Revived Antique Nautical Chair [before & after]

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It’s been a while since I’ve completed an upholstered chair flip, mostly because the upholstery work can be so time consuming, but the end results are by far the most rewarding!  Well, I just couldn’t resist transforming my latest thrift shop find, which had the most beautifully unique scroll details.  I knew the intense detail work on this chair would be a bit of a challenge to paint over, but it was no problem with a little chalky finish paint!  This DRAMATIC Nautical Chair Flip turned out to be one of my all time favorite transformations to date, I think you’ll see why =)

before and after chalk paint chair

Revived Antique Nautical Chair [before & after]


  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint, in Everlasting
  • Americana Wood Glue
  • two yards fabric (by Robert Allen for Dwell Studios)
  • 8 yard cording (for double welt piping)
  • hot glue
  • staple gun
  • sewing machine (for piping)


First things first, I stripped the chair down to its bones.  This means decades of worn out fabric and hundreds of staples!  Luckily, I tempted my good friend Jen (with wine of course) to help me with this part =D

*Always, remember to try to keep the old fabric in good shape so that you can use it for your new upholstery.

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Next, I moved on to fixing up some lose joints on the chair.  It’s always important to make sure your chair is structurally sounds before reviving it, after all, what good is a beautiful chair that you can’t sit in?!  So I used some wood glue in some of the joints where the chair had loosened up over the years.  I (reluctantly, because I have no patience!) waited 3 hours for the glue to harden before moving onto the next step.

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After the glue was dry, it was time to paint my chair!  I used Americana’s chalky finish paint for this piece, which is a lot of fun to work with.  In working with so many different types of chalk paint, I’ve found positive points in all of them.  This paint seems to adhere sort of like a hybrid, a cross between chalk paint and acrylic paint.  I enjoy working with it when I’m looking for a smooth, solid finish, as opposed to a more weathered & distressed look =)

As expected, because of all the detail work, I ended up applying three coats of paint to this chair, waiting an hour between coats.

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While the paint was drying, I started working on the new upholstery.  As always, I used the chair’s old fabric as a template to cut the pieces for it’s new upholstery.  It’s important to leave a little extra space around the old templates when cutting your new pieces, this will allow some room for any error =)

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Once my new pieces were cut, I stretched them onto the chair, then tacked them in place using my staple gun.  Click here, for my step by step tutorial on how to upholster a chair.

After the upholstery was applied, I decided to trim the entire chair with double welt piping.  Double welt piping is my favorite type of trim for upholstery, its so classic & timeless looking.  Click here, for my step by step tutorial on how to make double welt piping.

The double welt piping was the perfect finishing touch!  Now THIS, my friends, is why I do what I do…talk about a dramatic transformation!  What was a poor, helpless chair will now be LOVED for decades to come!

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WOO WHOO, check out those bones!!

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Now you see what I was saying about the smoother, less distressed-looking finish…

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OH, I almost forgot to show you the back!  As if it could get any better?!  revived-vintage-nautical- chair

Enjoyed this transformation? Find more of our antique chair transformations here!

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