloth), you can achieve remarkable results that showcase the stunning transformation of your chairs from worn and weary to fresh and fabulous. Give your furniture a second chance and savor the satisfaction of a job well done.
Furniture Seating Inspiration
- Buffalo Check Accent Chairs
- Pottery Barn Sofa Slipcover Knockoff Dupe
- Wingback Chair Reupholstery Cost and Makeover Tutorial
- How to Choose a Slipcover Sofa
- White Slipcovered Sofa with Kids
- Sofa Ideas for Small Family Room
- IKEA Ektorp Sofa Slipcover on Pottery Barn Sofa
- Best Sources for Sofa Slipcovers
- Custom Pottery Barn Slipcover Makeover
- Slipcovers for Every Type of Sofa and Couch
- Adirondack Chairs (American Made)
- Reupholstered Wingback Chairs: Before and After