My husband and I bought this 1950’s dinette set at Goodwill a few years ago for real cheap (around $15 total). They were all in decent shape, and really just needed a bit of a makeover. When I googled the company who made them (Vintage House Dinettes) and discovered that a set like this is selling for a few hundred dollars on eBay, I knew I had to see if I could upgrade them myself.
Skill level: Anybody with some time and a little gumption can make it happen.
Time commitment estimate: An afternoon, a whole weekend or spread it out over a couple of weekends (depending on the details of your project).
Here are the supplies I used:
1. Hand Sander – I used this to smooth out the table top before painting.
2. Spray paint – I used an indoor/outdoor glossy spray paint that I picked up from Lowe’s.
3. Steel Wool – I used this super fine steel wool to get some of the rust and blemishes off the table and chair legs.
4. Vinyl – I got my faux leather upholstery fabric from Joann’s, but here’s an example that can be bought from Amazon. Basically just a sturdy vinyl (faux leather) indoor/outdoor fabric will work.
5. Batting – The padding on the chairs was basically nonexistent after years of use, so I used this low loft batting to make them more comfortable.
6. Staple Gun – I used a staple gun to hold the batting and vinyl to the chair frame. I would recommend an electric one like this, since the angles I had to get at would have been difficult with a standard non-electric staple gun.
7. Upholstery tacks – There are a ton of different options – silver, black, small, large, etc. I went with silver to match the table legs, but do what feels right. Check out some options here.
8. Space heater – This is probably optional, but it helped get the vinyl soft enough to mold around the chair frame.
To start with I removed the table top from the table base. I don’t have any photos of this process since I had no idea I’d be doing a blog post about it in the future, but basically I sanded the heck out of the wood table top and spray painted it with a high gloss spray paint. It took a few cans of the spray paint to cover the previous owner’s artwork, but those coats of spray paint are still going strong a few years later.
Then I took the chair apart as much as possible. It really depends on how your chair was put together, but for mine I had to completely unscrew the seat from the bottom frame before removing the vinyl. This is the seat before I removed the vinyl.
To get the new vinyl on the seat, I used the space heater to warm the vinyl up and stretched it as much as I could before stapling. I used a ton of staples and tried to make it look as smooth as possible. As you can see from the photo below, I really didn’t care what the underneath portion looked like.
For the back portion I left it attached to the chair frame (because I had to – there was no way to remove it) and just took off the vinyl and padding. The photos below show the top portion after I had used a staple gun to attach the new batting.
This next part depends on how the chair is constructed, but to get the vinyl on the back of the chair I sewed two pieces of vinyl together and stretched them over the chair backs. Then I covered the seams with upholstery tacks around the sides and top.
For the seam that’s underneath, I folded the edges evenly and closed the hole up with some upholstery tacks.