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dining room table light blue chippendale chairs east hampton
AM’s dining room table and 8 light blue chippendale chairs in East Hampton (above)

A few weekend’s back I was visiting my best of friend AM and her hubby JE in the tony town of East Hampton for the long holiday weekend.

Within about 5 hours of me arriving on the morning of the 4th of July at their new home there, AM announced “You and I have  a project to do.  We are going to recover the seats of all of the dining room chairs.”  I looked at AM confused and dazed…this was the same woman who once told me, “I don’t DIY” in response to me pointing out a possible “do it yourself” project involving some cement tiles.  In this instance, AM had a clear resolve on her face…I’ve seen that look before…if AM says something is going to happen…it is going to happen! AM’s husband overheard her making the proclamation about us taking on a DIY project and encouragingly smiled.  I told AM I had never upholstered a dining chair seat cushion…she said she hadn’t either.  I sat with that for a moment but then I reckoned if other people could figure out how to do this type of project…so could she and I!

The good news was that we were not planning on totally rebuilding the seat cushions and using batting and foam etc…our project merely involve giving AM’s lovely light blue Chippendale chair seats a minor cosmetic facelift.

Uh the bad news was that neither AM nor I had used a staple gun before…EVER.  After an “I Love Lucy” 15 minutes of the two of us studying the directions and loading the staple gun incorrectly at least 5 times.  I finally closed my eyes and had an epiphany on where the staples were supposed to go and then I quickly became the resident expert on loading the gun.  (P.S.  I had to remind AM on staple gun safety a few times as she was waving the gun around while chit chatting…I even ran out of the room a few times in fear for my life…after a bit of admonishing and me screaming bloody murder, AM got her staple gun safety under control quite quickly too.)

So with our tools in hand, fabric in place and after watching one guy on YouTube reupholster some dining room seat cushions, we were off and running (I would like to point out that AM refused to watch the YouTube guy…I watched him and kept saying “Well the guy didn’t do it that way…well the guy just cut off all of the fabric….well the guy….”)!

dining room chairs before being reupholstered
Before –  The seats of AM’s chippendale dining chairs were covered in a solid color neutral linen (above)
Chiang Mai Dragon fabric from Schumacher China Blue on seat cushion
GOAL –  was to cover every dining room chair cushion in this blue very famous Schumacher fabric named Chiang Mai Dragon! (above)

STEP 1 – GATHER YOUR TOOLS – A staple gun, scissors, a screw driver, measuring tape, a hammer and some screws is all we needed.

tools staple gun scissors screw driver measuring tape

STEP 2 – POP OUT SEATS – It was my job to flip over every chair and unscrew anywhere from 4-6 screws to allow us to pop out the seat cushions.

STEP 3 – MEASURE YOUR FABRIC – We had just 2 yards of fabric of this very beautiful expensive linen Chiang Mai Dragon print fabric in blue (fabric is about $200 per yard so measuring accurately was key).  So after testing out one chair seat, AM carefully measured out how much fabric we would need for each seat.  We basically allowed for about 3 inches of fabric


STEP 5 – STAPLE FABRIC – We had a learning curve on using the staple gun here…but after chair 2 we got down our processes.  Because the linen was snagging a little, we made sure to create a hem of sorts with the fabric and then stapled along the edge of the fold.  Corners were tricky but we figured out a system of folding fabric and stapling so it was as flat as possible.  AM took the lead on the stapling.

STEP 6 – CUT THE CORNERS – Was my job to cut the excess fabric off the corner

STEP 7 – SCREW SEAT CUSHIONS BACK – I was pretty efficient with my screwing…so after we finished stapling (AM was better than me with the staple gun admittedly), I screed all seat cushions back into their respective chairs.  Had to be careful though…in a few instances, the very sharp wood screws was causing the fabric to pull so I just loosened the screw so that we wouldn’t have a run in the fabric.


Light blue Chippendale dining chair light blue Chiang Mai Dragon fabric upholstered seat cushion

In the end, it was quite fun.  Great time for me and best of friend AM to catch up.  During the process, AM’s husband stopped in to cheer us on (he is very nice), her little son and daughter passed by a few times a little perplexed to see Coco and their mom furiously at work on a DIY project, we turned on Scandal on NetFlix and between cutting, screwing, stapling wondered what would happen with Olivia and the President, we talked, we laughed, we took a break to style her outdoor area…it was so much fun and even a little therapeutic.

Later that evening, AM’s friends came over for dinner and we were able to show off our work.  Very gratifying…and now AM’s East Hampton dining room chairs look wonderful!

Can’t wait to go back for another summer dinner party!

Happy Monday!


P.S.  Happy Bastille Day!  My mom is in Paris with my aunt LB.  Hope you are having a great Bastille Day!

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Photos: All photos in this post by Coco of COCOCOZY

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  1. Looks like you and AM had fun while doing a fantastic job on these chairs. What a gorgeous room! Any idea where she purchased the rug? I appreciate the source so much if you know it. It looks so nice!

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