Monday, February 24, 2014

Ten Ways to make a “Granny Chair” Look Hip

I was at a client’s home last week and she had a very “granny looking” victorian chair,  a family heirloom, that she wished to update.  Her home is an old world Italianesque home with lovely antiques and furnishings. She surprised me by choosing this fun tangerine very now looking trellis pattern for the chair.  She asked me what I thought and I said absolutely! That chair covered in a heavy fabric of the period would look dated and uninteresting. When I received notice from Fabricut of a new line by World-renowned Belgian artist and sculptor, Isabelle de Borchgrave , it got me thinking about statement chairs.
IdB Fabrics
Using these types of fabrics  can bring new life to an antique chair.  It is similar to going gray. You need to dress a little more fashionably (maybe even a little edgy).  If you have bleached blond hair,  too much plastic surgery and  wear a motorcycle jacket you look hard.  If your hair is gray, you still have your figure, and wear a motorcycle jacket you look hip.
edgy this is the exact haircut and color that i have wanted for years. i want IT NOW!
Here are some examples of how a granny chair can look FABULOUS!!
Vintage corner chair via One Kings Lane upholstered in Peter Dunham’s Kashmir Paisley (one of my all time favs)

interesting chair in one of my favorite fabrics from Peter Dunham

Imagine this lovely chair with a simple period fabric…not nearly as fun!

French Chair Painted Distressed Green: The lightweight linen and subtle tonal shifts of Delave make a bold statement when offset by 9" wide cream stripes
via twill textiles

The combination of floral and stripes on this chair make it anything but granny
I adore the bright, graphic nature of this upholstery. A perfect update to an antique chair.
A little more tame but just as much fun…
Reupholstered chair with European Licence Plates Tapestry- i would love to make a version of this for my boys' room.
via chairybombs on etsy
This chair at a desk in a teenage girls room would be fabulous.
new twist on an antique chair...Big Pink Polka Dots
This would make a fun office chair in an otherwise tame environ
Yellow And Charcoal Chevron French Provincial Side Chair By Upcycled Home - eclectic - chairs - Etsy
via etsy
What could be better than a group of chairs recovered in a John Robshaw fabric? Do you love his fabrics as much as I?
Chairs recovered in John Robshaw textiles
My client had this little french style chair upholstered in a drab fabric (sorry no before photos).  I suggested a gray wash to lighten it up and my client did it herself.  We had it upholstered it in Tanzania  from Fabricut (no longer available).
Here is a company called chairloom that takes Ebay & Craiglist finds and turns them into FABULOUS!!
Our client purchased this fantastic mid-century bergere armchair from our furniture inventory and selected Maxwell Fabrics's Gig Harbour in Oyster and Charcoal for the redo. We sanded the frame down to the natural wood and finished it with linseed oil.
via chairloom
I have seen chairs similar to this in second hand stores and I always imagine them in a haunted house.  This animal skin takes it from goth to fun love the combination of hide & dark wood
via 1st dibs
Do you have a vintage chair in your home that you have refurbished in a unique way? I would love to hear about them.


  1. Oh yes Cindy! I have a pair now in my guest room and in the basement!!!! Love all the examples and your absolutely right, taking out a chair from it's granny phase needs more oomph and pizzaz!!! Can't wait to see what the chair will look like with that fabric! And thanks for the info on chairloom, will be checking it out for sure!

  2. Keep it sassy, Cindy! Keep it sassy!! Love your client's armchair. It's ready for that cocktail party :) Stay fabulous, Loi

  3. Love the collection of John Robshaw! post.

  4. I'm a chair fanatic and yes, I go very unconventional in their upholstery!! Life is short, keep it happy and fun!! xo

  5. This is soooo inspiring. I have to find some dining chair fabric update a look. Thanks.

  6. LOVE the juxtaposition of antique with a fun modern fabric!

  7. I love mixing up chairs with classic lines with an unexpected fabric! You'll have to share the "after" of your client's chair!

  8. Love these! I think, at this point, everything I have is either antique or plenty to choose from.

  9. i adore this idea. many moons ago in nyc, when i was still with fs schumacher...
    we did an entire brownstone (show house) on east 72 and madison.
    it was to feature a new line of contemporary fabrics.
    we upholstered all the antique furniture in these new hip fabrics,
    and well, the results were fabulous....
    just as you have shown here.

  10. Wow - gorgeous!!!!!! thanksfor posting.

  11. The gorgeous floral chair is from the website that sells the fabric.

  12. Cindy, I did the exact same thing with one of these little Granny chairs. I used bold navy and white stripes ... love the results.
    xo, lissy

    1. Lissy send me a pic! I would love to do a follow up post on reader's "granny chairs"

  13. Love these! I'm working on my first reupholstery piece right now - an antique chair for my living room! Got all the old fabric off and have ordered my new fabric (black and white morrocan/lattice print) and will be painting the wood a yellowish/gold. I'm so excited to get to the finished product.

  14. These are fantastic. Love the Peter Dunham and Robshaw patterns!

  15. Fun the look of mod fabric on a granny fabric...

  16. bravo cindy, now i want to go on a granny chair hunt!

    and m a y b e let my hair go gray......have to lose a few pounds first :-) now i am off to visit the textile firm you mentioned

  17. I love vintage chairs and we have one which a local company recovered for us in a striped neutral fabric. In fact this is the second time we have changed the fabric and each time it's as if we have bought a new chair! The granny chairs you featured are wonderful and there are so many fabulous fabrics. I esecially like the mix of florals and stripes. Great post!

  18. Wow, this is a super post! So much to love. I have a few wing back chairs I would love to do this to. Great ideas Cindy. Never underestimate what a granny chair could be!!
    xx Kim

  19. I love old chairs and a have a few that were my 'grannie's'! Cleaned up and fab fabric, the ole girls look pretty good!

  20. this gave me so many ideas - i love that granny chair in that fabric and the next chair too!!!! love this post!


Please leave a comment! Your comments are what make a great post!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...