French Provincial Chair Makeover {Best of the Archives!}


Welcome to Trash to Treasure Tuesday! Usually my T2T Tuesday pals and I bring you only ONE new makeover the second Tuesday of each month as part of this series, but this month we decided why not dig through our archives, find our favorites, and share one EVERY Tuesday this month?

I’ve picked a few that I just love! If you missed what I picked to share last week, it was my Farmhouse Hutch and you can see it HERE.

Today I am so excited to share my French Provincial Chair makeover with you! This one is from 2014, and it’s one of my favorite makeovers, mostly because the before and after is night and day. This project was not for wimpy DIYers, though…it almost kicked my tail!

My Mom and I spied these chairs at an estate. We passed on them, knowing they required a lot of work, but she had a change of heart and went back for them the next day. Luckily everything was 50% 0ff and she scored these two beauties for $55 for the pair! Steal!! They ended up not working in the space she was envisioning them in, and she dropped them off to me the next day.

Here they are as we found them:


If you look closely, you might be able to tell they were actually painted. I didn’t realize it until I started working on them.


I hadn’t planned on painting the frames, but the paint was smeared on them in several places.

Here is the big reveal:

Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Better, no??

Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer


French Provincial Chairs

This is my favorite fabric. ( The same fabric I used on my Desk Chair and the Dresser I redid with fabric on the drawers.) It is perfect because while it still has a neutral feel, the color and pattern hide a multitude. It has held up extremely well on my desk chair. It is a heavier weight decorator fabric I found at Hancock Fabrics.
It normally retails for $29.99 a yard, but I was lucky to find it at 50% off. I think I used about a yard and a half for each chair.

Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer


French Provincial Chairs

I am so in love with how they turned out! I had to guard them like crazy from my claw-happy cat and Cheetos-fingered four-year old. (He’s five now, and knows to wash his fingers now thank goodness!) That was no easy undertaking.

I thought (actually I wasn’t thinking at all) that I could just cover over the existing upholstery. Easy as pie. I got right to it painting out the frame before I got started on the fabric part.


Perfect…except um…there is no way to cover over the side panels that are attached to the inside frame. Ugh. So I pulled, yanked, cursed, tugged, cursed at a gazillion staples that were holding this thing together.

I even threw in some of this action:

French Provincial Chairs

I had to use my leg for leverage. Two hours later…

French Provincial Chairs

I was done…with one chair. Are you kidding, I have another whole chair to go?? I couldn’t be satisfied with one chair for my big reveal, Oh No that wasn’t good enough. I MUST have two chairs.

And so I continued…yanking, pulling, cursing, tugging, cursing… I woke up to this that Tuesday morning:

French Provincial Chair Makeover

Actually two like this. I worked feverishly the entire day…

Reupholstering French Provincial Chairs

Learning as I went of course because that’s how I do…

French Provincial Chairs

It was kind of fun to see it all come back together. I even made my own double welt cording. (Much cheaper!)

Making Double Welt

I took photos of every step and if anyone is curious to see the entire process, I put together a complete how-to HERE.

If you are looking to tackle a similar project, here are a few suggestions:

  • Take photos of each step as you remove the old upholstery to reference when it’s time to reupholster.
  • Mark each piece before you remove anything:

Reupholstering French Chairs

  • Use these pieces as pattern pieces for your new upholstery.

French Provincial Chairs

  • Paint AFTER you remove the old upholstery. (Some idiot out there might try to paint it first.)
  • Wear work gloves to prevent blisters. (Trust me…or gardening gloves…hey it was all I had.)

If you see how everything comes apart, as long as you have lots of photos to refer back to, you should be able to piece it back together. I used the same foam and batting since it was in decent shape (and free).

I know I saved a lot by making my own double welt cording, but there are a trims you can purchase too if you prefer that look and don’t want to bother with sewing your own.

Fifteen hours later, I was done. Marathon upholstery I tell ya! But the results were so worth it!

Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Beautiful details along the front…

French Provincial Chairs

I used Behr’s Cottage White made into DIY chalk paint. I sanded a bit and waxed with Annie Sloan’s clear soft wax, followed by a very light amount of dark wax. You almost can’t even see it in the photos, but you can in real life.

Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I love the peek-a-boo panels on the sides and back…

Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer


Reupholstering French Provincial Chairs


Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

I would have loved to have been able to keep them, but did I mention I had a claw-happy cat (still do) and a Cheetos-fingered four year-old (so glad we’re past that!)? These headed to my booth and sold almost right away. 🙂

To see more of the how-to for these chairs, click HERE.

To see my tutorial for double welting, click HERE.

I’ve almost forgotten the feeling of the permanent staple gun grip my right hand was left with after this makeover. Might be time to tackle another set. (There’s one waiting in my garage!)

Estate sale French Provincial chair made over from Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

Have you ever reupholstered anything? Did it go well?

Hope you enjoyed this flashback as much as I did! But don’t go anywhere just yet!

My Thrift Store junkie friends are sharing four more amazing makeovers today!

T2T-Tuesday-2-91. Artsy Chicks Rule  2. Prodigal Pieces  3. Bless’er House  4. Girl in the Garage


If you have your own yard sale, Craigslist, thrift store, roadside find makeover, share it with me and my T2T friends on Instagram with the tag #TrashtoTreasureTransformation!  The winner will get an Instagram feature on all 5 of our feeds and a prize pack from Fusion Mineral Paint!! Good luck!

I’ll be back here Thursday with my Décor Enthusiast Girls sharing how we make signs! I’ll be sharing the easiest method ever:

Seriously the EASIEST sign ever to make!

See ya then, sweet friends!

UPDATE: Woo hoo no need to wait! See how I made the easiest sign ever HERE now! 🙂




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  1. WOW. You are truly amazing! That project looked tough. I don’t even know how to do a seat cushion that’s simple much less a project like this. Looks fabulous! I like that color white. Do you mind sharing the color/brand/type paint you used?

    • Thanks SO much, Gayle! The end result was worth the effort for sure! The paint color is Cottage White by Behr that I made into chalk paint…will update the post with that info. 🙂

  2. I remember you working on these chairs when I did my feedsack chair…still in love!! They are beasts to tackled, but so worth it in the end. Great job, Christy!

  3. So impressed!
    Btw, I noticed pliers and a flat head screwdriver in your hands. I tore a whole couch apart that way, exhausting, but have since found this gadget
    Makes it easier but still keep the pliers and flat head close by.

  4. Beautifully done! Kudos to you, my dear!

  5. Sue Ronnfeldt says

    Those chairs are beautiful!!! You are truly an artist!!! Wish I lived close to you to take advantage of your talents!! I have 2 French Pro chairs that need to be reupholstered and a love seat. I love your style!!

  6. Oh Christy, this transformation is like day and night, gorgeous!!

  7. omg. Love the makeover

  8. It is an amazing change! I need you here to do my 3 piece old sectional that looks like your chair with the wood and all.

  9. Those are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I want em in my house!! Now all I have to do is find a couple chairs. A hotel furniture outlet would be a good place too…I’m on the hunt!

    We are moving from TN to MI later this year and our home will be larger. I’ve been saving DIY ideas like crazy! Here comes my cottage, farmhouse with a touch of industrial and coastal colors!! How’s that for a combo?
    Congrats on a job well done!!

  10. Beautiful as always Christy. I would love to find a couple of chairs like that. 😉 They were in great shape (wood wise). So many chairs I have seen here are falling apart and need way too much work. It’s almost like they let their kids jump on them and use them as bumper guards for hockey!!

  11. Christy I always love your makeovers but this has always been one of my favorites! I adore these chairs and I’m planning a copycat project someday. 😉

  12. Paulette Morris says

    The chairs and material are awesome and, you gave me an idea to use in my gift shoppe. Thanks, Paulette, owner humble beginnings in Alden, NY

  13. I’m in love with them!!!! I’m so sorry you couldn’t keep them! I would have cried as I was giving them up, and you did a beautiful job!!

    • Thanks, Amy!! I know, I just didn’t have a space for them at the time! My Mom called me today after reading this post lamenting about how she wished she would have kept them too! 🙂

  14. I think you did an amazing job, well done, and most of all, the patience, and endurance you had to do this project. Im sure you saw the vision of what these chairs could look like so that kept you going!! LOL They are really pretty chairs!! :))

  15. Hi Christy…These are beautiful!!!! I think I would have saved them for myself. How did you attach the welt cording?

  16. Hi Christy! I so enjoyed your post. The chairs are BEAUTIFL!! Oh my, and you did it yourself. I am new to your site so am not sure if you’ve reupholstered before, but way to go. And I laughed out loud when I read your words ‘perfect, um … the side panels’! Um is probably my new favorite word. So many times I attempt to do something and end up stepping back and UM!, UM! The photo of you using your feet and legs for leverage was right on. Thanks so much for sharing the process and the finished product.

    • Hi Joanne and welcome!! I am thrilled that you enjoyed this makeover! It was my first attempt at upholstery and I think I surprised myself. Thank you so much for your sweet words. 🙂

  17. I remember when you did these chairs!!! One of my favorites too. What a great job you did Christy.xoxo

  18. Lovely! I can only imagine how much work that took though! I did one MUCH simpler chair a year and a half ago, and I’m still recovering… haha, no pun intended! It’s a terrible job. So glad yours came out so beautifully. : )

    • Thanks, Becky!! I have another set in the garage that aren’t quite as Frenchy as this one, but I still don’t think I’m ready to start on them. They ARE a lot of work! 😀

  19. These chairs are definitely a favorite of mine! You did an amazing job on them.

  20. Wow Christy, I’m really impressed! I thought the chair was going to win there for a while but in the end you won and the chairs are flipping amazing!! Good job!

  21. Love the picture where you look totally beaten up by removing the old upholstery :). People always admire the pretty upholstery part but actually removing the old stuff, sanding and painting is the toughest job! Love the result but kudos on doing the nasty bits 🙂 I am joining the #trashtotreasuretransformation at Instagram, have a few pieces I love to share 🙂

  22. they are brilliant the fabric you are so darn clever…

  23. Mariele Storm says

    Damn!! This is so cool. =o I had always avoided projects like this before but, well… you’ve inspired me! =D You did such a great job!!


  1. […] before and afters on their blogs too:  (Clockwise from top left):  Prodigal Pieces | Confessions of a Serial DIYer | Artsy Chicks Rule | Girl in the […]