My Reupholstered Armchair

Yellow oversized chairThis is a mini progress report… brought to you by me overanalyzing everything about my living room. That tends to be my style of home decorating: overanalyzing. 🙂

So I’ve been working on the living room in our new house. It’s technically a second living room, as we have a kind of sitting area with a fireplace that functions as a living room as well (check my empty home tour video to see both). I call this the “TV living room” for short. 🙂 And you might remember this awesome oversized blue armchair from our last living room:

Past living roomI love this chair (it’s from Thrive). It’s big! Sometimes Trey and I sit in it together. But it’s also the perfect size to sit in and snuggle with one of our dogs during a favorite show.

So the pros of this chair are great size, love the shape, and it’s really a very nice piece of furniture. The cons: I wasn’t in love with the blue anymore, and it had gotten quite dirty/worn from our last house. As you can see in the photo above, it was right by our backdoor (to our backyard) that also had a dog door. So the dogs would come in from outside and often immediately jump on this chair. It’s a wonder it held up as well as it has these past 3+ years.

Chair before and afterI thought about just getting it professionally deep cleaned, but that didn’t solve my not loving the blue fabric in this space.

I also thought about just donating it or selling it and getting a new chair. But I truly do love the size and shape, and it seemed a shame to get rid of a perfectly good chair when I might end up buying a cheaper (less well made) chair.

The solution should have been obvious, but until my friend, Janae (you guys know Janae, she’s smart about photography as well as home decor) suggested I get it reupholstered, I didn’t even think about it. She pointed out that since the bones of the chair were so nice, spending the money to reupholster could mean I’d be spending the same or more on a new, but not as nice chair. This way I’d get to keep all the things I loved about this chair already. I also liked the idea of reusing something I already had instead of just buying something new. I’m not always the best at this, but I think it’s a good practice for personal budget reasons as well as for the environment in general.

So, I found someone who could reupholster it for a very reasonable price. I went shopping for fabric and came home with three options I had taken pictures of with my phone and showed them to Trey. I also did some price comparing. In the end I picked this yellow because I loved the color, the fabric was a great price for the quality, and I thought it might hide blonde dog hair well (which is a BIG issue at our house). I did (and do) worry that the lighter color might end up looking more dirty over time, but with this chair not being as close to our dog door as it was at our last house, the dogs don’t sit on it as often. So I’m cautiously hopeful.

Yellow armchairThe result: I LOVE the new color and our chair looks like new. We’ll see how well it holds up over time, but at least I love the color now so I can always just get it professionally cleaned if needed in the coming years. If you love a good chair makeover, check out this DIY project Mandi did!

Have you all ever had anything reupholstered (either DIY or professionally done)? If so, how did it go? Were you happy with the results? xx. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • I am actually looking into having some pieces upholstered, but have not contacted anyone yet! … I am considering cost, how much was upholstery ?

  • Great Job!

    The bright yellow of the armchair and the black & white patterns on the cushions are just going perfectly together!

    A great color combo, will definitely try this color crush on the living room designs of my website.


  • Wow, its really good to see such a marvellous ideas for furniture design but i prefer to go, which is very user friendly and affordable.

  • I reupholstered a few chairs myself and it was the least fun DIY I’ve ever done. Consider your money well spent!

  • Great choice on the yellow! Looks great next to your black door!


  • I’m so glad you decided not to get rid of this chair because it really is a great piece. I liked the original fabric color, but the sunny yellow really does look better in your space. I hope you are able to enjoy it for many years to come.

  • Reupholstering is such a great way to reuse furniture you love! Great choice of color too =o)

  • Wow! This already looks amazing, and although the colour isn’t really my thing it looks way better than before!

  • When we moved under the same roof with my boyfriend he brought his couch from his previous apartment. I must say that I didn’t like it in the beginning and the color just didn’t match the space. Gladly, I have a very handy mom who made a cover for the couch and the two big pillows. Now it feels as good as new and I love it! 🙂

  • It looks perfect! Well done 😀 This makes me want to reupholster everything I see! Haha

  • I have a chair right now that I found in an alley that has really great bones, but extremely weathered fabric. I asked around for reupholstering and all the places asked way more than I could pay. Thinking of trying to reupholster it myself.

  • Amazing job!

  • I have been wanting to reupholster a chair for the same issues and I was actually looking for a yellow like that. I know absolutely nothing about the fabric I need to get that would be best and durable. Would you mind sharing the type of fabric you purchased? Thank you!

  • OMG I wanna do it with my entire sofa! Is it too daring?
    I’m looking for some ideas to upgrade it. I got sick with the color and it is with some stains. Maybe this could work!!!
    xo, Deborah

  • I remember my mum was an ardent fan of that type of services…
    This worked so well for this post… Stunning work ! You must be so proud of yourself for not buying anything new but still feel like a new item has joined the whole set 🙂 Gotta try it out someday ;)x

  • I’m really curious about what you mean by “reasonably priced” since that can be different for everyone. I know that talking money is personal, though, so I understand if you don’t want to discuss that, exactly. I have always been curious about the cost of such a thing.

  • I absolutely love the yellow with the black and white pillows! Perfection!

  • The gentleman I used does it part time as he’s mostly retired now but he did a GREAT job. It took him a little over a week and this chair cost around $150 plus I bought the fabric myself ($75).

    If you live in the Springfield MO area and want his number email me:


  • Yes, someone else had mentioned this to me but I totally forgot! Thanks for reminding me of this trick, I’m gonna give it a try this weekend.


  • Yes, for the the same price I could have bought a new (but cheaper) chair than this one. But this one, although not vintage, is very well made and so I felt it was worth it. But I can see why some people don’t see it that way. To each their own I guess! But I think reupholstering makes a LOT of sense for some pieces, and if you find a truly amazing piece at a flea market or estate sale but the material is worn out or super dated then it can make that item feel like new for a reasonable price overall.

    Good luck!


  • If you’re concerned about stains/dirt, why don’t you treat the fabric with a fabric protector. They work great.

  • Would it make sense to scotch guard it, for better spot cleaning? Most quality fabrics naturally are easy to spot clean, but this may help the longevity. Or put a nice kantha quilt over it if the dogs continue to use? I throw my kanth’s in a cold wash and low dry, they wash up amazingly well!

  • Very nice. I’ve been curious about prices for re-upholstering furniture. Would you mind sharing how much it cost you to do this one chair professionally and how much time it took?

  • I love the new color and fabric you used! I recently reupholstered and changed the shape of a thrifted couch using West Elm fabric- it was a hard and long process (since it was my first upholstery job) but I love the outcome! Reupholstery is a great option for furniture you love!

  • I’ve been doing reupholstery at work for a couple years now (I work in the prop shop of a professional theatre) and I love it! It’s so amazing to see a piece come back to life or come into its next reincarnation. Thanks for highlighting the eco-friendly aspect of reupholstery. I’m doing freelance upholstery over the summer, and I’ve been told several times after giving quotes that it’s cheaper to buy new. Sometimes that may be true, but keep in mind they LITERALLY don’t make furniture like they used to. You’ll likely be replacing that cheaply made piece in another few years because it can’t be restored as easily as well-built furniture can. Anyway, I’m going to share your post and maybe drum up some more work in the Indianapolis area. Thanks!

  • I love how the yellow color fits perfectly in that living room. Bright and shiny!!

  • I have a bunch of chairs that I need to upholster. I have never done it before and am going to have to learn. Daunting!

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