Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Knowing when to consult the professionals

Of course there is always a time to call in the professionals.

PreviewLet's take UPHOLSTERY. 

So you've painted that chair.  If it has a drop-in seat and doesn't require new padding, a relatively small amount of fabric will give your chair a new lease of life. 

Just choose your fabric, going practical for a reguarly used seat - dark colours or patterned to hide spills. Make sure you choose a fabric of reasonable weight, avoiding flimsy fabric which will easily wear.  If it is a small seat but you crave a pattern make sure the scale suits the seat, so carry your measurements round in a notebook for when you happen to stumble across the perfect remnant (you never know).

Once you have the fabric, arm yourself with some space and a staple gun.  Place the seat face side down onto the back of the fabric. Fold one side over to the back and staple using a handy staple gun, leaving about an inch/ 2.5 cm between staples.  Note to self - do not leave the staple gun around near children and for goodness sake make sure it is facing the right way!  These things are vicious in the wrong hands!  You will need to press down hard to drive each staple firmly in. 

Pull each side of fabric up in turn making sure it is pulled flat (but not over-stretched), stapling as you go.

Now for the corners: putting a finger on the corner, pull the fabric back so it forms an inverted V and staple in place on each side. 

Turn seat over, put back in the frame and voila! Stand back and admire!  

Fabric examples courtesy of:   GP & J Baker, Jane Churchill, Jab
Try gingham for a kitchen seat

Beware larger checks which can be infuriatingly hard to get straight

What about some spotty oilcloth to finish off a kitchen seat and provide a wipeable, practical solution - cute as a button
Stripes look smart and formal on dining room chairs
Go bright for a splash of accent colour on an occasional chair with scatter cushions to match around the room on sofas/chairs
Centre a larger pattern to provide interest
Textures work too but make sure there are no loose ends to catch and pull

White painted chair plus Toile fabric for seat - tres jolie

If we are talking upholstery upholstery; that is, taking an armchair for instance back to it's bare frame, repairing the frame, padding it back out with horsehair whilst also re-springing etc etc then ask a professional! 

It is often not the cheapest option but it is well worth saving up to give an old chair you love some tlc because old chairs - be they Victorian, Edwardian or 1950s - are built to last....they have GOOD BONES. 

What you will end up with is a thing of beauty and comfort that is unique to you.

What's not to love.

Floral reupholstered antique chair                                                                  

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