Thonet Chairs Refinishing Complete!

Well Happy 2016 to you all! Over at our home we had a very busy Christmas Holiday with our normal household of 3 humans and 2 dogs increasing to 9 humans and 4 dogs!!! It was crazy and lots of fun, but I’m glad we’re back to normal capacity now! Believe it or not I did get the Thonet chairs finished by Thanksgiving and I would have posted about them earlier, but with all of the blogosphere hyper focused on Christmas decorating I felt like this little post might get lost in the shuffle and I totally think it’s worth checking out… just saying Open-mouthed smile

So you may remember that I started off with this set (plus a couple more I picked up later) of Thonet chairs. (If not you can check out the post I wrote on the refinishing process here) Man have I forgotten how ugly these were to begin with!!

Vintage Thonet Chairs

This is where I left off while I moved on to refinishing the farmhouse table, see I wasn’t 100%sure how I wanted them finished so they sat here empty for a couple of weeks as I thought on it…

Vintage Thonet Chair Update

I had initially thought I wanted to use faux leather on the seats to help with the inevitable cleanup, but after looking at several (let say 10 or so) samples I couldn’t find one that I liked enough… they were either too shiny, too fake looking or just not the right shade. So I ended up finding this very extremely soft grey crocodile embossed velvet.

Velvet Croc Zinc Fabric

Of course this fabric was the most expensive fabric I looked at (isn’t that how it always goes!), at $28.00 a yard, but I only needed 3 yards. The cost breakdown of the chairs is: $80/set of 8 chairs + fabric $92 + paint $25 + $10 repair product = $207 or $26 per chair, which is pretty freaking awesome don’t you think!?

To reupholster the seat cushions I just cut the fabric off, using a sharp knife and cutting as close to the staples as possible. There were a ton of staples and honestly I just didn’t want to remove them, had I been upholstering these for someone else I would have probably started with a new wood seat and foam as that would have been less time consuming than removing all of the staples.

Reupholstering chair seats

I chose to leave the original bottoms (less the previous owners address stickers) and stapled the fabric right near the old staples, it worked like a charm and only took me about an hour to do all 8 seats. Having said that though I should mention that I do have an electric stapler that uses very fine staples, I would never have been able to recover them so quickly with a manual staple gun, you know the old saying about using the right tools for the job!!

Look at that gorgeous velvet!

Reupholstered Thonet Chair Seats

Originally I was thinking I would paint the chairs grey (which is why I used a grey primer) but once I found my fabric I decided to paint the chairs Benjamin Moore’s Linen White in Advance Satin. I sprayed about 4 light coats on each of the chairs, which would have been less had I primed them with white primer instead of gray Baring teeth smile but oh well!

Updated Thonet chair set, new upholstery and paint

I tried to get a good picture of an area that I repaired, I will say that the repairs are about 99.9% invisible! I think they look like they were built this way originally and I’m pretty proud of the job I did…

Repaired Thonet chair backs

Updated Thonet chair set

I’m really digging the different shades of “white” I used, it helps make the table feel like it is less of a set and more of a collection… if that makes sense?!

Thonet chair set and farmhouse table updated

Now that I have all 8 chairs in they really are a little snug around the table, but one day I will be able to used both ends of the table and it will be the perfect amount of chairs! I love the finished look of the chairs and I am so happy I took the time to update them. I hope this post may inspire you one day to take on a project like this, it really was pretty simple!

Thanks as always for stopping by! By the way I’d love to hear what you think about this project!

K

6 thoughts on “Thonet Chairs Refinishing Complete!

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  1. Hi Susan – I love the fabric it is my kind of style – they look beautiful 🙂 I would admit that one chair either end of the table would look ‘less crowded’, but if you haven’t the space to do that, then needs must – hey 🙂 but, as you say when you can place them at each end, then you will 😉

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    1. Thanks so much Denise and I totally agree with the crowding, I would usually only have 3 on each side due to make space restrictions, but I’d rather have them sitting there instead of my storage area which is in desperate need of a purge!!! I just couldn’t resist buying all 8 chairs…

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