Party Pretty Folding Chairs

Some of you may have seen this post a while back over at Whipperberry, but I wanted to share it here just in case you missed it, because this one goes into my top five favorite projects EVER!  You know those ugly, run of the mill folding chairs? If you live in Utah, I know you’ve seen them, because every house has them for our big ‘ole family parties ;) Well, today I’m going to show you how to give them a beautiful facelift. You won’t even believe they are the same chairs.
What started as ugly, basic folding chairs got a beautiful makeover with just a little fabric and spray paint. How to at

I love to host parties and gatherings at my house–one of my husband’s favorite things about me (picking up the sarcasm?), and I was tired of my borrowed, fugly folding chairs always raining on my pretty party parade.  So this past year, when the parentals asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told them, without skipping a beat: FOLDING CHAIRS! You can imagine the parents’ joy when they granted my Christmas wish and I immediately said, “Oh, I’m so excited! I can’t wait to paint these and recover them.” Queue collective, “Aww, no, don’t do that…they’re perfectly good and new…wait until they’re at least beat up a little….”  Seriously people, when are you going to learn to trust me?!  I know I’m crazy, but a little faith here!

Anyway, I had like a nanosecond of guilt about going against the wishes of the gift-givers, but seriously, these girls were not going to come uglify (it’s my blog, I get to make up words) my parties.

So here’s the Extreme Makeover – Folding Chair Edition, How To:

I originally set out to do some vintage florals, but plaids have stolen my heart in a BIG way lately–for some reason whenever I say this, I hear Tim Gunn in my head talking about menswear.  I have big plaid plans around my house, but that whole procrastination/laziness thing keeps getting the better of me.  Anyway, I was at Walmart, of all places one day, and found the blue and pink plaid (on the right) in their remnant bin for like $2.00 and knew EXACTLY the direction these chairs were going.  The gold, polka dot burlap was not in the original plan, but when you find GOLD, POLKA DOT BURLAP (at Joann’s), you USE IT! ANYWHERE you can.  I may need meetings for this burlap addiction because it is quickly appearing all over my house and I can not get enough.

What started as ugly, basic folding chairs got a beautiful makeover with just a little fabric and spray paint. How to at

You’ll need:
Spray paint (about one can for each chair)
Fabric (less than 1/2 yard for each chair)
Staple gun.  These can be purchased for about $10 just about anywhere that sells basic tools and believe me, it’s the tool you never knew you needed.  You’ll find 10,001 uses for it!
(4) 1″ screws for each chair

Start by removing the pads from the chair.  On my chairs, the ones on the back just came off by unscrewing three little screws.

The seat cushion was attached with some type of plastic screws so I just clipped the ends off with wire cutters (just something will cut through thick plastic).  DON’T TRY TO PULL THEM OUT.  They have a flat head that’s attached to the wood under the padding and you’ll just rip a hole through the seat–learned that one the hard way.

Then spray paint the chairs.  I used Valspar Brushed Rose and Mellow Spring from Lowe’s.  While the paint is drying, you can upholster your cushions.

Just lay the cushion on the fabric, cut a piece of fabric big enough to pull around it, and staple it down right over the top of the existing fabric.  Make sure to keep it pulled tight, and if you’re using a fabric with a pattern, keep flipping the cushion over as you go to make sure you’re keeping the pattern straight.

Trim the excess fabric and reattach the cushions.  To attach the seat cushions, just drill a new screw up through where the the old plastic screw used to be.

And there you have it!  Pretty, party-ready chairs! And when they’re this easy, you can change the fabric for every party if you want!

Transform your ugly folding chairs using spray paint and fabric |


  1. says

    This is the cutest DIY! You have me thinking long and hard about folding chairs & my crazy judgmental attitude toward them. Maybe, just maybe, they are the spare chairs I need! Great post (and I love that I’ve found your blog. bookmarked!)

  2. Heather J. says

    I was inspired to do this the second I read this pin! I literally ran to the store, got everything I needed and came in and completed them the same day! Such a cute idea and it didn’t even take that long! Thanks!!

  3. Anonymous says

    Awesome idea! I have some old folding chairs and this inspired me to refinish them. Thank you for sharing.

  4. says

    If you have the open back type, just use another piece of the cloth or a solid piece cut just a little larger and fabric glue or hot glue it to make a backing then trim the excess once it’s dried.

  5. Danielle Thomas says

    This is exactly what I want to do with my folding chairs but they don’t have the cushions on them. Any ideas on how I can do this on metal folding chairs without cushions?

    • says

      Ooo, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure, but I’ve seen the cushion-less ones just spray painted in different, pretty colors and they’re beautiful! You could just paint them in soft pastels maybe? Or stencil a pattern on the seat?

  6. says

    I followed your tutorial to transform one of my folding chairs, just like yours and love it! But I ran into a problem re-attaching the seat cushion. In this tutorial, you direct us to just screw a 1 inch screw in where those plastic ones were. I’m thinking 1″ would probably be too long of a screw so I got shorter ones, but then I tried screwing them in and can’t keep a hold on the cushion. Does that make sense? Help!

    • says

      It makes total sense. I know that on some of the chairs the seat is made out of fairly flimsy particle board, so it may help to put some wood filler in the hole, let it dry and then put the screws in so that it creates a new place for them to thread–if that makes sense.

  7. Kristin says

    Hi! I snipped the plastic screws and got the bottom cushion off but the plastic screw is still in the holes. How do you get them entirely out???

  8. says

    Thank you for this tutorial! I’m not very DIY, but I have two very old folding chairs & figured if I ruined them, it was ok. They have turned out very nicely! (And I only hurt myself once!)


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