slipcovered desk chair + painted desk

by | Mar 30, 2016 | Before and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint | 26 comments

The marathon of furniture makeovers continues!  I really do have some other posts up my sleeve, like a series sharing my creative process and a decorating dilemma I am working on for a reader, but I have a huge backlog of pieces I’ve finished that I just have to share!  I spend all day in the studio with them and I can feel the stink eye from the pieces that haven’t had their turn in the limelight.

Some of them are such divas.

So, today I’m sharing two makeovers, because they made sense to shoot together – a desk and a desk chair…


This desk chair is one of the pieces that has been languishing in the to-do stash for months.  I think since last August.  This poor chair was sad, with it’s split pleather seat and cockeyed back, but it was cheap and I knew I could do something with it.


I started out by painting the metal part of the base and back in MMSMP Linen


Milk paint sticks really well to most metals without the Bonding Agent, so I just painted it straight on.  This metal wasn’t glossy, though.  It was very dull and rough with age, so the paint was able to grab the surface.


I gave it a light sanding with a fine-grit sanding sponge, just to knock the newness off the paint and finished it with Hemp Oil for durability and to take the finish from dead flat to matte.  That suited the chair better in my eyes.

As most of you know, I do upholstery, but the way the seat of this chair was constructed was foreign to me, so I went with a slipcover.  It’s made out of antique hemp sheets, trimmed in new hemp canvas (that’s a little darker for contrast), with twill ribbon ties to keep the seat cover and back on.



I didn’t make a tutorial for this one, because I was totally figuring out as I went.  It was tricky getting that back tied on!  I think the ties ended up looking a little like pigtails, which makes me smile every time they catch my eye in the studio.

The seat cover is very similar to my dining chair slipcovers, so you can check out that tutorial HERE.


I styled the desk with other things that will be for sale at Lucketts…a faded pine cabinet door, a baby slip with a crochet edge, a Big Ben alarm clock…


…and an alabaster lamp with a new linen shade from Target.


Just a tip when shade shopping, always take your lamp with you, so you can try shades on.  Sometimes it’ll surprise you which color, texture, pattern, size and scale looks best.

This “desk” is actually a drop leaf table without the leaves.  It has been in my house for years and I’ve used it as a desk and a foyer table, but it always felt a little lackluster.



We painted it in two coats of MMSMP Grain Sack, lightly sanded the edges (plus it chipped a little here and there), and finished it with Hemp Oil.  It’s just much softer and I feel like you can appreciate the turn of the legs and the detail of box joints better.


The studio is filling up with pretty things, but it’s a bit of a beautiful mess at the moment.  It’s about time to do some major furniture rearranging to get things under control!



  1. Jill

    I plan to be at Lucketts, and I need the albaster lamp! Pretty please.

  2. Susan

    That poor little desk chair looked so forlorn. And now it’s the ugly-duckling-turned-SWAN! Can furniture feel happy? I think so!

  3. Marian@CMShawStudios

    That picture of your studio makes me so excited to see your booth at Lucketts! I’m not vending this year, so I’m bringing a bunch of friends and shopping! Yay!
    The Other Marian

  4. Stephanie

    I went past your studio several times over the weekend, and i slowed down every time to catch a glimpse of all these pretties through the windows.

    • Paulla

      Miss Mustard Seed is being stalked??? Guess we’d all be peeking, if we could!

  5. Lynn

    I love it! Super cute makeover.

  6. Kalina

    Love the wall colour in the studio….what is it? Or did it come that way?

  7. Karen

    So many beauties Marian! I have loved every single piece you’ve shown so far. Your booth is going to be amazing. The chair and desk are perfect together and the cover you made for that adorable chair is perfection.

  8. Krista

    The desk chair is so so cute! Wish I lived closer so I could go to the Luckett’s sale.

  9. Peg

    Love, love, love the desk chair. Told my hubby of he ever sees one to grab it. He said “hum, just saw one of those the other day in the trash”. Go figure!

  10. Carla

    How many sq feet is your studio Marian?

  11. Cindy

    I would die and go to heaven in your messy studio right now. It would be like – I’ll take that, and that and then this over here, and then there would be waay less things for you to take to Lucketts. That little desk chair is about the cutest thing i have ever seen too…. It is so charming with it’s darlin little personality and pigtails…


  12. Quandie

    Your furniture makeover posts are always my absolute favorites, so I’m happy to see them keep coming! Loving every single one.

  13. Leslie Collison

    Thanks so much for sharing all your transformations for the Luckett”s sale that us followers who live too far away to attend see and appreciate. This is the only way we can be shop ” with our eyes”. And by all the comments from all the make overs we are all just loving them. Marian you and your team are doing a wonderful job and producing great items for your customers.

  14. Marcia

    Loved the chair new air! kisses ML

  15. Sally Gee

    I have a chair like that in brown, and while it’s in very good shape, I’ve always wanted to cover it. Now I know how, except I think I will use tabs with velcro on the bottom of the back instead of the “pigtails”.

  16. B Folk

    “Pigtails”, how cute! Love your imagination. Speaking of imagination, I was wondering why, in the first photo, the table looked as if it had “extra legs’…’til I read further and it was explained that this was an extending table. That explains the legs (hinges are blocked by the “Pippi Longstocking” chair in the first photo).
    Everything looks great!

  17. Lesley

    Did you repair the cracked seat before finishing the slipcover? If not, isn’t the seat a bit…lumpy?

    • marian

      I cut a piece of batting to sit under the slipcover to smooth it out.

  18. Jill

    You always make everything look so beautiful! I’m supposed do my first market in May and still have a garage full of unpainted furniture and more I need to buy. I vicariously live through you and your wonderful stash of finished items . . . until tomorrow morning!

  19. Robin Leach

    I want to live in your studio! It’s all so beautiful!

  20. Gloria M.

    I adore everything in your ‘beautiful mess’!!! ….along with that perked up chair in pigtails…?

  21. DeAnna

    I love both pieces Marian! That table has stole my heart and Grain Sack is just perfect for it.

  22. Jessica @ Petal + Ply

    wowzers! you all have really been busy!! your booth is going to be amazing this year!

  23. Becca

    Beautiful stuff! Love the grain sack color! Fabric source for the new hemp fabric (piping) on the chair? THANKS!


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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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