Grandma’s Got A Brand New Bag

We’ve been searching for dining room chairs FOR-EVAR so when we stumbled upon these old Queen Anne chairs at an antique/thrift store, I thought, “hmmm… maybe these could work… with a little work.” We haggled over the price with the storekeeper and ended up getting all 6 at $50 each. Not too shabby, when Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware are selling their versions of the Queen Anne chair at over $200 a pop. I grew up on Queen Anne chairs and their traditional formality holds a special little place in my furniture-lovin’ heart. But as you know, I can’t leave well enough alone, nor can I resist a good DIY project. I think it’ll do some good to give these old ladies a little face lift.

I failed to get a ‘before’ photo, but they had a rich cherry finish with a cream damask upholstered seat. Husband unscrewed the seat from the chair and I gave them a quick sanding with my power sander:

Sanded and waiting for primer

I wasn’t too concerned with getting down to raw wood, since I’d planned on priming them. After sanding, I wiped them down with a damp rag and attacked them with a coat of white primer:

One primed, five more to go

Here’s a close-up after I brushed on a coat of primer. Ugly with a capital U-G-L-Y, right? Painting’s never been my strongpoint, folks.

Finally! All 6 chairs are done… for now. Now I have to actually paint them.

Meanwhile, as the primer dried, I reupholstered the seats. And by ‘reupholstered,’ I mean ‘stapled some new fabric over the old.’ The old padding was still in great shape, so I didn’t bother replacing it. I bought 2 yards of this zigzag fabric at $9.99/yard. Well, looky there, my beloved chevron pattern finally makes its grand appearance in my home! Yay!

Reupholstered seats

And here’s a gratuitous shot of Evie, patiently waiting for me to finish reupholstering the seats. She is just so darn cute, I couldn’t help myself (you’re welcome).

The next day, I brushed on the first coat of white, glossy paint. Then I let it dry overnight, then put on the final coat. After another 48 hours of drying time, I brought the chairs back into the house.

Here’s a close-up of the seat. I love that this chevron fabric has a subtle slub texture to it:

Granny got a facelift!

I love mixing old and new, traditional and modern. And I am loving the traditional silhouette of the Queen Anne chair with this crisp new modern treatment. What do you think?

Cost Breakdown:

  • 6 Queen Anne chairs: $300
  • 2 yards of fabric: $19.98
  • White primer: already owned
  • White paint: $8.37 with 10% military discount
  • Paint brush: already owned
  • Drop cloths: already owned
  • Power sander: already owned

Total cost: $328.35 (about $55/chair)


  1. says

    WOW great job!! They look fantastic! We're on the hunt too, and i can't seem to find ones I like either. I hope we make out soon like you did!

  2. says

    I am so impressed with your chairs! I have always loved the QA style, too, and yours certainly don't look grandmotherly. BTW, very cute little baby!

  3. Jen says

    Thanks, everyone! Though I wasn't completely sold on the QA chairs, we didn't spend a lot of money on them, so I figured, 'what's the worst that could happen?'.

  4. says

    Wow, these are FANTASTIC!!! I just added one of these photos to my pinterest account because I'm super inspired to do something similar to a chair I bought, ahem, 2 years ago. Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    I LOVE these! I have similar chairs that I've been wanting to update but I didn't know how the chairs would look with more modern upholstery. So thanks for the inspiration!

  6. says

    Wow, they turned out amazing! I'm in the middle of doing mine also, along with then million other projects. Come on by and visit my blog to see my progress! And don't forget to subscribe so that you can get my latest projects in your email as I post them. P.S…..Your little Evie is the cutiest!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Maureen says

    You did a fantastic job with those chairs! I'm filing this away as inspiration. :) BTW, your daughter is adorable. But I'm sure you already know that.

  8. Jen says


    First off, I LOVE the bar your dad made. What a great piece! As far as your chairs go, great score! I'd paint the frames either white or a fun pop of color like yellow or turquoise… just depends on the color scheme you're going for. It'll be great once it's revamped! I'd love to see the 'after' pictures! Good luck!

  9. Jen says


    I've been tossing around the idea of selling them. I love them, but they're not playing well with the rest of our decor… hmmm…

  10. says

    LOVE THEM. Oh my god. If you ever get tired of them, I would be glad to take them off your hands.

    Stopping by from the YHL linky party.

  11. says

    Love them! We have chairs that are really similar to this, and I'm dying to paint and recover them…once I can afford it! Until then, I'll use yours as inspiration. Thanks for sharing! Also, your little girl is darling. :)

  12. says

    These chairs turned out great! I have been wanting to do this to my dining room chairs which are very similar. You may have given the courage to do it! :) I’ve been afraid with all the curves, it would take forever and would not look even. I have a few questions for you – Did you prime by hand or with a sprayer? What color white paint did you use? Did you use a wax or poly finish? I hope you get a chance to respond. Thanks!! Maureen

  13. says

    Your chairs look amazing! I have a similar set of 6 chairs that I bought for $50 for the whole set about 6 years ago. They’ve been waiting for love, and I’ve kept them covered with chair covers. I think this is the inspiration I’ve been looking for.
    BTW- I’d love to see your chairs with the table, for more inspiration!

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