How To Cover A Chair With Arms – Do you have an old upholstered chair or sofa with wooden details that needs a new look? You might think that the only way to renew your worn and beloved piece is to refinish it and give the wood a nice polish.
This definitely works. But if you’re dreaming of a French country style or vintage farmhouse style makeover, I’d say grab a blanket and paint that wood!
How To Cover A Chair With Arms
In today’s post, I’m sharing some custom fit covers I made for exposed wood chairs. They are designed in a variety of ways to show off arms, legs, overhead railings – almost any space with a high carved feature.
Uppland Cover For Armchair, Blekinge White
And I want to show you some painted wood pieces that were remodeled by Cindy Rust, owner of Reinvented Delaware. She shares her painting techniques and some really great resources on her blog for transforming wooden furniture and home decor. Very inspiring!
Most exposed pieces of wood like this are open-arm chairs, sometimes referred to as “French chairs”. The seat must be covered with inner and outer back and armrests. Other areas are visible, such as wooden legs, arms and wooden corner posts and top beams.
When designing a cover for these types of chairs, you should consider what areas need to be covered for the cover to work, what areas will look good in the open and what type of cover is needed to hold the cover in place.
For this antique French chair, I designed a simple four-piece cover that fits the contours of the chair and is easy to remove for washing. According to my client: No ties, straps, buttons, zippers or ribbons. Secret Velcro closure only.
Slipcover & Paint Ideas For Exposed Wood Furniture
What you can’t see here is a very nice wooden top railing. Hidden under the narrow box. Why am I not revealing this detail? Because boxing is necessary to connect the inner and outer back when a tie or strap is not an option.
Here is another French chair design. It has a tight back and seat with attached padding. There are no visible corner posts or openings between the upper back and the seat. The only exposed wood is the factory painted arms and legs.
I made a one piece cover with button openings in the back corner and front sleeves for on and off. A deep crossover where the inner back and seat meet helps prevent the sliding cover from slipping during use.
French chairs are not the only pieces of furniture with exposed wood details. The club president below is a good example.
Queen Anne Chair Covers
I ended up using these areas as if I were drawing a wrist detail on a shirt. This is what inspired the small, overstitched loops that create the narrow opening. Check out the close-up below.
My client Sarah took this very old, dark and ornate French style chair (below) and decided to make it match her home decor.
He painted and distressed each piece from exposed wood and then had me make an apron-style cover.
Can you believe the transformation?! I think Sarah said she combined 2 or 3 colors of paint and played with different confusing techniques to achieve this amazing result.
L11c Liberty Task Chair With Height Adjustable Gel Arms With Matching Textile Cover
It was important to design an apron-style cover to show off the beautiful details and paint. This type of cover uses strategically placed ties and straps to hold the cover open without overly covering the wood.
I’ve painted quite a bit of furniture over the years, but I really don’t know enough about the process and types of colors, finishes and tools to give you helpful tips. But I know someone who can.
At Delaware Reinvented, Cindy restores old wood furniture and brings it back to life using a variety of restoration and reinvention techniques, including various painting, polishing and aging techniques.
This girl knows how to use a brush! I especially like the transformation she does using milk paint.
How To Reupholster An Arm Chair
This beautiful barrel chair is one of Cindy’s projects. This is a great example of what exposed wood can look like when painted and aged to bring out wonderful carved details.
Check out the before and after and read how he did it. The before picture will make your jaw drop.
Just an FYI – a chair like this with a cover draped just over the bottom wooden rail made with some ties or straps on the front wooden arms would look gorgeously French.
Even if the only area of exposed wood is the foot, you can dramatically change the look of an old piece. Cindy covered the sofa (below) with a cotton towel and then painted the legs to match the print.
Sevilla Slip Cover Arm Chair
Not ready to paint the wood on your chair, but want to get rid of the ugly dark spots?
Check out the carved wooden top railing on this vintage Victorian chair. Cindy discovered by sanding to remove the original stain that the natural wood looked as beautiful as it was.
Fragments of stain, which he could not remove from the carved areas, emphasize the decorative detail. No paint for this chair. Just a good scrub with hemp-finish oil.
I hope this post has sparked some creative ideas for your own projects. The possibilities are endless! And as always, thanks so much for following along!