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Before & After – Floral Arm Chair

When I found this chair at a yard sale, I knew it needed me. The pretty arms and back caught my eye, and despite the missing seat, loose legs and arms, and terrible stained veneer, I had to have it. Fifty cents later, the chair was mine, and the ideas started flowing.

On further investigation, the wood veneer was beyond repair, so I knew I’d need to paint it. Before any of the refinishing, I had to make a seat. I traced a large stencil in approximately the right shape, and cut out of a piece of plywood using a table and band saw. It was a little tricky around the corners (I knew I wanted it to sit inside, not on top of, the base) so I had to do a lot of sanding once I cut out the initial shape.

I used a pretty thick plywood to make sure the seat was sturdy, and made sure to leave room for the padding and fabric.


After some significant glue and clamp work to sturdy the legs, I got to the fun part. I painted the chair a rich dark grey,  and found upholstery fabric at a wholesale store. I love the fabric – it is fun and a little quirky – and I think the shapes of the leaves work really well with the detail on the back of the chair.

I made the seat plush and comfortable with a piece of 2-inch foam, and then wrapped the top with batting. This gave a welcoming, rounded shape, and also helped soften the edges of the thick plywood base. After setting up the foam layers, I wrapped the seat with fabric and stapled it to the bottom of the wood. The seat was then set and screwed to the chair from underneath using existing fasteners.

The chair is now one of my favorites, and has lived up to its full potential – a fun addition to our home, and the perfect spot to sit by the window!