Queen Anne Armchairs get a fresh new look! | The Interior Frugalista: Queen Anne Armchairs get a fresh new look!
Queen Anne Armchairs get a fresh new look! | The Interior Frugalista

June 25, 2015

Queen Anne Armchairs get a fresh new look!

Hello friends, those of you who have been following my blog have heard me talk about a pair of Queen Anne Armchairs that we picked up for a song on Kijiji, a Canadian buy & sell site.  At long last, they FINALLY got a fresh new look and I'm thrilled with how good they look in front of our living room window.

Queen Anne Armchair Makeover

Here is what they looked like when we brought them home...

Queen Anne Armchairs before makeover

Did I mention we only paid $60.00 a piece?  Not bad considering they were in really good condition, other than a few scratches and dated upholstery.

Queen Anne Armchair painted and reupholstered
*affiliate links included in this post so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project.

During this makeover, there was nasty bleed through, a gazillion old staples to remove, a botched attempt at double welting, and multiple trips to the fabric store because I was being so indecisive. Keep'n it real and more about that later...

It took four hours per chair and a few puncture wounds to show for it, to remove all the tiny little staples. I was excited to get on to the next step, adding the pretty but first I had to rough up the wood using a sanding block so the paint has some bite.

Knowing I was bound to get paint bleed from the tannins in the dark wood, I gave the chair a coat of (affiliate link) shellac. Next, I painted a thin layer of white chalk paint in a 50:50 ratio of Old White and Pure White. Painting in thin layers gives a nice smooth finish.

Queen Anne Armchair chalk painted white

There was still bleed through after the first coat so I applied a second coat of Shellac and that did the trick.  It took a total of four coats of chalk paint to hide the dark wood, but that's not uncommon when you're doing thin layers.

Queen Anne Armchair painted and distressed

Using a sanding block with 220 grit sandpaper I distressed the chair along the edges as well as around the details so they would pop.  Another option would have been not to distress the details and apply dark wax into the grooves for an aged appearance. I wanted a clean look.

Distressing painted details on Queen Anne Armchair

Last but not least the chair was protected with (affiliate link) clear wax and buffed to a matte finish.

Clear wax protected this Queen Anne Armchair

I fell in love with this très chic Parisian Rosedale Meadowland upholstery fabric, purchased at Fabricland (Canadian retailer).

Queen Anne Armchairs reupholstered

The plan was to upholster the entire chair with it, but I changed my mind at the last minute.  Back to Fabricland to find a complimentary fabric for the back of each chair.

Queen Anne Armchair upholstered back

I liked the fabric so much I went back to buy more to reupholster our ottoman.  No such luck, someone else liked it as much as I did and they were all out (insert sad face here).

Queen Anne Armchair makeover with contrasting fabric backs

I wanted to add double welting along the top and bottom of the chair. While I've sewed a lot of single welting before, I'd never made double welting.  I figured how hard can it be to add one more strand of piping. Ha! Two attempts later and a lot of wasted fabric and (affiliate link) clothesline cord, I finally figured it out.

Sorry, but my brain was in overdrive so I didn't stop to take pictures of the process. My friend Christy from Confessions Of A Serial DIYer has a great double welting tutorial that you may find helpful.

Queen Anne Armchair makeover with double welting

I'm really pleased with how the chairs turned out considering Mr. Frugalista and I are teaching ourselves, with the guidance of a good book, how to upholster furniture.

Queen Anne Armchair makeover

Which brings me to the final phase of this makeover...sewing pocket lumbar pillows. Being vertically challenged I felt like Edith Ann in her rocking chair (now I'm dating myself). Remember the show Laugh In with Lily Tomlin? It was my Saturday night entertainment staple during my babysitting days.  "And That's The Truth" (insert tongue sticking out here).

Ahem, back to the chairs...

I've made simple pocket pillows before but never have I made them with piping which requires a lot more cutting and sewing.

Queen Anne Armchairs with DIY Lumbar Pillows

Deciding to free fall my way through making these (like upholstery I'm also a novice, self-taught sewer) I figured it out but not without spewing a few colorful words.  Normally this is where I'd provide another tutorial but until I perfect my skills, I'll keep the nitty gritty to myself.

Queen Anne Armchair Makeover with lumbar pillows

I thought about using a contrasting fabric for the piping or a contrasting fabric for the pillow, but I wanted the chairs to be the focal point and not the pillows so I changed my mind.

If you like my Queen Anne Armchair makeover, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

Two Queen Anne Armchairs Before and After

I'm thrilled with how they turned out and don't you think the chairs look fabulous paired with the Swan Table?


A BIG Thank You to the following for featuring this project...

Friday's Furniture Fix                    The Pin Junkie              



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