Cool ways to upcycle old chairs

Upcycle an old chair to create something unique and add personality

Whether you fancy a change or you've just got your hands on a cast-off, upcycling is where it's at. Check out our top tips to upcycling an old dining chair to add a little pizazz to your next dinner party.

Decorate with decoupage

black chair with white floral design near wooden table at white wall

(Image credit: Sanderson)

Pick up a copyright free images book and get creative with decoupage. Go for a monochrome theme, as pictured, for extra sophistication using a dark grey base such as Graphite eggshell (from £28 per litre at Sanderson). Once the chair is painted and dry, use white paint to highlight the contours and once dry, affix the images of your choice with wallpaper paste covering in clear matt varnish to complete the look.

Add exotic colour and 3-D texture

purple chair with coloured striped seat and roses

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Paint the chair back and legs magenta, then highlight the seat edge and struts with a hot orange gloss. Choose a bright for the seat cover like the multi weave stripe fabric (£14 per metre at John Lewis) and tack with oversized upholstery studs. Finish by hanging a bright faux-flower and tassel corsage on the chair back.

Re-cover it in metallic leather

brown wooden chair with soft brown seat

(Image credit: Etsy)

Paint the chair in a dark gloss paint shade to accentuate your metallic leather of choice. Etsy has a great range of bright colours from £5 per piece. To cover the back and seat, cut pieces of foam to fit the areas and glue in place. Take the leather and stretch over the foam areas to ensure a smooth surface area and staple to secure. Edge the chair back and seat pad with upholstery nails. Cut a stiff cardboard template of the chair back, then cover with leather, using textile glue to attach it. Finally glue this panel onto the chair to conceal the stapled edge.

Tailor with shirt stripes

blue designed chair and red lamp

(Image credit: Liberty)

Recycle old shirts, or buy new shirting fabric, and wrap narrow strips of different stripes around the chair frame. Secure discreetly using a staple gun and textile adhesive where needed. Finish with a carefully placed cuff and some big, fun Fine Style buttons (£8.50 per jar at Liberty) on the chair back.

For more upcycling ideas, take a look here.



Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.