Before & After: Mid-Century Chair

29 Jul

before-and-after-mid-century-chair

Restoring vintage furniture has become one of my favorite pastimes. I love bringing an old piece back to life with a little elbow grease and often times, just a simple can of spray paint. After years of sitting on the sidelines, admiring everyone else’s before- and-after transformations, I have now completed a few restorations of my own. One of the very first pieces I bought to restore was this mid-century chair I purchased at a warehouse sale hosted by HGTV’s Cash and Cari. Not only did I have the pleasure of meeting Cari that day, I also scored this amazing chair that she had purchased while thrifting!

I had the intention of restoring this piece right away, however life always has a funny way of getting in between me and my DIY projects, so this chair sat untouched in my parent’s garage for more than two years! So what prompted me to finally start the project? Well, I was recently house sitting for my parents and while I was there, I realized the corner of their garage was starting to look like the furniture section of the Salvation Army. I had literally accumulated that many furniture pieces over the years under the guise that I was going to restore them. I finally decided that it was time to bite the bullet and pick a piece to restore – so first up was this chair! The fact that I recently found the awesome pink graphic fabric for the seat cushion also made the project top of mind!

Here are a couple before shots:

This is what the chair looked like before I started to restore it. Although it was structurally sound, the black frame, seat and wooden back were in some major need of TLC.


After pulling out a bazillion upholstery staples, I discovered a fun surprise under the ugly black vinyl – more fabric and staples! And upholstery foam that was so old and dry that it was crumbling away. Here are the steps I followed to restore the piece:

  • Remove the old fabric and foam
  • Remove rust from the metal frame
  • Sand the seat back and re-stain
  • Spray paint the frame black
  • Upholster the seat with new foam, fabric and batting

There was one happy accident during the project – the orientation of the seat back. If you’re someone who has a keen eye for detail, you probably noticed that the before chair didn’t quite match the after chair. When my husband and I first put the chair back together, we didn’t consult the before photo to make sure all the pieces went back together properly. This resulted in the chair back being upside down. Both of us actually liked this orientation better. The curved flaps at the sides are now the perfect height to serve as arm rests!

Here are some more after shots:


What do you think?

xoxo, Andi

17 Responses to “Before & After: Mid-Century Chair”

  1. Jaclyn July 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Very cool! I like the chair better upside-down too. Restoring furniture can be very satisfying. The husband and I have striped some tables and stained a bookshelf (by far it turned out the best) and I’ve done a few chairs. Next up a dresser!

    • allputtogether July 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      That’s great! One of these days you will have to send me some pictures or I could just hop in the car and drive up to visit! 😉

  2. Jamie July 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    i love it! i love the colors you have in your apartment – it looks so cheerful and fun. i have been striking out all over with garage/yard sales this season. I’m hoping my luck picks up soon so I can attempt a fun DIY project 🙂 keep it up!

    • allputtogether July 29, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks Jamie! I try to balance the more masculine mid-century decor with feminine colors. There are some really good rummage sales coming up this fall – I will make sure to give you a heads up.

  3. Laura July 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    It’s great to see so many sad pieces being brought back to life in a fun way. This looks very cool in your space and I will be on the look out for a similar piece for mine. Thanks

  4. Caitlin @ Desert Domicile July 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Your new chair looks great! I love the fabric you chose and how you repositioned the back! Happy accidents are the best 🙂

  5. Kate July 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    I love the new chair! I really like the re-positioned chair back; accidents sometimes create the best outcomes! I can’t imagine how long it took you to get all those fabric staples out. It looks amazing though, so it was definitely worth the time 🙂

    • allputtogether July 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      Thanks Kate! It took forever to remove all the staples! I can’t image how long it would take to do a much larger piece!

    • Deborah Sykes January 29, 2014 at 12:03 am #

      that’s the way it should have been placed originally.

  6. Adam August 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    OMG I can’t believe that’s the same chair! I love this! I am going to go to yard sales this weekend, do you have any tips on choosing a manageable chair to restore? Or can I pretty much just choose any type of chair? I don’t have a ton of time on my hands and don’t want to get in over my head, how do you visualize what a beat up chair can become?

    • allputtogether August 11, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      When I consider a chair to restore I usually make sure that it is structurally sound and that most if not all of the decorative features are intact. Because my upholstery skills are limited I tend to only restore chairs that have an upholstered seat. They are are much easier to manage.

  7. Haeley @ Design Improvised August 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    This turned out so cute – love your fabric choice!

    • Deborah Sykes January 29, 2014 at 12:01 am #

      your chair is one made by a Danish designer named I.B. Tofod Larsen. I found one myself at an estate sale around the corner from me. I gave 5 dollars for it. After researching I discovered it is referred to as the “Penguin Chair” and is actually worth anywhere between 300 to 500 dollars, depending on the condition. Im delighted to see that you see the beauty in it as well.

      • allputtogether January 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        Thanks so much for the information on my chair! I can’t wait to read more on the designer. I had no idea what’s background was or how much it could be worth. Wow – $300-$500, that’s amazing. I think I paid about $50 for mine. I can’t believe you got yours for five bucks!

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  1. Best of the Week | allputtogether - January 31, 2014

    […] the history of my recently restored mid-century chair. A big thanks to Deborah for identifying the designer! Apparently it was manufactured by Ib. Kofod […]