Ladder Back Chair Makeover

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If you are new to the Repurpose Design Series, welcome!!! Allow me to give you a quick rundown of how this works. I have teamed up with eight other fellow, ridiculously talented bloggers, and every three weeks we are challenged to take $20, go out into the world of junk and find something old we can repurpose into something fabulous! Thrift stores, antique malls, yard sales, Craigslist, handmedowns, even dumpster diving, it’s all fair game. If you missed our first round of reveals, you can find them [here], and I must say, I was blown away by the talent in this group! Trust me, you want to check these ladies out.

Not only do we share our projects, but we share yours too! That’s right, you get in on the action as well! Each week we have been picking one winner to feature on our Instagram accounts who we think nailed the Repurpose Design Challenge. All you have to do is share your $20 project on Instagram and use the hashtag #SalvageSwagger to enter. Easy as that. Each Thursday we share a new winner, so get your #SalvageSwagger on with us!!!


Now, lets get down to business. My project this round was a new [to me] chair for my office. I ran across this ladder back chair at Goodwill for $6 that I loved. I actually left and didn’t get it, but you know how that goes. The next day I was on my way back to Goodwill praying it was still there, and thankfully it was. So it was all mine.


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


I hated the color of the wood, and the fabric obviously had to go. I thought about just spray painting the wood but, we all know how much I loooooove wood grain, so I made the decision to sand down the entire chair. It was not fun. Not fun at all. I got most of the varnish off with my hand sander, but for all the curves I had to use some elbow grease, and it took for-ev-er.


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Five hours later [no joke], I had raw wood. I stained it with some Minwax Dark Walnut stain and coated the top with Polyacrylic and called it a day. I went on a hunt to all of my local fabric stores and found some awesome navy blue and white gingham fabric that I thought would look great with the wood color, and great in my office. I have never ever reupholstered anything in my life, so this was a first. A million staples later [maybe I am exaggerating, maybe not] my chair makeover was complete. And here you have it!


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair


Ladder Back Chair makeover


What do you think!?

Be sure and check out all of the other ladies reveals!!! Like I said, so much talent in this group, and I am just so honored to be among them!!! And don’t forget we want to see YOUR #SalvageSwagger too, so post your projects on Instagram!


Becky at The Other Side of Neutral

Jennifer at The Willow Farmhouse

Jolia at Farm Fresh Homestead

Becky at Buckets of Burlap

Avery at East Egg Style Blog

Annie at Zevy Joy

Wendy at Life On The Shady Grove

Stephanie at The Yammering Cabin






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  1. First timer, here! I have an older, taller back, model of this chair with intact cane seat. It collects clothes in my bedroom!! What did you do for the seat on your chair? Foam? Remove the cane? (I don’t want to do that!) Love your salvage job!!
    Keep up the good work! V

  2. This looks awesome Ashley! I love the transformation. I am never patient enough to sand down wood, but it really does look so much better than paint a lot of times!

  3. Your chair looks amazing! I found the salvage swagger on Instagram too. What a fun idea! You know, you can never ever have enough chairs around the house. You did a great job on yours.

    1. Awe, thank you so much Stacey! It was the first time I ever added new fabric, but I love how it turned out! Glad you found the series! Hope you play along on IG!

  4. If it helps any, I think it was a fantastic idea to sand the wood down. It looks 11231937 times better! I’ve been following #salvageswagger for awhile now but just realized I wasn’t following all of your guy’s blogs, whoops. I’ve seen quite a few chairs at thrift stores but haven’t had a vision to fix them up and make them pretty…until now 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I am such a sucker for wood grain! It was well worth the work! And so glad you’ve been following along! Your comment is just too sweet! 🙂

    1. Thank you my sweet friend! Loved your project too!!! And yes sanding is no fun, but always worth it in the end! Xoxo!

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