Two years ago I decided to redecorate my master bedroom. I could imagine the new furniture, new wall color, a new chair, replacing the bathroom cabinets—you see where this is going. After realizing the expense of everything new, I made the decision to transform our master bedroom on a budget with a little imagination and a lot of hard work. The time I had, the money I didn’t.

I had already purchased my bed set (spread, skirt, shams, and pillows) all for less than $50.00 thanks to a 75% off sale.  It was my inspiration piece, so that is where I began. My next step was to choose three coordinating wall colors. I used one of my shams for color matching. I chose many and narrowed them down to a few which I taped to the walls of our bedroom and lived with for a while until I was happy with three colors. I kept the sham and the chosen paint samples in a recyclable grocery bag that I would take with me every time I left the house. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to match something for your project. See Carol’s article on choosing paint colors.

After choosing the bed set and the paint, I was ready to find the perfect chair. Remember, I am challenging myself to save as much money as possible on this project, so I would need to find a used chair and recover it myself. I found it while shopping at one of our favorite thrift stores. It was well constructed, well-padded, and comfortable. The fabric was ugly and worn, but for $19.99 I could see its potential.

For most, recovering a chair would not be an option; therefore, consider purchasing a simple slipcover. has a large selection of slipcovers, so start there. For those a little more adventurous, you have the option of sewing a simple slipcover (from a purchased pattern) or pull out your staple gun and create a more fitted and custom look which both requires a little basic sewing. For my chair, I chose the latter.

First, I made a pattern from an old sheet by shaping the sheet over the chair and then cutting separate pieces for the arms, the back, the seat, and the cushions. You can take apart the cushions to use as the pattern. I like to use a marker to write on each pattern piece what it is and how many you will need to cut out (example: arm piece cut 2). Once the pattern pieces are cut,t I lay them out on the floor and measure for the exact yardage needed for the fabric. Guessing yardage can leave you with not enough fabric or purchasing too much. Don’t forget about the cording which you can cover with your fabric or buy decorative cording. If you don’t like to sew, I suggest the latter. Picking the trim is my favorite part of the process which can give your project a sense of who you are.

Next, I made a trip to the fabric store (with my sham and paint samples) during a 50% off sale and purchased the fabric and materials I would need to recover the chair which cost a little under $60.00. I chose a chenille fabric for a comfy bedroom feel, similar to an old chenille bathrobe.


I began fitting the cut fabric pieces onto the chair wrong side out using straight pins. Then the machine sews the pieces until they fit snugly over each section of the chair. It will take a little tucking and maneuvering before you can begin stapling the fabric to the underside and/or back of the chair, making sure to pull the fabric tightly. There is no exact science, just play with the pieces until they fit.

Take a look at the before and after pictures. I am very happy with the results and even more thrilled over the amount of money I saved by doing it myself. I gave myself a pat on the back and moved onto the next project—my headboard. Join me next week.