Rescued From the Trash

chair after
Can you believe what people throw away? Completely sound, functioning furniture just in need of a little tlc!

Several years ago when we lived in Florida, I found two chairs waiting in a trash pile for pick up one day.  It was my very first 'dumpster dive'.  I was so excited, I had to remind myself to breathe!!

I hopped out, loaded them up and raced home.

Eager to begin work on them, I pulled them out for closer inspection.  They were GROSS. Bad paint job with bad paint. Lots of drips and globs. And sticky. And the seat cushions?  Eeeek! Someone had taken a can of lime green spray paint to the old shiny damask fabric, rather than recover them.

Ok, I was starting to understand why they were in the trash :)

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After removing the scary seats, I tried washing down the chairs with TSP*, but even that didn't remove the sticky, gummy feel of the paint. Sanding just made it worse. So I left them in the sun for awhile to dry. I was a bit disgusted with them, honestly. I needed a break.

Eventually perseverance won out and I decided to try painting them with my homemade chalk paint mixture, combined with a little bit of Annie Sloane chalk paint (my little trick for extending the 'real stuff'). Don't know much about chalk paint? My Chalk Paint 101 primer will bring you up to date on all the basics!

Chalk paint is supposed to adhere to practically every surface, right? So these chairs should be no biggie. First I sanded down the biggest globs and drips as best I could. And I do apologize that I don't have pics of the work in progress.

The paint went on wonderfully, a couple coats covered it. Light sanding followed, but with NO distressing (I didn't want to reveal that gummy paint, no way!) The seat was stripped down to the foam, which was still in fair shape. I added several layers of batting* for a bit more padding, then a drop cloth seat cover was stapled on. This is how they turned out. Big improvement, right?

chairs after

Before we moved from FL to TN in December, I was selling as much furniture as I could to lighten our load, and I sold one of the chairs.  I was thrilled.  But now I was left with one.

It sat and sat in my garage in TN, looking lonely and bored.

I decided it needed another makeover and so I mixed up a custom duck egg blue color, and redid the seat cover in a pretty print and here she is:

recovered chair

She went from being just a chair, to having a personality!


The beautiful detail on the back is now a good way. I waxed the painted wood with natural wax* and then just a little dark wax* in the grooves and creases to pick up the contrast.

chair and pillow

I couldn't resist making a pillow too from this great fabric I found on  However, I think it might be a bit too much pattern all together.  She looks a little cramped! So I'm using the pillow on another chair.

matching pillow

There, that's better!  I love the pillow on my dropcloth-slipcovered wingback. The burlap ribbon is totally removable.  It's just wrapped around the pillow and tied off.  I made the flower by running a needle down one side of a strip of the fabric and then pulling it tightly and tying it off.  It's hot-glued on top of the burlap.  A brown velvet vintage button tops it off.  I am so proud of my little chair, she looks 100% better!  The chair and pillow are currently looking for their new home.  You can see them at Then & Again, a fabulous shop full of unique finds in Hendersonville, TN.

curbside chair rescue

Update: the chair and pillow have found a new home!

bringing beauty to the ordinary,

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  1. simply beautiful! You are so talented!!

    1. Thanks so much Shannon! I'm so glad you 'visited' :)

  2. I love the paint combination on your chair and what a cute fabric you picked! Love the sweet pillow too!

    1. Thanks Sharon! Duck egg and Old white...two of my absolute faves! I think I could paint everything in those colors and be content :)

  3. You did a beautiful job on the chair...and that pillow is gorgeous!...hugs...Debbie

  4. Oh goodness, Cindy! Great trash rescue. The chair is beautiful and that Pillow....dreamy!! Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday.


    1. Thanks so much Denyse...I fell in love with the fabric and thought it would be a perfect match for the Duck Egg Blue paint :)

  5. So glad you stuck with it. The chairs turned out beautifully! Thanks for sharing them on Throwback Thursday!

    1. Lol, yes, me too! They are much happier now :) Thanks, Kim!

  6. I love your chair, the fabric is so fun!!!

    Thank you for linking up to my Furniture and Paint Party


    1. Thank you Brooke, I fell in love with the fabric and planned the chair makeover around it :)

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