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Get the Look for Less (Restoration Hardware Dining Chairs)

I got these beauties from Facebook Marketplace and I completely transformed them to look like Restoration Hardware Dining Chairs. Learn how to refinish dining chairs and get the look for less!

I bought them for a whopping $40! I did have to drive about an hour away to get them but for that price they were totally worth it.

There were six chairs, three with arms and three without. I didn’t want three with arms, I only wanted two. So I had to do a little work to fix that but it wasn’t hard at all.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more details see my full disclosure.

Look for Less – Restoration Hardware Dining Chairs

Here is the chair inspiration I found online. The problem is they are $660 a chair! That’s way out of my budget so I had to do some diy-ing!

A wood chair with cream fabric from an add from Restoration Hardware.

Here are the chairs I bought. They are built really well and are so incredibly comfortable. They just aren’t that pretty. Well I will take care of that!

A dining chair with purple pleather seats and arms with striped back.
A dining chair with purple pleather seat and arms and strips on the back.

The Prep Work

The first thing you need to do is remove the old fabric. While I loved the purple pleather (hehe) it had to go.

The trim around the edge of the fabric covers the staples therefore it’s the first thing you need to remove. Trim is either stapled on or glued. These were stapled and it was hard to remove.

I enlisted my husband and he was able to pull it all off. If you do this it’s a good idea to wear safety goggles because staples can come off and fly around.

Next, remove the staples. I didn’t have a staple remover for the first reupholstery project, my french chair for my vanity, and it was so difficult. I bought one from Amazon and it’s been a lifesaver! When I was recovering my tufted ottoman I used it too so have definitely gotten good use out of it.

If there is foam on the chair that can be removed now is a good time to do that. Make sure you keep the old fabric to use as a template for the new fabric.

The chair before staining where you can see the springs in the seat.

How I Removed Arms off a Chair

The arms were screwed into the bottom of the chair and had pegs that attached them to the back. It was pretty easy to remove but now I had holes in the back where the pegs were inserted.

The two holes on the back of the chair one filled and one not filled.

I bought a bunch of different-sized dowel rods, inserted them with wood glue then cut them off. I sanded them down flush with the rest of the chair and was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Dowel rods in a chair to fill holes.

Why didn’t I just use wood putty to fill the holes? Because they typically don’t stain well. If you are painting then wood putty would work just fine.

The repaired back of a chair.

Sand the wood

Now comes the fun part! (Not so much) You need a palm sander as well as sheets of 80 grit, 120 grit, and 220 grit sandpaper.

I ordered a couple of other tools from a store in North Carolina called Klingspor. They are a really cool store if you like to work with wood. I ordered these because my chair had so many grooves and curved areas it was going to be very hard to sand.

You will likely have to do a good bit by hand, I sure had to. I will be honest, this part was tough and it took me a while to do but I am super happy with the final result and plan to have these dining chairs for the rest of my life.

Stain and Poly The Wood

I used a gel stain because I was staining vertical surfaces and I didn’t want the area on the chairs I took the arms off to show.

I chose General Finishes Java, it’s the same color I used on my dining table.

One chair stained and one not stained sitting on cardboard on my paver driveway.

Gel stain is a little different than regular stain. You put it on the wood then wipe off excess. It’s actually more art than science which I learned from staining my dining table.

One chair stained and one not stain sitting on cardboard on my paver driveway.

General Finishes also makes a topcoat for their gel stain so I used that. I did three coats so the finish would be very protected.

Look for Less – Add New Fabric

Using the old fabric as a template cut out the new pieces. I like to go a little larger just in case I make a mistake.

For these chairs, there was a back, a piece of foam, cardboard, a piece of foam, and the front. The foam on the back of the chairs was in pretty bad shape so I had to replace it.

Staple the back piece of fabric to the wood back of the chair. Then place the two foam pieces with the cardboard. And then staple the front piece of fabric on. Cut off any excess fabric.

Now put the foam on the seat and put the fabric on top. The foam on my chairs was yellow and showed through the fabric so I bought some batting and put it in between. This helped a ton.

The stained chair with new fabric before the trim was attached sitting in my dining room next to the newly stained table.

Add The Trim

My Mom did the sewing for the trim, sewing is not my forte. I did not attach with staples the way it was with the old fabric. I used glue (from my glue gun).

Go nice and slow so the glue doesn’t cool off before you add the trim.

A closeup of the arm of the chairs with the trim added to cover up the staples.
The finished dining table and chair with a blue table runner, dishes, and a wall that is white board and batten.
A closeup of the corner of the seat on the dining chairs where the fabric was attached.
A closeup of the back of the chairs where the trim is added.

Get the Look for Less – FINISHED

This project was super hard because my chair had so many grooves and turns. It took forever to sand them down. I am ridiculously happy with the final product and I think they turned out almost exactly like the inspiration photo from Restoration Hardware.

That being said would I do it again? Yes! But I am really glad I don’t have to;)

The finished dining chair with fabric and trim and my black dog walking in front of it.
The finished dining table and chair with a blue table runner, dishes, and a wall that is white board and batten.
The finished dining table and chair with a blue table runner, dishes, and a wall that is white board and batten.
The finished dining table and chair with a blue table runner, dishes, and a wall that is white board and batten.
The finished dining table and chair with a blue table runner, dishes, and a wall that is white board and batten.

Other DIY Furniture Posts You Might Like:

Three photos of dining chairs, the inspiration Restoration Hardware chair with dark wood and light colored fabric, a chair with arms that is orange wood, purple pleather seats and stripped fabric on the back and the finished to look like the inspo with text overlay.

Look for Less Dining Chairs

As a licensed Real Estate Agent and an avid home decorator, I strive to give my clients the very best I can when it comes to staging, selling, and decorating their homes. I have lots of experience with paint color choices and love to DIY my home so I can have everything just the way I want it. I share my ideas and projects with the world in the hopes that I can help others have their homes just the way they want as well.

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