10 September 2011

Wedding Guest Post: Delightful DIY from Owl Really

Hi! I'm Jamie from Owl Really and I'm so excited to be guest-blogging while Lenore is away celebrating her new marriage! I'm also a newlywed and on the side of my full-time job, I have a booth at the Tennessee Antique Mall in Nashville, TN. Most of my free time is spent "picking" - I love to rummage! I blog about vintage items/stories of interest and I feature my fun finds on my blog as well as "favorite finds" from friends, neighbors, and other bloggers. See the entire Favorite Finds series - and be sure to read all about Lenore's vintage globe on Owl Really!

Usually, I attend estate sales in order to find my items, but I'm up for hunting anywhere! My husband and I recently visited Music City Auction. We swung by about 2 hours after the start of the auction, so they were deep into furniture. (This auction house typically starts with "smalls" and moves into furniture as the night goes on.) We were there for about an hour before I saw anything I was interested in, but then I saw it: a cute white armchair! I bid and won - it was exciting!

When we picked up the chair before we left, I noticed it was a little more outdated (and not, in my opinion, in a cute retro way) that I originally thought. I liked the clean lines and the tufting, but the chair was skirted and I'm all about legs on furniture! I felt a tinge of regret, but decided I would make the most of my new purchase.

it was also dirty - exhibit A: huge footprint on the cushion!

I inspected the chair to see how I could transform it. I knew it needed a good cleaning and I had a hunch that if I could just remove the chair skirt, it would make a world of difference. I started researching removing skirts from chairs and came across this inspiring before & after:

An ugly chair became so stylish, just by removing the skirt and showing off the legs! I hoped my chair would have the same fate!

If you want to do this project on your own chair, be sure to inspect it carefully to make sure ripping the skirt off won't damage the other upholstery or reveal any strange defects in the chair.

You will need:
  • patience :)
  • scissors
  • pliers
  • staplegun (as needed)
In the example I found above, the owner was able to fold the fabric under the chair and staple it in place. Luckily, my skirt was stapled to the outside of the chair and there were 2 rows of piping - one above the skirt and a row of piping under the skirt which meant once I pulled the skirt off, there was a line of piping which makes the chair look really finished!

Here's a close-up of the skirt:

there's a row of piping under the skirt!

I started on the back of the chair, just in case anything went wrong. I managed to pull some of the piping away from the chair and cut it - then all I had to do was rip it.

When I ripped the piping, some of the staples came out with the piping and some did not.

I have not worked with upholstery very much, but if you're like me and you've ever pulled up carpet to reveal hardwood floors, you're really familiar with pulling staples! I used my trusty pliers to pull out the many, many staples. You can barely see the holes the staples left behind, but I've heard you can steam holes out of fabric if needed.

Be warned - some of the staples came out easily and some did not. I had to carefully run my finger across the fabric to feel if any remnants were left behind and then pull those out.

All in all, it didn't take very long - maybe 45 minutes tops! It turned out to be such a cute armchair that I think looks a little Hollywood Regency with the diamond tufting and curved arm fronts. Toss a few colorful pillows on it, and voila!

Have you ever removed a chair skirt? Do you have a chair that needs updating like this? It's so easy!

You can find affordable chairs in so many places and I highly recommend auctions. They can be a little intimidating at first, but they're pretty easy once you know the basics. You can read about my auction adventures and tips for auctions here!

A note on cleaning the chair - I used stain remover and diluted laundry detergent to lift the stains. It took several sessions of spraying it with stain remover, but it finally looked fresh and new!

Thanks for reading and please check me out on OwlReally.com!



  1. wow! what a difference and i can honestly say i never would have thought to do that!

  2. What a brilliant way to update a chair. And what a pretty flowered throw pillow, too!

  3. That's so great! I'll look at old chairs a little differently now!

  4. Great tutorial! I've always wanted to learn how to upholster furniture. Last week, I started off small...and upholstered a wood board I had kicking around in a pretty floral. Baby steps, right?!

  5. It seems so obvious a fix...but I'd never think so! Thanks for the idea and the diy in case I get the chance.

  6. I'm amazed at the difference it made removing that skirt! Great job Jamie!

  7. That makes a HUGE difference! I'll have to remember that trick. It really does look a lot cuter without the skirt.


Thanks so much for stopping by, I love reading all your comments! If you have a specific question, please email me at lhume1@mts.net. XO Lenore