DIY Furniture

Box Cushion Makeover

March 27, 2013

I did it! I finally did it! I bought this chair over a year ago for only $25 with big dreams of dressing it with beautiful, gray wool cushions. After washing the cushion covers and replacing the foam, we lived with the orange, holey and corduroy cushions for over a year. I frowned every time I looked at them but I couldn’t bring myself to spend $40-100/yd for my dream fabric. And then my patience and frugal fortitude paid off when, at long last, I found the perfect black and white slub fabric at a surplus fabric outlet for $4.75/yd. I saved more cash by reusing the old zippers and quickly whipped up new cushions over the weekend. Hooray! It looks seriously handsome.

Wood frame, two cushion lounge chairs are a mid-century furniture staple. They’re fairly easy to come by, even easier to reupholster and certainly worth a little extra effort to restore. If you find one, here are a few things to check before you buy:

  • Test the frame for sturdiness. If it wobbles, it probably needs to be re-glued and that’s more work than most of us are ready for.
  • Is the wood and finish in good shape? Are there any major blemishes or scratches?
  • Remove the cushions (if there are any) and check the seat supports. Worn out jute or sagging rubber straps can be replaced. Rubber straps with metal clip-ends are a cinch to replace but you’ll spend around $50 for 3 straps. If you’re up for it, I recommend Fagas Straps by Evans Inc.

It’s pretty much a given with chairs like this that you’ll need to replace the foam and upholstery. If you know how to sew a zipper, you can make a box cushion. And if you’re extra fancy, you can add piping. Design*Sponge has a great box cushion how-to. The key to buying any piece of vintage furniture is knowing what you can and can’t fix and how much time and money you’re willing to invest. Be honest with yourself and you’ll be rewarded with furniture you’ll love forever.

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  • Reply katie March 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    They look just like mine ( – even our fabric choice is the same! (But I got my mum to re-cover my cushions :D)

    • Reply thesweetbeast April 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Nice! Your mom did a great job with your cushions. I wish I had a matching set like you, I’m jealous!

  • Reply Dagný Björg from FEEL INSPIRED April 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Beautiful make over!

    • Reply thesweetbeast April 2, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Molly July 25, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Looks great! If you want to shine up the wood, Howard’s would take it to a new level. I’d seriously recommend it. Love, love the stuff for all my mid century pieces.

  • Reply Luca May 7, 2014 at 12:17 am

    I know I’m late to this party, but I just wanted to add to the chorus. Beautiful makeover! I *just* purchased this pair of MCM loungers: so your post will be a big help.

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