Monday, April 7, 2014

Recliner Makeover

So, friends.  This chair.
Let me just tell you a little story about this chair.  This was a surprise Mother's Day gift back when my oldest was a baby.  Umm, that was about 1999.  My husband is (ahem) not a great secret keeper, so the fact that he actually surprised me with this was pretty amazing.  It was really pretty trendy, back in the late '90's, and it is ridiculously comfortable.  I nursed all of my babies in this chair.  I slept with stuffy and sick toddlers in this chair.  I have so many sweet memories of our chidren's childhoods in this chair.  Watching movies.  Reading stories.  Snuggling.  

But, let's be honest.  It's been past its prime for a fair few years now.  It had become threadbare and homely.  In fact, a year or two ago, Mr. Jones and I took this guy to the local thrift store and dropped it off, and drove away.  And as we drove off, a huge wave of mother nostalgia swept over me and I started to bawl.  So, we turned around.  Mr. Jones went into the thrift store and begged for the chair back.  It was already headed out to the sales floor, but they let us take it back.  

We've been planning to have it refinished professionally since then.  I'm all for DIYing, but this seemed a little out of my league.  I mean, it had moving parts and I've never done any upholstery work in my life.  But, then it sat.  And sat.  And sat some more.  'Cause it's expensive to hire someone to reupholster a Laz-E-Boy, and kind of a hassle.  And, beyond that, I couldn't settle on a new fabric for the makeover.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.  I finally had had enough of this eye sore in my bedroom, and I got serious looking for fabric.  I finally found upholstery weight fabric I loved on   (You can see it on the bolt sitting on the chair in the picture above.)  It was a pretty grey slub, and was on sale for $7.50 a yard.  So, I swallowed hard, ordered 10 yards (because I was paranoid of running short--ended up being probably a yard and a half too much), and waited for it to arrive.  And by the time it got here, a couple of weeks later, I'd convinced myself I could just go for it and do the job myself.

So, I read several online tutorials on recovering a Laz-E-Boy.  Like this one.  And this one was especially helpful.  And then I just took a deep breath, embraced the fear, and started ripping my beloved Mother's Day chair apart.  It took about 3 days and lots of patience and tedious work, but it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. I really had no clue to what extent furniture is held together with cardboard and staples:
Like, a whole lot of cardboard and staples.  But, as I took it apart, I took pictures as I went, used the pieces I removed as patterns for the new fabric, and it wasn't as bad as I feared it might be.  I would highly recommend using a pneumatic staple gun.  I already owned an air compressor, so I bought this gun on Amazon for less than $25.  Word to the wise, people.  It came dead on arrival.  Wouldn't shoot staples at all.  Just poofs of air.  Mr. Jones is a handy guy, though, and he took the whole thing apart, put it back together again, and he somehow got it working, and I really had no problems at all after that.  But, you might want to just head to a home improvement store, spend a few more dollars, and not worry about having to rebuild a brand new staple gun.  Just sayin'.  

Also, hot glue.  I totally used my hot glue gun (like, the high temperature, heavy duty kind) on this baby, in all the places where I couldn't actually use staples.  I was a little worried about the holding power at first, until I made a mistake and had to try to remove something that was hot glued on.  Dude.  It was harder to get off than the staples.  I feel totally confident in the staying power of hot glue now.  I mostly used it to attach the two strips down the front of the chair from the arm rests, and a little section of the back of the chair.  And they are on there very solidly.  

Here are some pictures of the finished product:

I love it.  It is still just as comfortable, and it looks a million times better.  If you have any questions or want more detail, just ask away in the comments and I'll try to help you out, if I can.  I would for sure say that if I can do this, anyone can do this.  It just takes a lot of patience and some tedious work, but I love how it turned out and am glad I saved us hundreds of dollars and still got a chair that I really love.  

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Hi There,

    We would love to feature this on our site under our DIY category just like Aqua Lane Designs. May we feature this with a teaser and link to you for the full instructions? Thanks! Our site is

  2. Hi, Alex! I would be honored by a feature! Thanks!