Restoring old wooden chairs


Do you have a favourite wooden chair that’s past its best? Or a set of them round the dining table? Follow our step-by-step instructions how to restore them – including making seat pads.
With a little bit of tender loving care you can give old wooden chairs a whole new lease of life…

You will need

  • Old wooden chair/s (such as dining chairs)
  • Fine grade sandpaper
  • Oil based paint – either gloss or satin
  • Paintbrush
  • Thin sheet of foam rubber
  • Fabric

Step 1 – prepare

dining chair 3
Wash the chair thoroughly using soapy water and rags

Step 2 – sand

sanding an wooden dining chairGently sand the chair with fine grain sandpaper. You can do this by hand or machine as we have here. You don’t need to remove all the paint completely from the chair. Just remove the loose paint or varnish to create a smooth surface for painting.
Use a clean damp rag to wipe off the dust caused by sanding.

Step 3 – paint

painted dining chairs
Apply a thin coat of paint to the chair. Start at the top and work your way down. Leave to dry
Add another coat of paint. Add as many coats as you like, but always make sure each coat dries and is rubbed down with sandpaper between coats.

Step 4 – cushion template

template for cushion
Make a template of the seat by drawing its outline onto newspaper.

Step 5 – seatpad

seat pad
Use the template cut out a seat pad from the foam rubber.

Step 6 – sew

seat cushion
Use the same template to cut out two pieces fabric (make sure you allow at least 2.5cm seam allowance).
Also cut two strips of fabric about 30cms by 5cms – these will form the ties.
With right sides together, stitch around the outside of the seat cover leaving the top end open.

Step 7 – ties

cushion ties
Take your four strips of fabric.  With right sides facing stitch up the side and turn in the right way and press flat.
dining chair
Take the seat cover and turn the remaining raw edges of the open side and fold them in.  Take two of the strips and insert in one side of the opening and the remaining two on the other side and pin.
Stitch along the edge.

Step 8 – sit!

dining chairs
Place finished seat pad on the seat.
dining chairs
Attach the ties to the back of the chair.

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