Before & After: A DIY Footstool Makeover

25 Aug

A perfect afternoon DIY-project is giving a makeover to a vintage footstool. My $5 footstool was a thrift-store find that went from shabby-kitsch to Provincial chic. Here’s how I did it.

{Before & After: A DIY Footstool Makeover}

Footstools … I have a secret obsession with these little fellows. They have so much character and never take up much space, yet their presence makes a big impact on a house, making it more home-like.

So it was a thrill to be on a legitimate hunt for a new footstool to match my library’s French Provincial arm chair. But it wasn’t just any ole’ footstool … this one had to be a certain height and width to match the character of the chair which I intended to pair it with.

As the design and bargain gods would have it, I found just the footstool — not an overly common thrift store furniture item — for just $5 at one of my favorite Salvation Army locations.

Now, at first glance it’s not much to look at, but that’s just it — that’s the beauty of this kind of thing — hunting and finding a diamond in the rough! So, here’s the transformation of shabby-kitsch to Provincial chic!

Don’t you just love the details of this nautical & patriotic fabric?I just adore how the layers of re-upholstered fabric tells a story of vintage decades! A total of 4 fabrics, starting from the 1940s, or so!
I found this mustard gold velour curtain panel on clearance for $5 and it perfectly matches the velour tones of the French Provincial arm chair’s upholstery.

{THRIFTY TIP} Curtains can be a bargain way to find fabric for any of your DIY-projects!

Footstools (or chairs) that have removable cushions are the easiest to re-upholster and re-finish the frames.

I used a medium grit sand paper to smooth out the chipping layers of paint, and since I planned to paint the wood, there was no need to completely strip the frame.

{VINTAGE TIP} DIY-projects can quickly erode, and even destroy, the value of vintage or antique furniture pieces (just ask any Antiques Roadshow fan).
The only time I paint vintage wood pieces is when the original layer of stain has already been painted over.

Before & After

The Details

{So} What’s the Take-Away?

Vision is key.

Both in the literal and figurative sense, vision is the lynchpin of this whole process. To successfully find your own DIY-footstool at a tag sale or thrift store, you need two kinds of vision:

1) An Eye For Possibility: This means, you need to be able to look behind the marred fabric and wood finish to see what the item could be turned into with a little tender, loving care.

2) An Image for Result: This means, you need to have a clear idea of what form, shape and function this footstool (or any other furniture/home decor item) needs to have for it to work with the solution you intend to create.

Because in my mind’s eye, I already knew the “form, shape and function” of the footstool I was hunting for …

The process didn’t leave me distracted or overwhelmed when I walked into the Salvation Army, or the other stores leading up to my successful find.

{Total Cost} $15: foot stool, velour curtain panel & clear acrylic spray paint

{Total Time} 4 hours, not including drying time

What do you think of my DIY Footstool Makeover?


3 Responses to “Before & After: A DIY Footstool Makeover”

  1. alicia booker August 26, 2011 at 9:58 AM #

    Wow!!! I love how you tied in the stool with your chair. You have an amazing ability to see beauty in everything!


  2. Anna Moritz August 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM #

    beautiful work . Admirations!


  3. Natalie April 14, 2014 at 7:27 PM #

    I thought the original was cute! I wouldn’t have done a thing to it, but to each it’s own.


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