Garage Sale Rehab: Chair Edition

It’s amazing what one afternoon of elbow grease can do. With the perfect garage sale find and a little imagination, you can transform a tired old chair into the perfect spot for your morning coffee. 

Video Tutorial: Garage Sale Chair Rehab

Watch as we show you how to breathe new life into an old garage sale find.


Garage Sale Chair Rehab Supplies

  • Chair(s) rescued from a garage sale
  • Spray paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • One yard of your favorite fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Screwdriver
  • Tarp or drop cloth to protect work surface
  • Coarse and medium-grain sanding sponges | Optional: power sander or traditional sandpaper
  • ChairDIYicons_CHAIR_Step1_100x80STEP 1

    Go “garage saling.”

    Pick a weekend to shop your neighborhood for the perfect chair(s) — bonus points if you can find a table too! Keep scale in mind. If you’re creating a small reading nook, avoid oversized or overstuffed styles in favor of compact styling and smaller silhouettes.

    Pro Tip: When it comes to style, ask yourself this question: “Am I looking for a quirky statement piece or something that will fit seamlessly into my existing décor?”

  • ChairDIYicons_CHAIR_Step2_100x80STEP 2

    Start fresh.

    First, roll out a tarp or drop cloth to protect your work surface. Then set to work stripping paint, sanding, and removing worn or stained fabric. Start with coarse sanding sponges to remove old finish, and then work your way to medium-grain sponges to smooth the surface before painting. The goal is to have a clean canvas for your next step.


  • ChairDIYicons_CHAIR_Step3_100x80STEP 3

    Add color.

    Use painter’s tape to protect any existing hardware or cushions you’d like to keep intact. Then spray on a coat (or two) of your favorite color. We chose a crisp white, but don’t be afraid to go bold and make a statement with this step.

  • ChairDIYicons_CHAIR_Step4_100x80STEP 4

    Re-cover it.

    If needed, unscrew the seat from the frame of the chair. Then use a staple gun to secure your favorite fabric by stapling it around the entire underside perimeter of the seat.

    Pro Tip: Thinking of the seat like a clock, staple at 12, 6, 9 and 3 o’clock positions respectively, pulling the fabric taut as you go to keep the cushion wrinkle-free. Watch the video tutorial for details.
  • ChairDIYicons_CHAIR_Step5_100x80STEP 5

    Style it!

    Place your refurbished pieces in the perfect nook along with your favorite décor and greenery. Then cozy up with a book or kick back with a cocktail. (After you pat yourself on the back and post a picture or two, of course.)