See How Our Editors Restored a Pair of Vintage Mid-Century Chairs

The frames were powder-coated, the leather reupholstered, and they looked better than ever before.

vintage cantilever chairs upcycled with paint and leather
Photo: Kirsten Francis

Svelte cantilever chairs have been completing dinette sets since their midcentury heyday. Today, vintage knockoffs of the originals are a steal: Living home editor Lorna Aragon found this pair on Etsy for $60. Like so many of their kind, they arrived with outdated vinyl seats and backs, and rusty tubular chrome frames. Here, learn how Lorna brought back their bounce in this DIY furniture project that's easy to recreate at home.

The Method

Lorna unscrewed the seats and backs, and sent the frames to Ever-Nu Metal Products, in Brooklyn, to be powder-coated—a process that involves sandblasting off rust and spraying, then baking on, a thick, durable finish. The service rang up at about $150 apiece, but because the setup is the costliest part, the more chairs you do, the less each costs. Then she reupholstered the cushions.

Shop Now: Benjamin Moore Paint, in Muslin (on wall), Room & Board Aria Table, with Walnut Top and Graphite Base (similar to shown), 36", $1,019, West Elm Sculptural Metal Pendant, in Small Gray/Brass, $129,


The Palette

These are what we like to call superneutrals. Because they're muted in tone, superneutrals work with all kinds of palettes, letting you introduce color elsewhere in the room that doesn't overwhelm. Rich saddle-brown leather replaced the yellowed white vinyl. It also complements the chairs' creamy powder-coated frames.

Shop Now: RAL Classic Powder-Coating, in RAL 9001 Cream, Leather Hide Store Tucson Spice Cowhide, in Warm Spice Brown, $99 with promo code MARTHALIVING, for 25 sq. ft. (enough for 4 chairs),

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