I’ve always wanted a chaise longue. And yet, they are so desperately unpractical for today’s minimalist living trends and tiny London apartments where space is at a premium. Any purchasing impulse would be quickly laid to rest by doing the ‘where do I put it’ / usefulness per square metre math….and our abodes would remain all the more duller for it.
I believe, like a good painting or sculpture, some objects give us pleasure beyond their mere usefulness. Take that, rational equations! The chaise longue, with its pleasingly proportioned curves, often decadently carved with scrollwork, is oh so more than the sofa workhorse of the living room: It was made to be adored, to steal the spotlight and, for the experience to be indulgent and singularly savoured like a chocolate truffle or a candlelit bath.
After all, one does not just sit on a chaise lounge, one drapes over it, entirely (ideally with tea, chocolates and a good book in hand).
As dramatic and iconic as this attention-demanding item of furniture is, it is only accentuated when seen next to the exact opposite, say for example, placed in an industrial loft, standing on a concrete floor or upholstered in a gritty urban fabric.
This is why I fell in love as I was browsing a local gallery in Tourette Sur Loup with a vintage chaise longue, upholstered by the artisan tapissier By Marilyn in a gritty graffiti print cotton.
(Sadly, no pics of the chaise longue, but another example of By Marilyn’s work, below)
(Some examples, below, by Timorous Beasties)
After much time fawning, I decided I could do a little reupholstery of my own…although nothing quite as grand…
….in fact, quite the opposite.
The stool: Everyone needs one, everyone has one. Humble, unassuming and always useful. This one was particularly overlooked, with its naked wood (gasp) peaking out from the pealing sticky-back-plastic-covered seat and work-worn chipped metal legs.
Time for some luxury. Time for suede and fur upholstery!
Stool upholstery projects: How to
Materials and tools:
- Suede-backed fur, enough to cover the seat and wrap a few inches to the back (I used a thrifted jacket)
- Batting (to pad the seat)
- Blackboard paint
- Matt varnish (I used a spray)
- Upholstery staple gun and staples
- Fabric scissors
Step 1: Prep
Remove any unwanted fabric, paper or anything else that could get in the way of the project. For my stool, I needed to peel away some of the sticky-back-plastic. For other projects, it may be necessary to do a quick sand or wash.
Step 2: Painting
I love blackboard paint – it gives a super black, super flat, super matt finish and looks great next to the texture of the fur (after all, this project theme is all about contrast, right?).
Paint the legs and underside of the base, giving 2- 3 coats. This paint sticks to almost anything, so no need to sand unless the previous paint job is uneven and it’s fine to go straight onto the metal. Finish with a few coats of matt varnish. The varnish helps prevent the paint from getting marked or dusty.
Step 3: Cutting
Grab your fabric and batting. As mentioned, I used an old leather jacket as the upholstery fabric. Place the the stool upside down (seat onto the fabric) and use it as a guide to cut a larger circle than the seat by about 3-4 inches or so. You want one circle for the upholstery fabric and 2 – 3 slightly smaller circles of batting to layer underneath, making it nice and soft to sit on.
Step 4: Stapling
Flip the fabric so the right side is facing outwards on top of the batting layers, and the seat is resting on that batting layers the wrong side of the outer fabric/suede.
Using an upholstery staple gun, stretch the fabric over the seat, around the edges to the underside and staple in place on the exposed wooden bottom of the stool. Work around the bottom, initially stapling 4- 6 evenly spaced points, then building up the staples in-between to make it really secure.
…and voila! A seriously gratifying project for very little input. Now…what to do with the leftover scraps of suede and fur?