Wingback chair makeover -(with wall decor) by OhEverythingHandmade
Wingback chair makeover (sideview) by OhEverythingHandmade

Farmhouse Style Wingback Chair Makeover

Have you ever had a project that intimidated you, and made you all squeezy? My today’s Farmhouse Style Wingback Chair Makeover project was one of those! When I bought the chair a few years ago, I had no vision on how to upholster it, but I figured that it would come together once I would brainstorm and look for inspiration.

Then, right before we moved overseas, I had to make the decision to let the chair go or take it with me and upholster the chair while stationed across the pacific. Crazy me, couldn’t let the $40 dollar chair go, so I had to promise my husband that I would work on it.

This chair was gross and old, we only sat in it while it was covered in blankets. So, after almost one year overseas I started looking for inspiration, fabric, and material that I was able to ship out here (not surprised that there aren’t many companies who ship foam to military installations).

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Before and After

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Wingback chair makeover (horizontal view) by OhEverythingHandmade

The Farmhouse Style Wingback Chair Makeover was inspired by a lot of different things, I wrote a previous post about that here. But the main reason I went with a neutral colored fabric was so I could incorporate the chair in any room. I choose a fabric with color that had a whimsical pattern on the side and the back so I can use the chair as an accent chair as well. I love simple, but I like to keep it interesting and bring a little bit of color into my designs.
Wingback chair makeover (horizontal view2) by OhEverythingHandmade

So, let me start with the list of items I used to create this makeover and after that, I will show you the steps my friend and I did for this tutorial.

Material used

Tools used


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Farmhouse Style Wingback Chair Makeover

Instructions

Remove all old fabric

Remove the old fabric, try to keep the pieces in one piece as you take them off. They will serve you as templates for your new fabric.

Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade- Before

Cut the fabric to fit the chair

Lay all pieces out and use the old fabric as templates, when cutting the fabric give yourself a little extra wiggle room. I added about 1″ extra to each cut!

We also sew along the edges to avoid fraying.

Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - cutting the fabric

Attach fabric to the chairs seating area

I left the batting that covered the metal Upholstery Back Springs as is and added a piece of foam to the front since the old piece was torn and looked nasty. A leftover piece of mattress foam topper from our Headboard Project was perfect for this!

The crucial part was the side, there are numerous ways to attach the fabric and foam. I stapled the sides and added the foam after (see 3rd image, below).

In the last image you can see there is no foam, I wrapped the foam around the corner and stapled the foam along the top (while tucking the overlapping fabric in).

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Attaching the bottom process

Cover the armrest in three easy steps!

Next, make some cording/piping. Here is a great video on how to make piping or cording. I didn’t measure how much cording I used but most of my scrap pieces were used to make it.

My First step on the armrest was to pull back the foam. Then I stapled each layer on, the cording needs to be cut so you can wrap it around.

Once the front and cording pieces are stapled on, the fabric piece for the armrest is laid upside down and stapled in place with cardboard tack strips (using these strips is very important to make the chair last and gives your project a pro finished look).

To complete the armrest, fold the foam back over and pull back the fabric, staple everything in place at the bottom and the side (try to keep the fabric as tight as possible).

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Attaching the Armrest

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Attaching the Armrest on the side

Make a slip-on headrest cover

Sewing the headrest wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, I used once again the old fabric as my template which helped tremendously.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Attaching the headrest

Attach the side fabric

The side was a little harder to figure out since Mr. Johnson had taken most of the old fabric off for me. But after trying a few different ways I got it all laying nicely. I stapled the headrest on first and the bottom piece overlapping it. Tack strips helped to achieve a crisp line.


As you can see there are plenty of boards underneath the chair where all the fabric can be stapled to.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Attaching the fabric

When I attached the side piece, I used an Upholstery Tacking Strip to keep everything stretched and in place.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Attaching the armrest1

The back cushion

For the back cushion, I used a high-density foam which is durable and suitable for long-term use. However, because this foam is so dense I had to shave off 45˚ along each edge, in order to be able to fold the foam over the backboard, on the bottom and the sides. I used a thin fleece-like batting to cover the back, and a thicker batting to cover the front.
Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Foam backing

Attach the back cushion

Folding the foam over and attaching it to the backside of the chair was tricky, but cutting off 45˚ along the edges from the backside of the foam really helped.

Once the foam was stapled in place I flipped the fabric over, folded the fabric in three places and stapled it with cardboard tack strip to the back.

Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - attaching the batting

Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - attaching the backing

Tuft the back cushion

Tufting the back cushion is super simple even without a piece of wood to staple the twine onto. I have done it before with my Ikea Karlstad Sofa Cushions Hack.

You need to make the double amount of buttons since you need buttons for the front and the back. Use this Dritz kit to make them at home with leftover fabric.

Making buttons by OEH

First, measure the front cushion and find the center, once the center is marked with a pin you can work with a measurement tape and pin as you go or cut a cardboard triangle in the size you need the buttons to be apart from each other. Lay the cardboard onto the cushion and pin each corner, repeat until you have your desired tufted look.

Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - prep. for tufting

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Applying the buttons

To apply the buttons, I used a fairly long piece of twine (about 30″, you can try less or more) and a 8″ or 10″ upholstery needle. Slip the twine on the needle, the button and the other end of the twine goes through as well. I made a knot right underneath the button’s metal loop to keep the button in place without tying the ends.

From the front, pull a pin out and insert the upholstery needle with twine and button attached. Push the needle through the cushion, go to the back of the chair and pull the needle all the way out. Pull two of the four strings, you should be able to pull the ends out. Take the needle off and add another button (see image below).

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Tying the buttons

Slip the button onto the twine in a cross pattern, this way the button won’t slip off as easy before you tie the knots. Have a helping hand push the front button in, this way you will achieve that tufted look. I also recommend 3-4 knots per button once done!

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Before and after tufting

Cover the chairs backside

When I cut the fabric for the chair’s backside, I didn’t incorporate enough fabric to arc from one side to the other. So, after I pinned the fabric on, I realized the only way for me to make it fit would be to sew two extra pieces onto the fabric to cover all parts of my chair. This little design mistake only happened because the foam was so thick that I had a little gap on each end.

I stapled the cording in place first, folded the edges in and sew them together. Then I pinned the fabric on next and added decorative nail heads. I did fold the fabric in one more time to hide the seam and to enforce the fabric.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - adding cording to the backing

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - adding the fabric and decorative nailheads to the backing

Add decorative nail head trim

I initially wanted to use the upholstery tack strip to attach the back, but with not enough wiggle room to attach the fabric. I ended up using the decorative nailhead trim. Once we go to the bottom we just secured the fabric with cardboard tack strips.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Finishing the backing

I also added nailhead trim to the front of the armrests, which gave the chair a great finished look.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Chair almost complete

Change out the Chair legs

Changing out the legs is not hard since all chairs already come with legs and predrilled holes. However, you may have to make adjustments since not all legs are the same.

I ordered 4x FURNITURE FEET QUEEN ANN LEGS on eBay and literally screamed out loud when Mr. Johnson walked into the house with the box in his hands. They came quickly and had everything you need for attachment (except the screws).

But since the legs were a little smaller, I had to reposition them and drill new holes. I also use the T- NUTS Screw Cups that came with the package.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - adding new chair legs

Make a seating cushion

For the seating, I used the same high-density foam I used on the back cushion. I measured the seating area on the chair and transferred the measurements to the foam. With a sharp knife, I cut the foam and covered it in a fleece fabric (you can also use the old cushion as a template).

I used yarn and needle to sew the seams shut.

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Cutting the foam and covering it in Batting

When I made the cushion this video help me to complete it in only one day!

Farmhouse Style Wingback chair makeover by OhEverythingHandmade - Cushion cover and foam

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, or share the tutorial with a friend if you think it will help. Thanks a lot for stopping by!

Wingback chair makeover -(with wall decor) by OhEverythingHandmade

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Wingback chair makeover (sideview) by OhEverythingHandmade

Wingback chair makeover (frontview) by OhEverythingHandmade

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10 Comments

  • Reply cassie @ primitive & proper July 28, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    what a change! it’s beautiful!

    • Reply Bettina Johnson July 28, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks, Cassie! It’s been fun to work on it. So glad you stopped by!

  • Reply Eszter August 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Amazing!!!! You make me try to find an old chair and do a makeover on it

    • Reply Bettina Johnson August 2, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      ha ha, its vicious isn’t it? Happens to me all the time, whenever I find something on the web that I really like. Chances are pretty high that I jump in the car on the hunt for something similar.

  • Reply Madison November 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    How long did this take you? It looks amazing!

    • Reply Bettina Johnson November 5, 2016 at 1:52 am

      Oh it took longer to start it! But once I had taken the old fabric off, it took me about 3-4week till complete.
      Glad you like it!

  • Reply Shauna November 7, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Wow, this turned out beautifully!

    • Reply Bettina Johnson November 8, 2016 at 3:34 am

      Thank you Shauna! One of my favorite pieces in the house.

  • Reply Eunice March 8, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Bettina!! Thank you so much for this amazing post! I just got a pair of wingback chairs that need a huge facelift and this is what I needed! I tried to calculate the estimated cost of everything with the list you provided but could you tell me approx how much fabric you used? Thank you again. Love your work!

    • Reply Bettina Johnson March 8, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Hi Eunice, so glad you stopped by. And to answer your question, I used about 6-7 yards of fabric for my chair.

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