I Found my Stools at the Thrift Store!

Thrift Store Bar Stool Makeover

Thirty  years ago my husband and I  fixed up our kitchen.  We added a breakfast bar, redid counters, added a new floor.  We also bought two counter height chairs for the new breakfast bar.  I believe they were from one of the big box stores… Hechinger’s if my memory serves me correctly.

My two young sons used the chairs to sit at the counter and the cat used the chairs as a scratching post.

Those 2 chairs were long ago sent to the basement where they now sit around a gaming table.  It would have been nice to have four, but I settled for just the two. 

So imagine my surprise, on one of my many thrift store trips, I found my chairs.  Different finish, different chair cover, but I would recognize those chairs anywhere.

They were selling three, but I only needed two.  That’s mine on the right, the thrift store on the left.

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None of the stools, mine inclueded, had their original seat covers but they all needed recovering.  

If you have stools that you need to recover, start by removing the old fabric and all the staples.

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Mine still had the original foam padding which was hard as a rock and as flat as a pancake.  

The new thrift store chairs had new padding but it was too thick for the chairs, 2 inch where it should have been 1 inch foam padding.  It was also cut too large for the chairs and bubbled over the sides like muffin tops.

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Everybody got a new foam top cut from 1 inch foam. I used my old pancake foam as a pattern for the new seats.

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The foam was followed by a layer of quilt batting and my new fabric covers.  Both the quilt batting and fabric should be cut large enough to fold around the seat.

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Start stapling from the middle and work your way into the corners alternating sides and pulling tight as you go.

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For the chairs, I was going to paint with chalk paint but I still roughed up the finish with a hand sander. My chairs get a lot of abuse and I wanted the paint to adhere better.

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Both chairs have been painted with black chalk paint.  The chair on the right has the edges sanded and finished with vintage wax.

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When I was buying the fabric I thought it was more of a gray tweed, sort of a suit jacket, would go with black perfectly…but when I finally attached it to the chair, I didn’t like it.

Nope, not at all.  They did  not float my boat or rock my world.  They were just meh.

I had already painted three of the four chairs and I had no desire to paint the chairs again.

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Back to the drawing board.  This time, instead of going back to the store, I went to my remnant pile.  At least this way I could see what the fabric would look like on my stools.

I liked the idea of a grain sack (left) but it was kind of rustic for this style chair.  I also liked the drop cloth on the right, it was a close second, but I settled on the middle striped fabric.  It was leftover from an ottoman I had totally overestimated the fabric for.

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I didn’t bother taking off the blue tweed since the padding had just been replaced. I just stapled right over everything and finally finished painting the last chair.

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Hopefully my new chairs will last another thirty years.

Have a great weekend, stay inspired.


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