Skip to Content

Bentwood Chair Makeover | Easy DIY

Welcome back to week 5 of the One Room Challenge! This week I am focusing primarily on a vintage Bentwood chair makeover. Whenever I can, I love to upcycle second-hand furniture to fit within a room design.

Last week I painted the vanity/desk to blue and it looks really beautiful against the warm pink walls. This week I recovered a bentwood chair found at an estate sale to fit within the bedroom design. I also tackled a quick paint project on the existing nightstand to balance the other side of the room.


Catch up on earlier posts for the Fall One Room Challenge…

Week 1 | Week 2 Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8

Fall One Room Challenge 2021 - upcycling furniture in a vintage inspired girls bedroom | Building Bluebird

For those of you who are stopping by for the first time, welcome! Two years ago we moved into our 1960’s fixer-upper in Toledo, Ohio, and have been documenting our renovations on the blog. This will be my fifth time participating in the One Room Challenge and it has been a fantastic way to complete projects in our home! Thanks for following along as I work to transform our daughter’s bedroom in 8 weeks.

Dining Room Reveal | Boys Bedroom Reveal Master Bedroom Reveal Living Room Reveal


Table of Contents

Easy Vintage Bentwood Chair Makeover

I decided to swap out the existing vanity chair with a wooden bentwood chair. Here is the original chair from last year when I painted it and attached new knobs.

How to recover a bentwood chair cushion | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #vintage #cottagecore #grandmillennial

Bentwood Chair Before

The curves of the chair and the warm wood material added a softness to the room. I bought this bentwood chair at an estate sale (using estatesales.net) for $30 and knew it would be perfect in Evelyn’s bedroom.

How to recover a bentwood chair cushion | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #vintage #cottagecore #grandmillennial

1 | Choose a Fabric

Deciding on the fabric to recover the seat cushion was a little more challenging. I purchased a few options from Etsy, but I didn’t love how they looked on the bentwood chair once they arrived. The fabric was a bit flimsy and the colors were not what I was hoping for.

I had some fabric in my storage closet that I pulled out of a “free” bin at our local upholstery store, and my MIL gave me a few fabrics to try as well.

How to recover a bentwood chair cushion | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #vintage #cottagecore #grandmillennial

The winning fabric is a thicker material than straight cotton and has a beautiful bird pattern on it in light blue. This chair is going to get makeup, markers, and crayon marks on it, so it’s important that the fabric be durable.

Recovering a vintage bentwood chair for a vintage girls bedroom makeover | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

I am planning to spray some Scotchguard on the seat cover too. The pattern is subtle and it actually looks similar to the light pink fabric on the pleated lampshades on the dresser.

2 | Remove the Seat Cushion

I was able to easily remove the seat cushion by removing the screws with a screwdriver. Once the cushion was removed, I realized that this chair originally had caning on the seat, which I thought was interesting.

Recovering a vintage bentwood chair for a vintage girls bedroom makeover | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

3 | Measure & Align Fabric

Next, I measured (eyeballed) the amount of fabric needed to wrap around the circular cushion and cut it out. Align the cushion on the fabric based on where you want the pattern to lay.

You can see two small indents at the top of the cushion, and that is where the cushion hits the back of the chair. I centered the bird pattern where I wanted it to go and began stapling.

Recovering a vintage bentwood chair for a vintage girls bedroom makeover | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

4 | Staple the Fabric to the Cushion

Using a staple gun and 5/16 staples, I attached the fabric to the seat.

How to recover a seat cushion using a staple gun | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

To keep the fabric taut, I placed the first four stables at the top, bottom, left, and right of the cushion.

How to recover a seat cushion using a staple gun | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

It is important to avoid pulling the fabric too tight and distorting the pattern. The first four staples created four sections that I worked through one at a time. With each section, I did my best to keep the fabric smooth as I wrapped it tightly around the bottom of the cushion.

My strategy for this was to pull the fabric in the center of the nearest two staples and attach it to the bottom of the seat. This worked well and prevented any ruching or folds of fabric on the seat.

How to recover a seat cushion using a staple gun | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

5 | Cut Excess Fabric

Cut the excess fabric from the bottom of the cushion and reattached it to the bentwood chair frame.

How to recover a seat cushion using a staple gun | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

Bentwood Chair Makeover After

I love this fresh new fabric on the chair! Recovering a seat cushion is a great DIY project for beginners and can be finished in just a few hours.

How to recover a seat cushion using a staple gun | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial
How to recover a seat cushion using a staple gun | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

Additional ORC Projects Tackled this Week

Vintage Nightstand Refresh

The other side of the bedroom was filled with light-colored objects and I needed some darker colors for balance. One of my first furniture DIY projects from Colorado was painting this vintage nightstand. I had given it a fresh coat of white paint and added light pink trim around the edges.

Painting a vintage nightstand for a girls bedroom makeover | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

I decided to use the same blue from the vanity and cover the pink trim. This is another quick and easy project that can be finished in an hour or two. This project was enjoyable and relaxing using a craft paintbrush to paint the small trim.

Painting a vintage nightstand for a girls bedroom makeover | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

I really did love the pink trim, but the new, blue trim helps to tie the room together.

Painting a vintage nightstand for a girls bedroom makeover | Building Bluebird #bhgorc #cottagecore #grandmillennial

Thanks for stopping by to see my progress at the halfway point of the One Room Challenge! Come back next week to see how the bedding and artwork come together. Don’t forget to check out all of the other participants and their projects on the One Room Challenge blog

Similar Content You Will Love