28 Ways To Transform An Old Chair

Ways to transform old chairs.

You’ll find at least a dozen old, neglected chairs at any thrift store or flea market. They might be ugly or dated, but you’d be surprised how much potential there is, especially if you’re interested in DIY and custom décor.

Since there’s no shortage of second-hand chairs on the market, there’s no shortage of creative ways people have transformed them into beautiful, unique, and even luxury pieces. The biggest advantage of updating old furniture is that it allows you to get a custom chair at a price you can actually afford.


Read on for more than 25 things you can do to turn a boring or even a broken chair into exactly what your home needs.

If you’re interested in painting, try:

  • Metallic spray paint, especially gold or copper, to dress up an old metal chair
  • Chalk paint in any color, on wooden or fabric chairs, to match your décor
  • Paint-dipping the legs or back for a clean, two-tone look
  • Custom hand-painted additions like flowers, polka dots, or stars
  • Hand-lettered or stenciled names, quotes, poems, dictionary entries, or even text in a foreign language

For re-upholstering, consider:

  • Fabrics with mix-and-match patterns, like florals and stripes
  • A trimmed, wrapped cardigan with oversized buttons
  • Botanical and wildlife prints, with anything from exotic mammals like tigers and zebras to local birds like robins and doves
  • Ultra-soft textures like velvet and fur
  • Patchwork or quilting—you could even recycle an old quilt or pillow for it

Or remove an upholstered seat, and replace it with:

  • Macramé for a hammock-style seat
  • Mesh or chicken wire
  • Unfinished wood for a rustic look
  • Mismatched strips of leather in different colors
  • Old belts to add the contrast of leather and metal
  • Oversized knitting for a cozy, textured feel
  • Woven rope, hemp, or cord in any color or combination of colors
  • Burlap, plain or with something printed or painted on it
  • Traditional caning

Trade the chair’s original legs for:

  • Rustic pieces like cut birch logs
  • Industrial metal items like brackets or even vintage tools
  • Crossed legs for a more modern look
  • Metal legs for an eclectic effect

Depending on your style and the chair’s use, add:

  • Studs to give the upholstery a classic, high-end feel
  • Wheels for utility (or just for fun)

Make a bench with:

  • Two or more chairs beside each other with boards laid across for a seat
  • Two chairs facing each other, seats removed, and a new seat between them

Remove the arms and legs, then:

  • Turn it into a swing by securing ropes or cords, then hang it from a ceiling, your porch, or your favorite tree
  • Mount it on the wall and use it as a decorative shelf

Of course, with all these unique and customizable ideas out there, don’t forget to use your own creativity, too. From luxury to country to modern, you can find a way to create something that’s just your style. For even more ideas, you can browse Pinterest, Google, or any TV shows that specialize in revamping old furniture.

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