I scored big time at Goodwill this past Friday. I decided to make a quick stop there on my way home from work. And what did I find, but a set of fabulous cane back barrel chairs for $5 each! But they looked pretty shoddy. One of the seat cushions is loose and the upholstery was filthy. There were dead bugs in around the cushion. I stood there for about :30 seconds debating. The frame was sturdy, no issues there. I have never tried to reupholster anything except some kitchen chair years ago. The upholstery on the back looked like something that I would have no idea how to do on my own. But I decided to take my chance and get them. I mean, $5 a piece people! What did I have to lose? I have been on the lookout for a set of chairs for our dining room/office. I need one for my desk, and I wanted one to just sit in a corner because we only have 4 chairs, which isn’t even enough for the whole family to sit at once. Over the winter I was using two of my outdoor chairs in there, but they are back outside now.
So, I decided to try to give these sucker’s a little love and see how it works out. I went home and pinned a whole bunch of similar chairs, and how people made them over to my DIY board, and researching other blogs. After that, I began making my plan of attack. I remembered a tutorial from Young House Love about how to freshen up old furniture, so decided to use John and Sherri’s tutorial. You can click on the link for their full tutorial, but basically, what I did was to use a magic eraser to wipe down all of the wood, and then I wiped it down again with a rag soaked in vinegar. The magic eraser is supposed to serve as a mild sanding, and the vinegar is to get the old musty smell out. It worked like a charm. BTW, I always go to YHL’s project page first when I am looking for a tutorial on how to do something myself. They have the best catalog of tutorials around.
To clean the upholstery, I bought a bottle of resolve upholstery cleaner. It said on the bottle it would clean and refresh. I had serious doubts about whether the upholstery would come clean. First I vacuumed away all of the dead buggy particles, then I sprayed the chair down. Then I just started scrubbing with a damp rag. And believe it or not, they came clean, spotless as a matter of fact! I may end up reupholstering them someday down the line, but that is way at the bottom of my list of things to do around here. They are such a neutral color that I think they are fine. I thought of putting a graphic on the seat cushion or something. We shall see.
In the process of cleaning the upholstery
So this is the arrangement I decided on.