It’s always interesting to restore old chairs, especially since you’ll be able to create a rather unique look and save some money in the process. In general, chair restoration and repair won’t take you a lot of time. But, keep in mind that you can always count on your Southampton handyman if you need professional help with fix-ups and furniture restoration.


What do you need?

First, of course, you will need the old chairs. You can use ones that you already have, stored and forgotten, or those that you use daily that still need a boost and/or a fix. They can be made of wood, metal or plastic. Take everything you have to your work area, to analyze the best possible solutions and ideas.

You will also need the following:

  • White glue (if they are wooden chairs) or contact adhesive (if they are metal or plastic)
  • Clamps
  • Nails without head
  • Hammer and suitable screws
  • Drill
  • Wood slats
  • Sandpaper
  • Waterproof seal or rust converter primer (for wood, plastics, and metals)
  • Acrylic paints (if made of wood) or synthetic aerosol or tin enamels (for metallic or plastic)
  • Enamel or latex varnish
  • Plastic or fiber tapes
  • Painter’s adhesive tape
  • Tassels
  • Flat cushions
  • Fabric scraps


First step – repair the old chairs

In order to restore old chairs properly, you need to improve their structure first, allowing for the most functional use. Check whether the chairs stand properly, or if they move when you sit on them. If possible, detach different chair parts, sand them, and glue them back again, holding them with tapes or clamps to allow the adhesive to seal properly.

If the legs of the chair aren’t connected with each other and you think that it would be good for you to have more resistance, join two legs straight or diagonally with a wooden slat and maybe even a decorative element that has more strength. This will prevent the legs from separating when someone sits on them.

In case you notice that the backrest is somewhat weak, deal with this by fastening (adhering, screwing) slats that strengthen the frame of the chair, on the back. If the legs are too thin, use four plastic bumpers of the appropriate size to hold them better.


How to restore old chairs in style

When it comes to wooden chairs, you should sand them first to remove paint and dirt. Then apply a layer of the waterproof seal and paint to your liking with latex or acrylic paint. In case the chairs are metallic or plastic, you can use the sanding technique to create a mordant surface, and then paint with synthetic enamel, or spray. In both cases, you can apply varnish to protect the surface effectively.

To beautify your chair, try replacing the fabric with a new one or use the strips in a basketry technique. You can also wrap colorful threads and wool, fixing them with contact adhesive, around the legs and backrest frames.

Another way to restore old chairs is to change the panels with slats, place new cushions and maybe even play with different decoupage options to style things up a bit. If the chairs are full-on fabric, thorough reupholstering may be in order.


If you need help to repair or restore old chairs, or any other furniture pieces, you can always count on your local Southampton handyman and ifixit. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have some home repairs, renovations, and maintenance in mind.

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