Every Library Needs a Little Velvet

The seating in the Library is going to be really weird. Most of the time, it’ll just be us, but several times a year, we’ll have dinner parties and gatherings, so we’ll need more seating (you know, if Covid ever settles down). The problem – like a lot of other rooms in the house – is that there really isn’t wall space to put furniture. There are three sets of pocket doors, and a window, and a corner fireplace, and a bookcase in the corner. So EVERYTHING is going to have to float.

We’re going to have a leather couch, so I also wanted a few (3?) chairs as well. I didn’t want anything too big – the room can’t take it, and again, these chairs won’t be used a ton. You’re there for a good time, not a long time. šŸ™‚

A while back, we did an upholstery workshop in Indianapolis. At that workshop, I did this chair – and it turned out great! This chair was the jumping off point for the room – I LOVED the colors in this fabric that I chose.

So, this chair was FOR SURE. I started keeping an eye out on Facebook Marketplace, and stumbled upon this pair of chairs.

Cute, right? And MOSTLY, in really good shape. This chair has some nonsense happening on the seat. I tried to clean it, but that didn’t work. So, for this chair, I decided to replace the seat.

This is scary, because trying to match old velvet with new is NOT EASY. But I decided to do it. I didn’t want to replace all of the velvet, especially because I’m still totally scared to do tufting. Though, I REALLY need to add that skill to my life.

I took the trim off, and found 62,372 nails. Also, some tetanus. Also, you can see what the fabric looked like before fading!

Then, I started working on getting the seat fabric off. The parlor is such a lovely place to upholster. Once I get furniture in all the rooms, I’m screwed. I will have nowhere to work!

Underneath was the structure of the chair, including horsehair!

I took off the padding and horsehair (it’s coming back!) and could check out the burlap cover underneath. If someone was doing a farmhouse look, I imagine they might leave this as is. But, it’s not my jam.


Another angle. Look at all of those nail holes! Whoa.

I kept the old seat, to use as the pattern for my new fabric. It’s SO faded. Velvet fades quicker than almost every type of fabric, so be careful about keeping in direct sunlight.

Original padding and stuffing going back in. Some people might switch this out, and if you have sensitive allergies, you might want to. But it doesn’t bother me, and I like the idea of keeping the chair mostly original.

Since I’m still avoiding stores if I can, I took a guess at a velvet on Etsy. It is a LITTLE brighter, but almost identical to the original / pre-faded fabric! I used the pattern from the old seat cover to trace and cut this new piece.

And then I started pulling and stapling! It was a pretty easy job.

Once it was on, I trimmed the excess from the bottom.

In this episode of “I Am a Terrible Blogger,” I forgot to take a picture of the back, intact. Imagine the velvet on the front, but REALLY REALLY EXTRA STUPIDLY faded. That’s what was there. This is after I took that off.

Under the batting, you can see the burlap and tufting spots!

Here’s where I go a little rogue. Remember the fabric from the chair I upholstered in class?

Well, I had enough left over to do the backs of these chairs. And, since they were going to float in the room anyway, WHY NOT put a super fun back on them, to tie them to the other chair?

Here’s the wrong side of the fabric. WRONG BUT SO RIGHT. Isn’t it so cool?

The original back was so faded and sun damaged that it tore in multiple places as I tried to get it off. So using it as a pattern wouldn’t work. So, I used the batting instead, which was a perfect stand in.

Amidst all the Christmas decor, I stapled this on.

Once it was stapled on, I trimmed the excess.

Neat and tidy! I like a surprise on the back of the chair. If it can’t be original, on furniture, I think it’s okay to play and have a little fun with the “disposable” parts of the piece. I wouldn’t touch (paint) the wood, unless it was damaged beyond repair. But upholstery is more short-lived, so it leaves a little more room to be more modern. I’m certainly not saying that this is RIGHT, or the only way to do things. But it’s how my soul leans when working on projects like this.

Look! I’ve redeemed myself. I took a picture of the back of the second chair, even though I forgot the first chair. Whew. Look how it matches the weird dusty rose color of the walls in the house. That’s kind of creepy.

This is the back of the first chair I did, laying on the back of the second chair. You can see how much more faded the first chair was. It must’ve gotten much more sunlight.

And against the tufting, which we’re keeping.

On the new seat – this is the back from the first chair. The darker pink is the backside of the fabric. The light salmon is what you would’ve seen on the chair.

All these little nails had to come out.

Putting the back on the second chair!

Done! Is the velvet a perfect match to each other? Nope. Am I okay with that? Yup.

I really love the back.

The differences in the velvet is much more pronounced in the Parlor, where there is a TON of natural light. The Library is much darker and cozier, so you won’t see the difference as much.


This was a fun little project, and I love these chairs SO MUCH.



  1. This makes me want to take up upholstery. These chairs look so cool. And, that was a serious number of nails to remove!

  2. When you started I thought, I hope she puts the print on the backs!! Great minds. These came out so gorgeous!!

  3. You are so talented! I admire you for tackling reupholstering those chairs. And I love the new backs and how they tie into the other chair.

  4. Did the braid trim originally cover the (original) nails? And, did you substitute the nails for staples?

    1. I used new braid trim – there was braid trim covering the nails, but it basically disintegrated after I took it off. So I replaced it with something really close! And yes, I switched out the nails and used a staple gun for the new fabric. šŸ˜Š

  5. Did you remember to have the pile face the same way on both chairs? They seem to be catching the light diffrently.

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