Transform Your Dated Armchair to Modern Day Fabulous

When my customer came to me with a request to give her ‘marketplace find’ a more modern look, I was on it – like a bonnet – as they say. Armchair upholstery is one of my favourite things. The older (and/or more interesting) the better.

This Lincoln House chair dates back to the mid-1990s. When chintz was king! Or queen.

We loved it, didn’t we? From three-piece suites to curtains, cushions to bedding, we were nuts about a bit of cotton based block pattern.

Chintz actually originated from India in the 16th century. Its history1 is quite fascinating. I guess that’s why we fell in love with it again in the 1990s. Obsessed with creating an antique look – with our Laura Ashley country cottage style or Colefax and Fowler stately home reproductions.

And while patterns are making a comeback, the pastel shades of the 90s are just not cutting the mustard. Especially in this modern family home.

Yet the chair itself was beautifully made. Solid underneath. Just dated on the outside. So it was ripe for some armchair upholstery. A perfect market find, it definitely wasn’t ready to be thrown on the skip. And that warms my heart!

Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

The first step in any upholstery is to identify the age of the piece. This allows me to assess the level of work required to ensure the finished product will meet current fire standards. The regulations (with subsequent revisions) were introduced to significantly improve the fire safety of filling materials and covers used in domestic upholstered furniture. It’s a complex area, and I don’t intend to try and cover it here. I don’t want to send you to sleep. But if you are interested (or a bit geeky like me) then there is a great document produced by the Fire Industry Research Authority2

Often furniture has had labels removed, or they may never have existed. A complication I don’t need as that needs more detective work. Luckily this one had a very detailed label, stating the fire ratings and standards for each component part. Super handy for me to compare and determine what has to come off, and what is still compliant today.

Modern Day Fabulous

Goodbye faded chintz. Hello gorgeous!

Image showing an armchair upholstery finished in colourful fabric

The whole process of choosing fabrics is delicious. It can be lengthy too. Remember, by the time this chair was ready for some armchair upholstery it was already over 25 years old.

Okay maybe don’t take that long!

But my point is, if you want it to last as long again, then it’s worth taking time over. Get samples. Get more if you need to. There is nothing that floats my boat more than knowing I have given a chair a new life. New style. A bit of va-va-voom! Don’t rush it. You will know when the right one comes along.

My client chose Prestigious Textiles Barbados. A velvet in a delicious combo of zesty rich colours – and wildlife. Laura Ashley would never have done it this way – would they?

And as if that wasn’t enough we threw in a plain peacock teal fabric twist to provide the perfect canvas. This can be the ideal solution if you are working to a budget. Simply offsetting some of your meterage with a cheaper fabric is not only cost-effective – but it makes it unique!

So what do you think? Is this not just the best armchair upholstery solution for an old piece of furniture? Do let me know.

Marie – The Artisan Bothy

Perhaps you have a much-loved chair which no longer suits your home? If so then why not get in touch. You can either e-mail me, contact me via Facebook or send me a Whatsapp message – or just give me a good old fashioned call. Let’s see if we can make your chair feel fabulous again too.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chintz
  2. https://www.fira.co.uk/images/FIRA-Flammability-Guide-PDF-with-links.pdf

The Artisan Bothy
Breathing new life into your tired furniture throughout Moray, Grampian, Highlands and Scotland