Reupholstering the Vintage French Chair..

Posted August 23, 2013 by Christina


 I am in the process of trying to figure out what I want to do with these little gems that I picked up at the Paris Flea market for myself.  The chairs above are my dreamy dream chairs!  But alas I did not find this style while I was shopping, however, I did find the pair below which I love very much.  So I am having a little delima that I need some help with.  I would love to know what you think- would you add tufting to the chair backs to make them look a little more like the dreamy dream chairs or would you keep them simple and clean as they are traditionally done?
Add a seat cushion?
Beef up the arms?

There are so many possibilities...  
While I know I don't want to change them completely I want to add some pizzazz.. I am planning on either vintage linen which we also bought while in France but I have also thought of going for a simple washed linen that I use often... decisions decisions!


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Tufting for sure. But not too many buttons and only on the back. Maybe about 8 buttons: 3-2-3. No welting on the arms. Beefing them up a little might be nice. No extra seat cushion. ;) Can’t wait to see them! Thanks for sharing!

Fri Oct 17 16:46:51 2014

Wild Oak Designs

I love the pix you show.
I am drawn to the tufted pix, and simple is best…refined elegance all the way.
You didn’t mention color…I think a creamy nubbly linen, would be fab….
Can’t wait to see what you do.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:51 2014


Of the two you show, the one on the right looks as if it had tufting. And the photo following, simple chair with arms a bit more poofed, looks very comfortable and elegant. If you want tufting, do it, otherwise you’ll regret it. If it doesn’t work out, it can always be changed.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:50 2014

Patty Rumaker

I love tufted seating – it is just so gorgeous, as are the pictures you have shown above. Best of luck – they will look lovely either way.
Thanks, Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design

Fri Oct 17 16:46:50 2014


If you don’t tuft them, I fear every time you look at them you’ll think, “Nice but they’re not my dreamy dream chairs.” Therefore, I’d add some padding and tufting, no welt. If you tuft the arms, I’d only do the insides. I wouldn’t want to lose that sexy curve on the arm with too much padding. I can’t give you my opinion on a cushion without seeing it. It depends on the scale, how low it is to the ground and whether a cushion will throw off the line of the arm. It’s a gorgeous chair! Let us know how it turns out.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:50 2014

Marsha Splenderosa

These are divine! I love old and authentic and absolutely do not understand why anyone would buy new & copies, aka Restoration Hardware.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:50 2014

Studio One Design

I love both your ‘dreamy dream’ chairs and the chairs you purchased. One glance and I knew immediately what I would do:

Channel tufts
New cushion – a separate piece form fitted to the chair
Additional padding (not too much) for the arms
An occasional pillow

- Vintage linen used for the cushion and the outer back and sides of the piece
- washed linen used for the tufted portion, inner sides, and the arms
- The occasional pillow made from the vintage linen

The two fabrics will make a lovely natural statement while giving your chairs some of that pizzazz you are seeking.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:50 2014


Always love tufting! On these, I think no welt, but yes on the cushion, and love the idea of using 2 very subtly different fabrics.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:49 2014

Karen Albert

Christina, gorgeous chairs! I would have them all cushy and tufted on the back!

Featuring:Artist Anne Harwell

Fri Oct 17 16:46:49 2014

sandi pelouze

These chairs are special, so keep them independent from the dreamy chairs, no tufting, no cushion, I would do nailheads in the same finish as your knobs on your cabinet. A great throw pillow out of an old fabric, that has dressmaker details, pleated ruffle, tufted, or an old wood button etc.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:49 2014

Lisa Gabrielson

I was going to suggest exactly what she said above. Leave the arms diminutive…that’s what makes them French. Simple fabric only. White or sand. Good luck! Gorgeous find:)

Fri Oct 17 16:46:49 2014

Nia Sayers

As an upholsterer, I always like to change up a piece. I would definitely tuft (a. because I like to tuft, b. it really elevates the look, I think)

I would tuft the back, keep the bottom upholstered to the frame and keep the rest rather simple.

Fri Oct 17 16:46:49 2014

Josh Perry

And now I already have an idea on what to do and how it will look like with my 2 chairs. Thanks for sharing this and I can’t wait for my 2 chairs to be done. I will probably blog regarding this matter :)

Fri Oct 17 16:46:48 2014


I absolutely love the lines on the final picture- that fat ridge/welt whatever on the edges with no tufting is so unusual. No modern furniture makers are using a detail like that (although maybe they should!). It gives them an authenticity. Using the antique linen would just highlight that great feature. Can’t wait to see the final result!

Fri Oct 17 16:46:48 2014

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greige: (gra, grège, gray)
adj: not bleached or dyed;
unfinished; raw