Upholstery Caturday!

Kitchen---after

Our sad, boring, stained, and ugly dining room chairs…

When you need an idea for a blog post, I highly recommend you reupholster your dining room chairs. Sure, it requires planning, time, money, tools, and the ability to know how to recover furniture, but once you have all those bases covered and throw in eight curious cats, well, the post practically writes itself…

It started several weeks ago when I had finally decided to stop ignoring the fact that our dining room chairs were covered with permanent stains and were practically disintegrating from age and looked absolutely atrocious. Since we don’t actually eat in the dining room more than a couple times a year and the chairs are only about 5 years old, it remains a mystery why they are in such bad shape, but I vaguely do recall a time when I was using the sewing machine at the table and an adult beverage that I had next to me in a pretty bright pink color got knocked over by Zoey and Peanut who felt compelled at that time to chase one another via the table top and the liquid spilled into my pin cushion that was next to my sewing machine (a  family heirloom with a needlepoint design that was made by my late Aunt), the fabric I was sewing to make some throw pillows (that had to be thrown into the washing machine), and all over the beige chair I was sitting on. 

Then, there was that other time I was sewing some cute little Christmas ornaments that were decorated with buttons and another adult beverage (also bright pink) got knocked over by a cat (can’t remember which one, insert any name here)  that sprayed and seeped into several chairs as well as inside the box where my hundreds and hundreds of loose buttons were stored (my Mom used to manage a fabric store, so I literally have a handful of every type of button you could imagine and have kept them for over 30 years). They were all floating in the magenta liquid and I had to put them in a colander to rinse them off  – I tried as best I could, but they are still sticky to this day. I think there is a simple message here. I must drink clear liquids moving forward…

As usual, I digress. The point is, the chairs were pitiful and I decided a trip to the fabric store was in order. Does anyone want to raise their hand at this point to guess what type of print I wanted to cover the chairs in? Oh, never mind, even I know that’s a foolish question. Let’s just go shopping, shall we…

And just like that, we’re back. While this might be hard to believe, when it comes to leopard print, not all spots are created equal and I am extremely finicky when it comes to what I like. Especially when it comes to reupholstering six chairs that I will have to look at for years and years. The fabric store I went to looked as picked over as the day after Christmas at Wal-Mart and there was not a single print that even remotely qualified as suitable for what I had in mind.

Next step – type in the words “leopard print upholstery fabric” on the Internet and see what happens. Well, what happens made my leopard loving head spin and I was in heaven. Within minutes I had found the purrfect fabric of my dreams and could not have designed anything more lovely in my mind. Despite that, I am not one to throw money around loosely, so I ordered a sample swatch just to be sure before I ordered several yards of fabric.

When I got my sample a few days later, I just wanted to weep, it was so stunning and I nearly got whiplash for pulling out my credit card so quickly to place the order. About a week later I came home from work to find a long and bulky package waiting for me and clearly the kitties were as curious as I was as to what was inside!

Leopard-All-cats

Hmmm…. What have we here? L to R – Kizmet, Zoey, Zee, Mia, Harley, Peanut, and Rolz (looking appropriately bored as usual).

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What must the kitties think? The fabric looks just like Zoey and actually even feels like her! Rather than some upholstery fabrics that can be stiff, this one is very soft, like a plush and luxurious bath towel!


Wow… The fabric was even more beautiful than I imagined and just like that, Dan and I had a weekend project. Oh yeah, that reminds me, I forgot to add that when you take on a reupholster project for a blog post that it also helps to have a handy fiancé who is also a really good sport. Not every guy is man enough to embrace leopard for the sake of the woman in his life and I really appreciate him for loving me so much that my happiness is far more important than the sensibilities of decorating with tact and decorum. But, in my defense as the pictures to follow will show, the chairs actually came out beautifully and look quite elegant, regal, and tasteful. The leopard pattern coordinates perfectly with the blonde wood of the chairs and matches the creams, browns, and blacks of the walls and curtains in the dining room as if it were decorated that way all along.

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Here I am (with no makeup…yuck) using the chair cushion as a pattern to cut the fabric to recover the chair.

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Out in the garage… Yah…. that’s me with a powerful staple gun in my hands. Got a problem with that?

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Viola… a few hours later and we have a brand new dining room set that has Peanut’s seal of approval! I couldn’t be happier and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my new chairs!

Hope you enjoyed our little reupholster adventure! And in case you’re wondering, this is not something we’ve ever done before and we just kind of dove in. We never quite mastered the technique of reupholstering around the chair corners, so each chair came out looking slightly different from the next, but I like to call that “charm and character.” The entire project was considerably  less than $100 and we actually have a ton of fabric left over, so be forewarned… anything that doesn’t already have a leopard print is fair game. Hmm… excuse me for a moment, I see a plain old brown settee that is calling to me…

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  1. Your cats, your top, your chairs…you are sooooooo matchies! The chairs look terrific. Did the kittehs help much?

  2. A BEAUTIFUL project! I know too well how much work even a simple reupholstery project is! I did our bar stools and those too have an eclectic mix of corners. haha!!!

    LOVE the photo of all the kitties and the package! SO cute.
    : ) GG

    • Deb says:

      Thanks Glogirly – I don’t mind work when it’s fun!! We actually have (3) barstools that are looking decidedly boring… hmmmm…..

  3. We’ve done that over here – and yes, no project is complete without feline intervention! Looks great!

  4. Fern Reed says:

    I have two Bengal kittens that are a little over 6 months old. I just found out they were Bengal cats friday.
    I have had Max and Allie since they were 2 weeks old.
    Love your new chair covers!!!

  5. meowmeowmans says:

    Wow, GREAT job! We’ve done a little bit of reupholstery here, and the kitties always help ius, too. :)

  6. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    sew….noe pun inn tended…. what if like king jazz dee sides him wants HIZ chair done up in… tiger stripezz !!

    de chairzz bee awesom…we will be rite over ta putz R sheddin winter furz on them :)

    • Deb says:

      tabbies… whatever Jazz wants, Jazz can have!!! Right now, he prefers to do his napping on a special pillow and doesn’t even care about the chairs! We would love to have you come visit, but you don’t need too worry about lack of fur – we already have plenty of furs shed on the chairs!!