Blue Velvet Reupholstered Louis XV Chair

August 21, 2008

My mother-in-law recently gave me this ugly, old Louis XV chair. I’ve been wanting to do an upholstery project. I looked for ideas on Apartment Therapy, which is an incredible resource. I decided to go with blue velvet.

Here’s the before picture:

Here’s the finished project:

Here’s how to do it:

Remove all of the brads using a tack lifter. Make sure to keep your hands behind the tack lifter, because its really sharp. Then remove all the staples. Removed the fabric off piece by piece. Take pictures and keep a log. It will help you remember how everything went.

Next start stripping the varnish off. Varnish Stripper is caustic, you don’t want any of it touching your skin. Spray it on, let it sit for a while and do its magic. When you notice the paint starting to peel away, then start scrubbing with a strong bristle brush. Once you’ve gotten down to the raw wood, lightly sand it. Make sure you get the last bit of paint off. Once you’ve finished sanding, wipe off the dust. Paint on 2 layers of primer within a few minutes of eachother. Let it dry. Then 2 layers of paint. Let that dry for 24 hours.

Use the pieces of fabric that you removed off the chair as patterns for what you will be cutting out. I used a compressed air stapler to staple the fabric onto the frame of the chair. Smooth out the piece of fabric across all the corners it will reach and staple at each corner, so you don’t end up short. Once all piece of fabric are stapled onto the frame, then you can start hammering in your brads.

Voila!!! Beautiful reupholstered chair. Like new again!



  1. Did you reupholster the back of the chair too?
    If so, how did you do the back?

  2. That’s the question that I have?!

  3. Yes, I did reupholster the back of the chair. This was 2.5 years ago, so I don’t recall exactly, but basically when you remove all of the tacks on the part of the chair that your back touches when you sit down, then that panel pops out.

    On my chair it was a stiff round piece of cardboard and each side was covered in fabric. Once you remove that panel from your chair remove the fabric and use that as the pattern for cutting out your new fabric.

    Then wrap your new fabric around the cardboard panel and staple the edges to the cardboard. The staples will be covered by the tacks, when you put the panel back in the chair.

    You might have to play around with it a little, it goes pretty fast.

  4. how on earth do you achieve the soft corners in front of the chair? Thx!

  5. Pamela-
    A lot of achieving those corners is the way you cut the fabric, if you use what was originally on the chair as the pattern…that should get you pretty close.

    I do recall making little folds in the fabric before stapling it down around the corners. You’ll probably need to play with the fabric and the stretch and weight of it. Let me know how your chair comes out!

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