In this tutorial, I share with you the details of this vintage telephone chair makeover. Don’t have time to read it now? Be sure to pin it here for later!
Last month, my husband and I decided to make a trip to the thrift store to see if we could find some hidden treasures. We stopped at one of our favorite antique stores in a small town of Brookville, Pa. And I was on the lookout for a new project to work on. The project that I came across was very easy to find because it was the first thing I saw before I walked into the store. It was an old vintage telephone chair from the 1950s and I knew I had to have it.
Once we took a few minutes to look inside the store, I picked up a few more things and I headed out of the store with my telephone chair. It was a project that I couldn’t wait to get started on. So, we placed it in the back of our truck and headed over to Goodwill.
We had found so many goodies and it turned out to be a successful shopping trip. That is one of the things that my husband I love to do most.
How I planned out the design part for this project.
When I was planning out the design for my new piece, I felt that the chair needed to be an off white color with a pop of bright patterns for the seat. I really wanted that part of the chair to stick out the most.
For this vintage makeover, I started out with a few supplies and then I added more as I went along. I have to admit that this was a tough piece to work on. Because I had made one decision that led me to another. And it became more work than I had originally anticipated.
Isn’t that the fun part about refinishing old furniture?
Supplies you’ll need for a telephone chair makeover:
- Project Planner Checklist
- Paint Brushes
- Soft Lace by Behr
- BB Frosch Chalk Powder Mix
- Sandpaper 120 or 220 grit
- 1 yard of Cushion Fabric from Spoonflower
- 1-inch upholstery foam
- Upholstery heavy duty stapler
- Scissors for cutting fabric
Take your chair apart before you start sanding and painting.
Take the chair apart by unscrewing the screws underneath it. This just ensures that you have an easier time with painting and sanding.
The chair was easy to take apart and it didn’t take long. But here is the part where I had made one decision that led to another.
One of the legs on the bottom of it was fairly worn down. I probably could have sanded it to make it look better, but I wasn’t sure if I would have had to sand down the other legs to ensure that each leg was an even length. So, I decided to switch out the one leg for the other. And because the chair had an extra leg to hold up the storage piece, I made the decision to take off the storage part to keep the chair looking nice and simple.
I like minimal designs. And I thought that the chair would look a lot less clunky if I just turned it into a simple looking desk.
Your next step is to prep the paint.
Quick tip: Be sure to sand down your piece of furniture before adding the paint.
For the paint color, I went ahead and used my favorite brand, which was Behr in the soft lace color. This time, I tried something a little different and I mixed in a chalk paint powder by BB Frosch. This powder mix offers you more coverage that lasts without spending a fortune on chalk paint. And you get the best of both worlds by using a premium acrylic paint with the mixture of chalk paint results.
At first, I had a bit of trouble with mixing the perfect ratios. I had added too much water at one point and it made the paint a bit runny. But then I fixed it by placing more powder into the mix and it turned out to be perfect. Just be sure to mix it well if you do decide to try out the powder mix by BB Frosch.
Paint the chair and add a few extra layers in between drying time to make sure it has good coverage.
After the paint dries up, you will want to order a piece of new fabric for your telephone chair makeover if it needs one. I ordered a yard of fabric from Spoonflower. They have the cutest designs on there, but they are a bit costly! It’s worth it to purchase from Spoonflower though because all of the designs are created by small business owners, and I had no problem by supporting them.
Grab a one-inch layer of foam for the cushion from Walmart. You can order a whole roll and they deliver it right to you.
Measure your piece to make sure you cut out the right amount of cushion and fabric. As you may see in my video, I just place the cushion on top of the seat and cut the piece of foam out from there. Then you can place your fabric down. Center your piece of foam in the middle. Add the seat on top. Fold your fabric over and make sure it is tight before you staple the fabric to the bottom of the chair. Make sure to cut the extra material off afterward.
The next step for this telephone chair makeover was to replace the leg.
I had to run to the hardware store to get these corner brackets so that it could hold the leg into place. I also put it on the other leg to ensure that it was held in place as well. The chair is very old, so you may need some reinforcements to make your project to be a bit more sturdy.
Once the corner brackets were screwed in, the only thing left to do was to add the finishing touches. You will want to sand down some areas with a 220 grit sandpaper and clean it up with diluted vinegar once finished. This part is optional, but it adds a weathered effect to the overall style.
I was more than happy with how the finished look came out. And I can’t wait to find its new forever home.
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