If you know me at all, you know I am a sucker for estate sales and yard sales. If you know me really well, you know I am a sucker for vintage chairs of all kinds. My husband thinks my chair obsession is excessive, but I use them all! Now, Iâ€™m not talking Aunt Agathaâ€™s matched Victorian set. I love mismatched dining room chairs, funky original upholstery, and painted finishes. I love the juxtaposition of a gathering of unrelated furniture that creates a new and original look. Check out some of my favorite finds below.
This is a very comfortable and sturdy vintage chair I found in one of those never-used formal living rooms at an estate sale. It was actually bought by an antiques dealer before I could snag it – I chased him down the driveway and asked him if he was willing to resell it. Got it for $60. It has original upholstery, not a spot on it.
I’ve had this chair in my bedroom for almost 20 years. It belonged to my parents. My mom always says, “we started housekeeping with that chair.” Love that idiom. Anyway, the original upholstery was a cool retro 1950-1960’s green. I got it when I was 20 years old and immediately set about to have it reupholstered. I had it covered in this lavender-bluish fabric, which has actually served me well for all these years. It’s the perfect chair to curl up in and read a book. But I often wish I had never recovered the original fabric!
This is a petite “lady’s chair” that I use at my dressing table to put on my make-up. I found it at my former favorite antique mall in Franklin, TN about 10 years ago. Alas, that mall has since closed. Anyway, I fell in love with it and had to have it. Problem was, my husband hated it. But he loves me, so I got it anyway. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but it was under $100. The upholstery is an unusual pink, green, and cream toile pattern. It’s actually a slipcover that covers over an older, shabby original fabric. Its seat cushion could use a good re-stuffing, but it’s a good little chair. But my husband still hates it.
I love, love, love the vibrant green color of this vintage chair to the right. This came from my husband’s mean old aunt’s estate. Very comfortable, original upholstery, and absolutely free – what more could a girl hope for?
Here’s a small dining chair from the same old mean aunt’s estate. The upholstery is delightfully shabby – the shiny green fabric on top splits to expose the dark green velvet underneath. Couldn’t have made it look any shabby-cooler if I had tried. It usually sits in a corner for show, but it sometimes serves as seating.
Here’s another lovely lady’s chair that my husband abhors. I found it at an estate sale in Nashville for $50. It is covered in a vintage slipcover – the original upholstery is faded and hideous, but the slipcover is fabulous. Look at those colors! Look at that pattern! There are a few water stains around the skirt, but they don’t bother me much. Most comfortable chair ever.
This dining chair is part of a set of eight that I got from my husband’s nicer old aunt’s estate. She apparently hand-embroidered all of the seat cushions in this sumptuous rosy color. They replaced another set of hand-me-down Duncan Phyfe lyre-backed chairs that I previously used in my dining room. These are sturdier and of better quality. I always make do with what I have until I stumble upon better.
I found this darling wood chair about 12 years ago at a yard sale for $7. I first painted in lavender and stenciled white polka-dots on it, and I used it as a desk chair in my kitchen. Years passed, and I painted it Martha Stewart’s Paris Pink to match an vintage hoosier cabinet that I use as a desk. It’s pictured here in front of the Inspiration Board I just started working on. Maybe we’ll talk about that someday!
Here’s a very Victorian lady’s chair in a dark green velvet upholstery. I found this at an estate sale several summers ago and paid $60 for it. I sometimes like to use it at the head of my dining table. If you sit there, you have to sit on a pillow to be sitting as high as the other diners – but you feel a little like a queen. 🙂
I found this wooden desk chair at a yard sale for $10. It was already painted cream, and its finish was already just the right amount of beaten-up. I wanted to use it for my daughter’s room. So I found some vintage-looking stickers at Michaels, sanded them slightly to make them look older, and decoupaged them on the top horizontal slat of the chair.
This is another love-offering from the grave from my husband’s mean old aunt. I love that woman. Anyway, this chair is a lovely yellow with a tiny pattern in green. I’ve used it in many places in my home, but it currently sits in my kitchen near the breakfast nook. It’s the perfect spot to read a design magazine and drink a few cups of morning coffee.
Finally, the chair to the right was a brown 1970’s dining chair I found at a yard sale for $10. It looked kind of faux medieval. I spray painted it cream and covered the seat cushion with some left-over fabric. I love the airy back and the small appliqued medallion.
I hope you are inspired to seek out some fabulous chairs in unlikely places. Believe me, old chairs are built so much better than the ones they are making today. And for the price of one new chair, you can buy a dozen or so vintage lovelies! Even if you prefer a more modern or contemporary look, think about making it more interesting by mixing things up. Don’t use a complete set of chairs at your dining table – add in a bench or different host/hostess chairs. You don’t have to have 2 matching armchairs in the living room – think outside the box!!