a curvy chair gets a makeover…

by | Mar 16, 2016 | All Things Home, Before and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Tutorials, upholstery | 31 comments

It’s really hard to turn down free stuff, especially when it’s a curvy chair that just needs a little cosmetic work to make it special.  So, when my friend Traer brought this to my studio, asking if I’d take it off her hands, I couldn’t say no.

In the flurry of activity, I didn’t get a proper picture before we stripped off the upholstery that it was wearing.   It was black tapestry with some purples, creams and green in it.  Not my thing.


So, we stripped off the old upholstery (Katie and I took turns working on it) and then I sanded the glossy frame and painted it in two coats of Farmhouse White.

The paint adhered really well, even without the bonding agent, so I didn’t get a lot of chipping, which I was glad for.  There is such a large contrast between the dark wood and the white paint that too much chipping would’ve made for a pretty dramatic look.

I did lightly distress the frame and finished it in Hemp Oil.  Some pieces I finish and some I leave raw.  It just depends on the piece.

I had some woven wheat-colored buffalo check fabric that I ended up not using in my parent’s room makeover and I tried it on this chair.  I always lay fabrics over a piece to see how it looks on them.  Sort of like holding a piece of clothing up to yourself and checking it out in a mirror before you go through the trouble of trying it on.  I loved how the buffalo check looked fresh and updated, but still classic on this antique chair frame.


I trimmed it out with the same braided jute I used on the tufted sofa.

This chair was very similar to the French-style chairs I usually reupholster, but the arms were just a little different.  If you have a similar chair that you want to upholster, I made a six part video tutorial series to show how I do it.


Now, I have to admit that I wasn’t in love with the chair at first sight.  I felt like the proportions of it were a little off to me.

Well, this curvy girl just needed the right outfit; one that would flatter.  Farmhouse White and wheat buffalo check is definitely flattering on her and she has won me over.


And, because of the proportions, it’s a pretty comfy chair.  It’d be a great occasional chair in a living room, office or bedroom.

mms-5521 mms-5511 mms-5519

And, did you notice the sampler on the wall?  I thought it was so sweet and couldn’t resist picking it up.


The chair, the sampler, the hutch, the stool, everything, will be for sale at the Lucketts Spring Market…


  1. Judi James

    Love the makeover! What a wonderful friend you have to bring you a curvy chair!
    I need a friend like that lol!

  2. Ann

    The straight lines of the fabric with the curves of the chair are awesome together!

  3. Debbie Delosreyes

    I love it!

  4. Saskia

    Beautifully done! The buffalo check gives it a bold look: the piece really stands out now even though the colours are “neutral”.

  5. Fatim

    Dear marriane,
    I’m in love with this chair! Great job! I think it’s one of my favorite pieces you’ve transformed so far.

    I wish you could make it easier to access your old posts. I have to scroll through all the new posts every time I want to find the old ones. Reading one post of yours a day isn’t usually enough for me! And it’s really difficult getting to your old ones. Hope you can fix it!

    • Lori

      Fatim – Try the categories below the Miss Mustard Seed header – for instance, “My House” will give you choices of all the rooms, you can choose “Kitchen” and see all the old posts that fit the category. It’s pretty well organized.

  6. Michelle

    If you don’t mind me asking….what price do you put on a pair of these type chairs that you’ve redone?

  7. Quandie

    Goodness gracious, I have to say, it’s probably lucky that I live too far away to go to Lucketts. Otherwise I’d have to bring A LOT of money because so far I want every. single. thing. you’ve posted about.

  8. Bee

    I really like the look of the big checks on the chair but I am wondering why the stripes are not centered. Did you not have enough fabric? I am interested in upholstery and upholsterers and find that they can be snobby about matching and centering.

    • marian

      Yeah, I was working with a small amount of fabric, but the stripes and straight and lined up, so that’s good enough for me! 🙂

      • Bee

        Don’t get me wrong. I like it too and haven’t done much upholstery myself. Just wanted to know your reasoning for the choice.

      • gayle jolluck

        I wondered the same thing….as a decorator I could never sell a client on a chair with the fabric so obviously not centered….also the fabric on the arms should run front to back. Guess it would depend on how cheaply you can price it at Luckett’s, but since it was free I guess it can be priced cheaply enough to sell. A shame since this chair is a true antique victorian in the French style. the seat from the side seems very boxy. Did the wood frame usually exposed all around appear damaged, or at some time covered in the past?

        • marian

          Well, I think this is the case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. 🙂

          The way the fabric was lined up looked nice to me. I liked it slightly off center and it worked better with the amount of yardage I was working with (I didn’t have a lot.) I don’t think the stripe has to be centered, as long as the overall pattern is straight and looks good. I also prefer having the pattern run opposite on the arms from the way it is on the seat and back. I just think it’s more casual and playful. I don’t think design choices can be right or wrong, just to ones taste or another.

          As far as the way the seat is covered, I followed the lines of the original upholstery. It doesn’t have decorative wood trim on the bottom of the seat, so it’s supposed to be upholstered to the underside of the chair.

  9. Katie Bell

    Love, love, love the brown buffalo check. Such a pleasant surprise.

  10. Hannah

    The chair turned out adorably, but I wish I could hop a plane to Luckett’s for that sampler! It looks a lot like the old farmhouse all six of us are crammed into, so the sentiment is appropos. 🙂

    • marian

      I’ll sell that piece online, if you’d like. It’s an easy thing to ship…

  11. Laurie

    I’d like to see this chair next to the Swedish style clock! The chair is unique in the way the back legs are squished together and not visible from the front.

  12. Cindy

    Oh my gosh, it’s so cute!!!

  13. Jelena

    Love, love, love the chair! It looks SO much better in white.

  14. Sharon Hoham

    I love my new stool slipcover! Thanks, it has always need “something” and the red fits in well with everything else scrambled here at our abode!

  15. Robin Leach

    I have 2 very similar chairs, they’re quite big! One day I will be brave enough for upholstery!

    • Robin Leach

      Did you upholster the backs, too? Mine require it!

  16. Kim

    I love it! Would love to have a pair just like this for my living room. One of these days I’ll get brave enough to try making over some chairs of my own! Thank yo so much for all your tutorials and inspiration.

  17. debbie

    She is beautiful and I wish someone would offer me a gem like that. What an amazing gift. The buffalo check keeps it more casual and perfect for many different settings. I really like wheat and white together anytime so great choice. I’m really crushing on that hutch and would purchase that in a second if I was at Lucketts Spring Market. I did notice the sweet little sampler and I would have grabbed it too.

  18. Michelle E

    I LOVE that sampler!!! So sad I can’t make Lucketts Texas is just too far away 🙁

  19. Wendy York

    Can’t believe how often you do something that is just like something I am doing, or you answer a question I’m just needing answered! So fun to have you in my life ? Today I gasped when I saw the little sampler on the wall. One of my clients asked if I could get a pretty distracting water stain out of one almost like yours. I used some “Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover Laundry Spray” from a local fabric store, and it took out just enough of the stain to move it from the “distracting” to the “authentically antique” category. Yours already looks perfect ?


    Love it!
    You, my dear are like a magician. You throw a cape over an “ugly” chair, then yank it off and voila! Pure awesomeness! I just got my first ever bag of MMS paint the other day-looking forward to playing with it!

  21. Joan Dorrill

    Love the big checks, and everything you do.

  22. Marlene Stephenson

    It is an amazing makeover, i love chairs that have curves like these they are truly a work of art. You made it come to life.

  23. Leslie

    Love the chair! Thank you for rescuing it and returning her to new grandeur!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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