It wasn’t until our old dining-room chairs were already kindling that I discovered how expensive new chairs would be. Sticker shock made me fervently wish I had first tried to mend the rickety ones with wood glue. That was thirty-three years ago.
Six years ago, when I needed dining-room chairs again, I hunted for the right price. Given my tight budget, even outlet-store prices seemed too high. Meanwhile, I put cheap plastic deck chairs around the table. They were too low, so I tossed a pillow onto each one for a temporary solution.
My daughter, Aimee, mentioned seeing chairs for fifteen dollars at a neighborhood garage sale. Fifteen dollars per chair is a great price, I thought, so imagine my joy when I discovered that the entire set was fifteen dollars. My budget smiled, too.
The only problem was that the chairs had a blonde finish, and my dining-room table didn’t. Since I had more time than money at that point, I laboriously stripped all four chairs down to the bare wood and stained them an oak color.
But when family crowded around the table at Thanksgiving, I had to again press deck chairs into service for extra seating. A few weeks later, a coworker tried to give two dining-room chairs to Goodwill, but they rejected them due to fabric stains on the seats.
“Can you use them?” my coworker asked. I sure could! Even though they didn’t match my existing chairs, I realized that if I reupholstered all the seats in the same fabric, they would blend together. The two new chairs could sit at the head and foot of the table with the old ones lined up along the sides.
Fortunately, Savage Sister Jennifer had recently given me some adorable kitty-themed upholstery fabric. So I removed the seat cushions from the chairs. The cushions on the refinished chairs simply popped out. The Goodwill-rejected seats needed just a few screws removed.
Using the old fabric as a pattern, I cut new upholstery fabric to fit each seat. I zigzagged the edges to reduce fraying, then stapled the squares to the underside of each cushion.
Voila! A “matching” set of six dining-room chairs for a total of $15.00 and a good supply of elbow grease.
Works for me. It might work for you too.
Written by Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana
© 2009, The Savage Sisters