Front & Back Pattern Chair Makeover

Front & Back Pattern Chair Makeover

A long time ago, I bought this chair.  It was an eyesore with the stuffing coming out.  I had a before picture on my phone for forever, but sadly, after a dip in the toilet last week, I lost many of my photos and contacts.  So try to envision the chair before with blue, outdated fabric and stuffing coming out.

Okay, got it?  Ready for details?

When I saw this chair, I loved the shape, and I knew it was super old due to the wooden wheels, probably early 1900’s.

Clamshell back chairs were quite popular during the 20’s and 30’s, and while they may not be everyone’s favorite, I think you can help them look more updated by putting one fabric on the front and one fabric on the back.  Taking advantage of the design on the front of the chair, I used a very graphic, wide, black and white striped fabric.

I wanted to put a very different fabric on the back of the chair, something botanical.  I found this fern fabric by Braemore (it’s called “Hernanda”, but has since been discontinued), and knew the black accents would link nicely with the black and white stripe.

braemore "hernanda in granite" fern fabric

braemore “hernanda in granite” fern fabric

Using a welt to make fabric choices stand out is always one of my favorite ways to add a unique look to an upholstered piece.  In this case, I used an emerald green velvet, and it turned out beautifully!

To recreate this look, purchase yardage of a wide stripe fabric (my stripes are 8″ wide).  Finding wide stripe fabric that runs horizontally is surprisingly difficult, but you can easily buy vertical stripe fabric and turn it to fit your piece if it is 50″ wide or less.  (i.e. a chair or super narrow settee)  Do an image search for “fern fabric” or “botanical fabric”, and you should be able to find a pattern you love.  Sanderson is an English company, but they have some really pretty botanical fabrics, and their quality is good.  There are usually some good options on Ebay in small yardages.  Use this search to see the options available to you .

Chairs are pieces you should have a little fun with!  Since they are smaller scale than say, a sofa, they are cheaper to upholster. (and change when you want something new) Use them as accent pieces, use your imagination!  Don’t be afraid to try something bold.  I’m thrilled to pieces with my chair!

Is there a chair in your home that needs a makeover?

For more upholstery tips, see my Upholstery 101 post.

Written by Grace


  • Emily
    Posted at 12:25h, 30 October Reply

    You really inspire me Grace. I love this chair SO much! And, I can’t wait to see your room all completed.

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:50h, 01 November Reply

      Thank you Emily! I’m super happy with how it turned out!

  • emily
    Posted at 19:29h, 30 October Reply

    so pretty! I love how those stripes look with the shape of the chair. fun makeover

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:52h, 01 November Reply

      Thanks Emily! It was a risk, but I’m super happy with how it turned out!

  • Gretchen
    Posted at 20:14h, 30 October Reply

    So inspiring!!! I have a chair that was my grandmothers that is circa 1900 and very Victorian. I want to recover in a contemporary way and don’t know how to get started and make choices. This helps!

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:55h, 01 November Reply

      Gretchen, this type of pattern mix would be perfect for an antique Victorian chair! How cool that you have a family piece to make over! I would be happy to help, of course. 😉 xoxo

  • Melissa
    Posted at 05:29h, 31 October Reply

    Gorgeous chair and how fun! Also, you have my sympathy regarding the phone. I think all of us have had at least one unfortunate phone incident.

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:58h, 01 November Reply

      Melissa, thank you! I know, right? It’s always such a bummer. As much as we all try to not have our lives centered around our phone, those little devices hold tons of precious pictures, videos, and information!

  • Cathy
    Posted at 09:48h, 02 November Reply

    I am utterly smitten with this chair!!!! Love the novel way that you used the stripe on the inside and the fabulous choice of fabric for the back. Just fantastic! Love it so much I shared it on my blog today: Hope that is OK!
    Cathy @ Room Rx

    • Grace
      Posted at 23:48h, 19 December Reply

      Oh Cathy, thank you so much! I am so flattered! Thank you for being such a faithful reader. xoxo, G

  • Londen
    Posted at 15:42h, 12 November Reply

    I love the mix of those fabrics, beautiful!! Just found your lovely blog.

    • Grace
      Posted at 23:48h, 19 December Reply

      Londen, WELCOME!! Thank you so much! So glad you are here, G

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