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Sunday 25 October 2015

French Louis Chair Reupholster

  Before and after

A few years ago I bought this beautiful French Louis chair from my local charity shop, Emmanus. The moment I laid my eyes on the chair, it was love at first sight, despite the tired looking olive coloured fabric and unvarnished wood. I know good quality furniture when I see it and I wasn't letting this one go!

I knew in time I could reupholster it, so wasn't too bothered about the style of the chair until one day I had finally had enough of looking at the poor thing. This chair deserved better and I knew it had the potential to look amazing, so project "renovate louis chair" began!

My French Louis armchair before the reupholster

Over the years I have worked on numerous upcycling projects – painting chairs, coffee tables, tv stands and bookshelves, the list is endless.  However reupholstery is a different type of project.

Having visited the reupholstery shop and seen the upholsterer in action, I am much more aware of the different phases it takes to reupholster a chair. This is a real skill left to the professionals! The techniques the
upholsterer uses are truly amazing. The entire chair was stripped right to the frame and rebuilt to its former glory.

But before the chair was stripped down, firstly I had to choose the new fabric. Choosing the fabric for your chair might seem like an easy decision but with so much choice of fabric on offer, it can be difficult choosing the right one. I had seen lots of ideas and designs on Pinterest and kept a board of my favourite images, however, I wanted to make sure that the fabric would go with the colour scheme of my bedroom: white and silver with warm grey tones.

Example of the many fabrics available to choose from

The shop had lots of fabrics to choose from, it was like being in a sweet shop! In the end I chose this striped fabric with blue, green, yellow and brown colours, which goes perfectly with my bedroom decor. 

The chosen fabric

The chair looks fantastic and the varnishing and priming work done on the wood looks great, just like brand new.  I'm equally really pleased with my choice of fabric, it's amazing how a different fabric can give a chair a new lease of life and it's the perfect addition to my bedroom. 

 So pleased with the finished chair reupholstery

Although I physically did very little, picking the fabric was definitely the hardest decision I had to make in this project so I thought I would share my top three tips for choosing the right fabric:

Pick the right style

There are so many different styles of chairs, louis chair, wing chair, recliners etc and each chair has its unique style so make sure the style compliments your home décor too. The perfect fabric can add a lot of character to your chair and can either compliment or clash with your décor – so choose wisely!

Pick the right pattern

Patterned chairs can look great and are a good way to add character to a room. 
A patterned chair can be a focal point for a room or it can simply add a bit of depth and is a great way to showcase your brilliant eye for design!  On a practical note, most patterns can hide stains and wear better than plain fabric. However, you may be able to get away with having certain patterns on smaller chairs but it may not work as well on a large armchair so this is worth considering too.

Pick the right fabric

The fabric you pick for your chair, is really important and can often be overlooked. Yes the pattern and colour might be "perfect" but remember is the fabric ideal for how you plan to use your chair?

Upholstery fabric determines the longevity of your chair so by using combination fabrics or engineered fabrics these tend to be more durable than natural ones.  Also fabrics that are woven patterns tend to hold up longer than patterns that are printed onto fabrics.

Another factor to consider is choosing strong colours in a very sunny room in case of fading. If you do choose a bold colour then try rotating cushions which will help to slow the process of fading.  However what is most important is choosing a fabric that works for you on a daily basis and also achieves the style you wanted.

The finished product - my reupholstered French Louis chair

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