Monday, July 30, 2012

Cane Back Chairs: Before and After

A few weeks ago I brought two of these caned back chairs home from my local Habitat for Humanity store. They were free so it made them even more appealing! I only grabbed two of the four... I'm still kicking myself for not getting all of them. You live and you learn! I found this picture in House Beautiful and used as inspiration for the painted finish but with different colors.

Here are the chairs before.. I also picked up that shelf for a few dollars to keep some of my paint and fabric supplies on in my work space. (Can you see the cat in the window?) The cane was loose and had holes in some spots so I removed it.

I used milk paint in the color slate for the base color. It looks dark when you mix it, but it dries to a lighter shade of blue. Once the base coat dried I dry brushed the color buttermilk over that. I sanded and distressed the chairs,and used a clear and dark wax to add some depth to the finish. I upholstered the chairs in a cotton canvas and made slip covers for the seats. Here's the after...

I loved the way they turned out and probably would have kept them if I would of brought all four of the chairs home with me! Lesson learned.. they sold fast at the antique fair and I'm so happy they found a good home.


sharing at:


  1. Hmm.. I have some VERY similar chairs that I wanted to replace the cane back with fabric.. did you remove the cane or just upholser right over it? Just trying to figure out the easiest & quickest way to accomplish this! Thanks so much... these are GORGEOUS I can only hope mine turn out as nice... - Susan

  2. I use a super sharp utility knife to cut the cane out. Usually there is a "lip" that the cane it attached to, get as close to the lip as possible. And then I just upholster it. I use a strip of upholstery webbing for support across the back and add batting for some cushion.

  3. those chairs are absolutely stunning I'm looking forward for a tutorial of yours....of any kind !!! :-D
    hugs from Italy.

  4. Gorgeousness!!! Love the finish you achieved, and the ribbon is just so sweet.

  5. These turned out beautiful!!!

  6. Absolutely perfect! Thank you for sharing. Visiting from Coastal Charm. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you at the bash. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  7. These are terrific! Would love to see the "how to"... especially the upholstering! Great job!

  8. Oh, I love them! Such a nice, fresh transformation.

  9. I love them! Love the finish and the slip covers. Please come by and share them at Totally Transformed Tuesday? Hope to see you there. :-) Peggy

  10. Oh it's one of my dreams to do an upholstery course and transform such treasures as these! SO glad that I discovered your blog - it's SO inspiring!
    Best wishes from England,
    Paula x

  11. These chairs are so pretty. You are so good.

  12. what a beautiful chair! such a fab job!

  13. Your chairs turned out beautifully! They would have been hard for me to part with.
    Happy to be a new follower and hope you'll stop by, Mary Alice

  14. Hi, I am a new follower from Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday....hope you will come on over to see me at
    The Painted Pear,

  15. Beautiful! Love the color and the cotton. Perfection!

  16. Oh,these are just the most beautiful chairs! YOu really took these ugly duckling chair and turned them into swans! White and with gorgeous slipcovers!
    Your project would be perfect to share at TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBITS, my new weekly linky party! It is live every Wednesday evening at 8:00. Come on over and join in!
    I am a new follower!

  17. Beautiful job Ashley!!! Absolutely love it :)

  18. Very charming!!! Thank you for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday!

  19. Hi-just wanted you to know I featured your beautiful chair transformation on my blog today-Have a lovely weekend!

  20. Hi.. I just bought some like these!! (no slipcovers though) but I love how you did it!! but mr. thinks I paid too much.. :( How much did you sell them for??
    I don't have a blog acct but you are bookmarked! :)

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