How to Reupholster Kitchen Chairs

Want a quick kitchen update without breaking the bank? I’ve got a deal for you! Right now Joanne Fabric is offering 50% off select patterns, and we scored big time yesterday!

These are the kitchen chairs… before. They’re not the worst. They actually go very nicely in our kitchen.

My quarrel with the chairs was really the quality of fabric. EVERYTHING sticks to it and it’s impossible to keep clean. I have picked food and individual dog hairs off these chairs because this particular fabric is indubitably a descendant of Duct Tape. Even using the attachment on our Dyson vacuum would not so much as suck a single hair off this fabric. After years of battle, it was time for a update.


Here’s the new fabric we picked up for $30 at Joanne Fabric. It was originally $60, but they were running a 50% off sale.

To get started, you’ll need to remove the seats from the chairs. I used a screw driver and this took about 5 mins total. Don’t worry about unscrewing the legs! Ignore the bolts in the corners of your chair. You’ll just need to unscrew the seat from the frame.


Once you have the seat removed, place the new fabric and the seat upside down on a large flat surface. I figured out how much fabric I needed for each piece ahead of time.

I didn’t remove the existing fabric because other than annoying me, there was nothing wrong with it. No huge stains, or rips, and the cushions were all in excellent condition. I decided to avoid that mess and opted to cover it all. The fabric I chose was also thick enough that the underlying color would not show through.

Place the cushion upside-down on the fabric and estimate it’s position, and how much excess fabric you will need to be able to staple it securely to the bottom on the cushion. Once you’re confident you have enough fabric, cut this piece away, saving the remnant fabric for the other cushions.

I used a Stanley stapler and staples for the next part.


You can pick up one of these from Home Depot for about $10. I had this in the garage from previous DIYs. It’s definitely worth the investment!

Pull up the first piece of fabric and staple it into position. Along the same side, continue to staple, but leave about 1.5 inches from the corners. I originally put about 4 staples on the bottom side before moving to the left. I went back and added more, but before I went staple crazy, I wanted to make sure it was crisp looking incase I needed to remove any staples and reposition the fabric.


You’ll need to pull the fabric each time you staple and make sure it’s fitted tightly around the cushion. At this point, each side should be stapled, with the 4 corners still free to make pleats. The pleats are important because the’ll give you crisp corners.

Basically, you’re going to fold this like you’re securing all the Mexican goodness into a burrito. First, you’ll need to pull the corner of the fabric straight towards the center of the cushion and staple. After you staple, you’ll have two “wings” to either side of the corner. Take the right wing and fold it left. Then staple. Then take the left wing and fold it right. Then staple. Repeat this 3 more times on all the other corners!

I timed myself for your convenience! After I removed all the seats from the frames, reupholstering the seats took about 12 mins each.


When you’re all finished, you can cut away the excess fabric. You could include an additional dust cover on the bottom on the cushion if you want. Since I didn’t remove mine, I left the one that was there.

I found the easiest way to reattach the seat to the frame was to place it upside-down on a flat surface. The frame lined up perfectly with the previous holes and it screwed back together very quickly. Once I got the frame on, You could barely see the excess fabric. You won’t see this anyway since it’s under the chair! But I felt better knowing that it was hardly visible anyway.

Here’s a side by side  in our dining room so you can see the difference. I stopped to take this mid-DIY to share on my Instagram because I was so pleased with the results!

also, the dog toy….

I’m so happy with the new fabric! Take a look a the afters!


Guest Bedroom Update

This has been the SLOWEST DIY yet. Mainly because there’s no rush for this space. We’ve had a whopping total of 3 people stay over our house (in the 3 years we’ve been here) and they didn’t even stay in this room because I didn’t have queen sized sheets for this bed. ANYWAY. Here we are, like 400 days later, and I have sheets and a few days off from work. So we’re digging deep and making progress. In total this make over cost less than $200!

Here’s the room before:


In case you missed it, 100% of our house was this color when we moved in. It’s like a putrid off white egg-shell. The camera and some natural light gave these walls the undeserved benefit of the doubt. First things first. PAINT. Holy Lord does some good Behr  paint go a long way. Pair that with a new hear board and we’re making some awesome progress. This paint color is Wheat Bread by Behr.


Obviously I took this picture at the wrong time of day, but you can believe me when I tell you how much better it looks already. Also, that lampshade is a work in progress (one day it’ll be its own DIY, but that day is not today).

If you’re like me and you’re on a budget (which by the way is the #1 reason to DIY), you should accept all decor (and furniture) donations from family and friends. In ANY form. My awesome sister-in-law (Hi, Christina) bought two mirrors and they were both delivered damaged. She popped out the mirrors and gave me the frames. I’ve seen a ton of decor blogs that have gutless-frames spotlighting some beautiful and rustic farmhouse pieces. But I can’t bring myself to buy a brand new frame and toss the essence. So this was the perfect opportunity to try something new!


The two antique keys (lets call it that because they’re super old) that I hung in the frame are from my great uncle’s house. They’re actually not as heavy as they look. They feel like they’re made of plastic, but they’re much more dense than the plastic we have today.

I did the same exact thing on the right sight of the bed. But I didn’t measure correctly *TEARS*. So I filled it with spackle, waited for it to dry, sanded the excess spackle off, and repainted. I always keep the excess gallons of paint after I paint a room, specifically for reasons like this! I keep the paint stacked in a corner in the basement. It doesn’t take up much room at all! By the way, take a look at that paint color!

Here’s the almost final result! I’m going to create a custom sign to fill the space over the headboard.


In total, this update cost:

  • $60 for the headboard
  • $30 for paint
  • $100 for bedding

Remove Rust with Coke

COKE DOES WHAT?! Yeah, that was my thought exactly. I’ve seen a bunch of these DIY-short-videos that tell you to pour Coke or ketchup on metal, then remove it for a glorious new look. I’m skeptical when it comes to that kind of stuff because I feel like those people are in it for the views. As it turns out, it’s dead on accurate. Which is a little scary. But take a look at this!

My parents offered me their old counter stools when they upgraded. How could I turn down 4 free stools and the chance to do a DIY? No brainer. These stools won’t sit at our dining room table on the regular. They’ll stay in the basement until we have a party and need the extra seating. But, they still needed some serious cleaning.


I removed the 4 support bars/foot rests from the bottom of each stool. They look in decent shape from far away, but take a look at this close up…

All the corners were rusted out. These stools lived at the beach for years and the salt air did a number on these frames. I’m not sure if these were originally brass and the rust ate away the color, or if it was originally silver and the rust made it turn this weird yellow brass color. Either way, the surface felt like sand paper. Basically, the rust had rust on it and it was gross to touch.

I put the frame in the sink and wrapped paper towels around the entire thing. Then I took a can of Coke and poured generously over the paper towel.

If you have a large storage container you don’t mind getting really dirty, you could probably just pour a 2L bottle over what you need to clean, but this works just as well. Let it sit for about 10 or so mins. The Coke will begin to break down the rust.


When you’re ready, remove the paper towels. Here’s what the corner looked like after it soaked in the Coke, but before I scrubbed it with a billow pad. I scrubbed this corner with the same amount of pressure I use to scrub my dirty dishes.

and the after….


I could not believe this is the same metal frame! The Coke removed all the rust. There’s permanent discoloration from years and rust, but the large rust spots are gone! The surface is so smooth.

Here’s another before and after rust spot!

I’ll probably never drink Coke again, but I’ll definitely use it as a cleaning solvent!

Mid-Century Side Table Up-Cycle

This sweet little side table came to us while we were cleaning out my great uncle’s house. When I first saw it, I knew it wanted a much needed new life with us at the Halle House. Its charm was covered in an inch of dust and old magazines, but I saw right threw it and knew it was coming home. Brian was much less enthused, but as my Design Assistant he carried it out to the car 🙂

My other design assistant

As you can tell, there was some stuff, I really don’t know what it was, that crusted on there over the years. It was a great little piece with a ton of character, but desperately needed some love. I was between painting and staining it. So I polled my followers on Instagram and my friends on Facebook and the response was completely split down the middle. Minus my brother (Hi, JD) who suggested that I use it for fire wood. *sigh*

Since the response was a tie, I thought. Why not both?  So this was my very first paint and stain mash up and I’m so happy with the results!

Here’s how I did it!

What you’ll need:

  • Stain (color of your choice)
  • Chalk Paint (color of your choice)
  • Sander
That’s me! I’m obviously excited about my brand new sander my parents got me for my birthday!

That sander made this project infinitely easier! No joke. I sanded the entire table in about 12 mins flat! img_3991

Here it is in action!

After I sanded it down with a 80 and 120 grade sand paper, it was ready to be stained! I took a piece of old dish towel to apply the stain color. I keep old dish towels on hand and cut them into useable pieces for all my projects!


I actually really liked the way the two different stains looked. In the future I’m going to find a project to incorporate this idea! …One day.

I gave the stain two hours dry time on our back patio since it was beautiful outside. I was so surprised with how quickly it dried. I didn’t think I would be able to get a primary coat of paint on before wrapping up for the day, but I did! I had to bring it inside to dry though. Here’s the first coat of white paint.


I was able to put another light coat of paint on the day after and it looks spectacular! I didn’t want the paint to look perfectly even. I like the imperfection of uneven brush strokes. It makes the piece look older and gives it another layer of depth.

Here it is styled in our foyer. It looks so fresh and happy!



Antique Picture Turned Chalk Board

I love taking old things and giving them a second chance and a new life. I found this antique picture frame at an Estate Sale at a 150 year old house in the borough in town. There were hundreds of things that I could have taken home with me that day, but this one spoke to me. It told me, “I want to be a chalk board.” Alright, not really. But I was on the hunt for a really awesome DIY chalk board project and this frame was too perfect.

Here it is in its original form.


It’s pretty in a “these flowers have been dead for a century” kind of way. So I decided to give it a modern up-cycle using these two paints.

If you take something like this on, make sure you take a Q-tip and clean out all the details. I found this frame in a barn of an estate sale, so approximately 20% of the charm was dirt, dust and insect ligaments. Yeah. I cleaned this thing good.

After it got a bleach bath, I disassembled it. I removed the back and the glass and threw away the paper that had started to disintegrate over time.

Here’s what I used:

  • Rust-oleum Chalk Board Spray Paint
  • Rust-oleum Aqua Spray Paint

Aqua. Because…. why not? I wanted a fun color that could be bold but not over kill. Spray the paint in even coats over the cleaned frame. Wait 25 mins in between coats. I used 3 coats

The chalk board paint can be applied directly to the glass. It was so easy to do. Make sure the glass is cleaned and has dried before you apply the first coat. Wait 20 mins in between coats.

Store in a cool dry place for 24 hours. When it’s completely dry, reassemble the frame.

Here’s the final result!

FullSizeRender copy


Here’s a side by side:


Book Shelf Up-Cycle


book shelf 1

This bookshelf was one of my favorite and quickest up-cycles to date! I was so excited to start working on it that I almost completely forgot to take the “before” picture. I bought this sad little bookshelf from an online yard sale. It was in terrible condition and desperately needed some life breathed back into it. Something about it was crying to be bright and boisterous. So I went with a green that made me feel happy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • sander
  • paint
  • fabric of your choice, or a second paint color
  • Mod Podge
  • furniture wax

First, sand down the wood completely. It needs to be a smooth surface. If there are multiple layers of paint already on there, try to get as much off as you can.

Second, wipe down the surface so that all dirt (which there was a TON of), dust, or grime is removed.

Third, you’re ready to paint! I did three coats because I loved this color so much. Each time it got a new coat, the color became more vibrant. Don’t be shy with paint coats!

After I painted the entire piece and I let it dry for 24 hours, I measured the areas I wanted the fabric to fill. It’s better to have a little extra than to cut your fabric too short and have gaps to work around. Just like the coffee table up-cycle, the Mod Podge technique is the same.

Put down a thick layer of Mod Podge over the area the fabric will be placed. You’ll need to work quickly, this dries fast! Place the fabric over the layer of Mod Podge. Be sure to pull the fabric tight and push out any wrinkles. Once you’re satisfied with the way its positioned, add two more layers of Mod Podge on top of the fabric to seal it in. If the fabric hangs over anywhere, a box cutter can be used to cut away the excess.

I repeated this process 3 times to give the shelf a fun background.

When that’s completely dry, take an old rag (that will not fray) and go over the entire wood area with the finishing wax.

Here was my finished product:




Wood Spool Serving Table

This is one of my favorite up-cycles to date! The best part was it was free! I made friends with a construction worker at a local site. He gave me two matching spool for absolutely nothing. Here’s what I was working with:


It was HEAVY. Probably around 60-70 lbs, but very awkward to handle. Wear gloves while handling, you can avoid A LOT of splinters.

What you’ll need:

  • Sander
  • Stain (color of your choice)
  • Stain Brushes
  • Furniture Wax


  • 4×4 wood to cover diameter
  • 4 castor feet
  • 5 inch wood screws
  • Wood drill bit longer than 5 inches

Get it in a place that you’re going to be able to work on it for about 24 hours. I did this on my driveway.

If there are nails sticking up take a hammer and pound them into the wood so they are flush and not a danger to anyone.

Sand down all the surfaces of the wood that you want to stain. GO WITH THE DIRECTION OF THE WOOD! If you go against it you’re going to create a ton of splinter patches. Make sure that you’re sanding down all the rough areas really well. It took me about an hour to sand the spool. I also used different grades of sand paper, starting with 50 over the whole surface and went back and ended with 120 over the entire surface again.

Ready to stain! I used MinWax Wood Finish Honey Stain. It was darker than the sample appeared, but so much beautiful than I anticipated.

There are brushes specifically for staining available. I would definitely recommend using a brush instead of a sock. The wood is very coarse and a sock definitely won’t last.


Since the stain was darker than I thought it was going to be, I only did one coat, additional coats may need to be applied if you choose something really light.


After the whole spool was stained I let it sit overnight to dry. Check the weather, if it’s going to rain you’re doing to need to store it in a dry place.

When I came back the next morning everything looked perfect. It was completely dry and ready to be waxed. I used Johnson Paste Wax furniture wax from Home Depot. Use a new sponge to apply a thin coat of wax to all the surfaces that were stained. This will help seal up some of the wood while protecting the wood from future spills or condensation from glasses that may be placed on top.

We wanted a little more height on our spool, so we added a little lift with a 4×4 piece of wood and castor feet to make it more mobile.


We cut the wood about an inch shorter than the diameter of the spool on each side to avoid a ton of it being seen. Make sure it’s mostly in the middle of the spool to support stability. You may have to maneuver it around some of the bolts in the center. This isn’t an exact science, look at the area you have to work with and make adjustments.

Mark off how deep you will need the drill bit to be inserted. We used a sharpie to make sure we were drilling down to the same point for each screw. DO NOT TOUCH THE TIP OF THE DRILL BIT AFTER YOU USE IT. It was so hot, I burned my fingers. Seriously.

Its easier to drill one hole and then screw the 4×4 at opposite ends rather than drill all the holes and then go back and screw them all in. It may take a little longer this way, but there’s nothing more frustrating than making a ton of holes and not being able to match them up. I recommend doing two screws at opposite ends to secure the wood first, then make 6 additional holes.

To fully support the spool, you’ll need make an X with the 4×4 under the spool. Repeat the same process with 2 smaller pieces of wood that will be perpendicular to the first.

After the 4×4’s have been secure, you’re ready to add the castor feet. Place the plate on the 4×4 and mark off where you’ll need to drill.


When you’ve finished you’re drilling, put the castor back on and line it up with the 4 holes. Put a screw in each hole and drill a quarter of the way down. Don’t do the whole an entire nail at a time so you have space to adjust if needed.


Once they’re all in you’re finished!

Here’s the almost-finished product:


I’ll be going back and staining the ends of the 4×4 so they don’t look so raw next to the finished spool.

Enjoy hosting gatherings with this awesome server!

May 2017 Update:


Coffee Table Up-Cycle

Shabby Chic is so easy to have in your own home! This was my very first furniture flip!

Here’s what the coffee table looked like when I found it.


What you’ll need:

  • A Sander (or a drill with a sander attachment)
  • Sander sponge (for distressing, if desired)
  • Chalk paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Fabric pattern of your choosing
  • Mod Podge Glue
  • box cutter or scissors
  • Finishing wax

First you’ll need to sand off the finish, exposing the raw wood. If you’re having a difficult time doing this, there are finish removers that you can pick up from Home Depot for relatively cheap.

With a damp paper towel remove any lingering dust. Make sure the table is clean so the chalk paint goes on smoothly.

Once the surface is clean, you’re ready to paint! I used 3 coats of paint and let each layer dry about 45 mins between coats.

Chalk paint can be really expensive. Check out a home-made recipe here.

I let the final coat of paint rest overnight. When it’s completely dry, use the sander sponge to distress as desired.

Take the fabric and stretch it over the area you would like to cover. It helps to tape it down so you can get an accurate measurement of the area you will need. You can outline the area you want to cut or use a box cutter right on the spot.

Put down a thick layer of Mod Podge over the area the fabric will be placed. You’ll need to work quickly, this dries fast! Place the fabric over the layer of Mod Podge. Be sure to pull the fabric tight and push out any wrinkles. Once you’re satisfied with the way its positioned, add two more layers of Mod Podge on top of the fabric to seal it in.

After the fabric is set and completely dried, go back and apply a generous coat of wax on the wood to protect it against stains and promote durability.