Top Ways to Upcycle an Old Wooden Chair
The furniture in our home, the longer we have it, becomes almost ingrained with who we are. When we buy our first chair, when we get the rocking chair passed down to us, or when we inherit grandma’s favorite chair—regardless of how we receive them, these furniture items stick with us. And when they get old, it’s hard to part with them. We don’t want to lose the memories that surface when we use or see those items. If you find yourself with old dining room chairs that you don’t want to get rid of, then we have what you need. Below you’ll find a collection of some of the top ways to upcycle an old wooden chair. Check them out to see what new life you can bring to your favorite pieces!
Make a Rustic Garden Shelf
If you’ve got some broken chairs, then take them to the garden! One of our favorite ways to enhance an outdoor garden space is by bringing the plants into places you’d least expect—like an old chair. This repurposing project is perfect for chairs that have lost their legs; you only need the seat and back.
No matter what style chair it is, if you sand down and repaint it (and even sand it down again to give it that rustic feel), then the project will be a success. Hang the reformed chair from the outer walls of the home, and then place some of your favorite container plants on top!
You could even bring this idea inside the home and think of it more as a mantle for different seasonal pieces and items!
Build an Outdoor Swing
Another project you can take on for those chairs with broken legs is to build a swing with it. Rather than a tire swing, create a chair swing for the family to enjoy this summer. It’s a bit safer than the alternative, as it keeps the full back of the chair. If you want to make it more of a porch swing than a single-person swing, then you could add more chairs—this project can be as versatile as you want it. There are plenty of different ways to build it, so do some research and find the design that works best for you.
Create Side Tables
When you finish this project, houseguests will ask you where you got that sweet side table for the living room. The answer will be from that old chair you found at the thrift store—and this project is so simple, you won’t mind making one for them, too. For this project, you’ll want an old chair that still has all its legs, but a broken back is okay. You’ll remove the back entirely, and then you’ve got a table.
If you want to spruce it up further, you have a few options. You could remove the netting from the chair and put glass in its place. You could also sand down, refinish, or repaint it. We also like the idea of removing the legs and using something new in their place. That mix of old and new is perfect for furniture revamping.
Turn Them Into an Outdoor Bench
If you have quite a few old chairs, use them to create a comfortable outdoor bench. With some basic carpentry skills, you can transform your pair of old chairs into the seating area of your dreams. We’d suggest choosing chairs with a bit more of a contoured back so that the bench doesn’t seem too stiff. Ensure that the rear legs are fully intact, but otherwise, you don’t need to worry about the finish or the upholstery, since you’ll be creating something new from it. For the full directions on how best to build and upholster this project, check out this guide from This Old House.
Transform It Into a Planter
Back to the garden! Give those smaller plants, flowers, or succulents a bit more light by elevating them with a chair planter. Now, for this project, you can either use an old wooden chair or an antique metal chair. Either way, you’ll need a chair with an open seat that will be able to handle the outside elements.
Cut a section of chicken wire large enough to fit inside the chair to form a basket and still extend over the chair edge. From there, use some cable ties to connect the chicken wire to the chair, and then trim away excess chicken wire. Then, line the basket with sheet moss, using enough so that you can’t see through the moss. After that, you can fill the basket with soil and add your chosen plants. We love how succulents look with this project, especially if you choose to paint the chair with a natural color!
Make a Dog Feeder
If you’ve got an older dog, then this is the perfect project for you to take on this weekend. This chair revamp is great for taller dogs that can’t really bend to their bowls on the floor anymore. You’ll want all parts of the chair to be in working condition, but if the backs aren’t there, that’s okay too.
All you need to do is sand down the chairs and then cut out a section in the seat for some stainless-steel bowls to fit into.
You could paint the chairs, if you want, to fit the style of your home. But, if you do, make sure to choose a pet-friendly paint.
Pro-Tip: Painting furniture is actually easier than you might expect, so think about how paint can transform the pieces. Sure, you just broke down the chair to make it into a side table, but you could transform it even further with some new color. Maybe it even just needs a new stain. Either way, think about how paints and stains can elevate your project even further.
Hopefully, you found some good ideas from these top ways to upcycle an old wooden chair! And when you need to put the finishing touches on your project, and paint is your go-to, turn to ECOS Paints. We have all the priming, painting, and staining options you need to transform these old chairs into something beautiful. Our cabinet and furniture paint comes in so many colors that you’re sure to love. Shop with us now—you won’t regret it!