Saving Sad Chairs, One at A Time

My heart breaks for sad, forgotten furniture.

Every 1st week of the month, the alleys of Santa Monica are chalk full of forgotten treasures. People move out, get lazy, and discard some really great stuff in the alley or on the sidewalk because they don’t have time for a garage sale or a good will drop-off. In most cases, part of the item is damaged but there are parts that can be reused or re-imagined to serve a different purpose! Other times, the item is just a little dirty and needs some TLC. Their loss? My gain! My favorite sidewalk find to this day is my golden wicker wing chair – it was dusty and dirty but otherwise in perfect condition. The wicker is even 100% in tact! I came to the conclusion that maybe someone died in it, but shrugged it off and now it’s one of Moby’s favorite cuddle spots. If a spirit is in the chair, then I think he or she is kind and obviously likes cats. We can share.

Unfortunately our apartment has gotten to the point where we can’t take in any more furniture fosters. Maybe one day I’ll have my own garage where I can properly restore and reupholster furniture…but until then, I’ll continue to pawn off these projects to my sister and friends.

A few months ago we came home to this gem sitting next to the trash can in our alley.

Chair - Before

We were coming in from the airport with Jackie’s parents (who got to witness my weakness in person) and instead of helping everyone unload the car, I immediately went over to check out the bones of this chair. Who could toss this?! Similar styles  (like the Kennedy chair pictured below) run for $900+ at stores like West Elm and Room & Board and I knew it would be a relatively easy reupholster job, requiring little fabric. Even before I could convince my sister to take it, Jackie’s dad swooped it up and put it in her car. Yay!

It took us a few more months to actually get the job done, but it honestly was as easy as I anticipated! I told Nats to keep all of the original fabric pieces in tact so that we could use them as templates and she stained the wooden sides herself. For this project, I wanted to see if I could pull off cording and I totally did! I think it finishes off the edges nicely. If we were to do it again (and the beauty of it is we can!), we’d purchase some new padding since it’s a little lumpy but at least now she doesn’t have a stained, yellowing vinyl chair sitting in her living room.


New chair for $30 and a fun evening with a staple gun, cheese and my sister. About $870 saved. It’s simple.

Inspired by this post and want to spruce up some of your furniture? Breanna Rose shared this awesome Etsy shop that creates custom legs for Ikea furniture! For just $30, you can easily customize an ‘ol Karlstad sofa! Gawd, I love the internet.


One thought on “Saving Sad Chairs, One at A Time

  1. Pingback: How To Salvage An Alley Chair: Step 1- 5, Have a Crafty Sister | sweats & the city

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