One Room Challenge: Week 6 | All about Upcycling!

Hello Friends! It’s Week 6 of the One Room Challenge. Grateful to the ORC team for cancelling week 5 to #amplifymelanatedvoices and create space on our platforms for people to speak out about Racism, and support the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m hopeful that people will continue to share, reflect and educate, because it’s incredibly important.

So we’re less than a month to the reveal, and things are really starting to come together in our Living-room refresh! At this point we’re fully FINISHED our fireplace, we have our couch moved in, and now we’re just upcycling some furniture, waiting for floating shelf wood to come in, and putting the finishing touches on our Living Room Decor.

Previous weeks: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Our focus for the past few weeks has been all about furniture reupholstery, refinishing, and upcycling! I was thinking of titling this post “DIY Reupholstery” or something along those lines, but it would be so hard to do a tutorial teaching you how to reupholster something, because each piece of furniture is made SO differently, and some pieces are a lot easier to reupholster than others. So instead, think of this as a Re-upholstery and Furniture Upcycling Encouragement post!!

I’m really excited to be writing this post because it means that I’m finally finished refinishing BOTH of the mid-century modern chairs that I got off of Facebook Marketplace last year. You’ve likely seen one of them floating around in my feed, because I could only fit one of them in our last apartment! One of them got a fabric switch (but the wood parts still needed a lot of love), and the other hung out in our garage for ages!


We had purchased our new-build lot around the time that I found these chairs, and as soon as I saw them, I knew they had to go into our future living room! I found them from someone on Facebook Marketplace who had purchased them with the intention of fixing them up herself, and never got around to it. It felt like she was even trying to talk us out of buying them off of her, because they needed so much love! But I promised her that we would make them beautiful (even though it’s taken us more than a year to do so!) I’ve had my eye on neutral fabric / light wood armchairs for so long, but they’re just so pricey to buy new! But I knew as soon as I saw these chairs that I could create the same look with a little TLC.  

This isn’t my first chair reupholstery project, but I’m by no means an expert – believe me! I just pick pieces that look easy enough to fix up, and you can tell how complex the project will be by looking at the bottom of the chair, and the back or sides to see where the seams are. For these chairs, the fabric was just stapled onto the bottom of the seat, and there were just two hand-sewn seams along the sides of each backrest, so it was definitely doable! This project was also SUPER affordable, because I got a giant piece of off-white upholstery fabric for $12! The hardest part for me is knowing how much fabric to get, so I just got the rest of the roll and have a bit left over that I can use for other small projects. The best part of re-upholstery is that you’re not starting from scratch! If you are careful in how you take off the old fabric, you can use it as a guide for cutting and sewing the new fabric.











Helpful Upholstery Supplies:

  • Good quality fabric that you can pull on/manipulate (especially if you’re doing lots of stapling)
  • Flat head screw driver or pliers to pull out previous staples
  • Staple gun (electric if possible) and staples
  • Sewing machine if your project has seams
  • Upholstery needle and thread for finishing the seams
  • Extra batting and foam if your seat cushions could be more comfortable

What is also helpful are a mother-in law and grandmother-in law that really know what they’re doing! This was my first complex upholstery project and they were so helpful (especially with the sewing parts, because I have very little sewing experience!) Once I had finished the upholstery for both chairs (finally), I got to work on refinishing the chair structure. There were some scratches and dents on the arms of both chairs, and the original stain was pretty dark, so I did a ton of sanding to get them looking the way I wanted. I started with 60 grit sandpaper everywhere to get the bulk of the old stain off, and to smooth out the scratches, and then finished with 120 grit to get everything nice and smooth.

Furniture Refinishing Essentials:

  • Palm sander
  • 60 and 120 grit sandpaper
  • Sanding blocks for the areas that are hard to get to with the sander
  • Stain, oil, or polish to finish

I had some stain that we tested out on one of the arms once we were done sanding, but we actually liked the natural wood colour better, so I sanded off the stain and just put some furniture polish on both of the chairs.


Aren’t they so pretty?!? Buzz approves too! We staged them in our dining space for these photos, but I can’t wait to get them all styled up in the living room for the reveal!

When in doubt, upcycle!

And while we’re on the topic of upcycling, if you’ve been following our ORC progress, you’ll know that we’ve been looking for a new coffee table to replace our old black metal + wood veneer table that we’ve had since we first started living together. I’ve scoured all of the secondhand sites and facebook marketplace, but just wasn’t able to find one that we loved, for a price we loved! But, the table looked super out of place with the other changes we’ve made to this room, so we decided to upcycle it! We painted the frame a brassy gold, and bought a piece of white oak plywood for the top! It probably won’t be a forever table, but it definitely looks so much better than it did, and was very affordable!

Here’s a sneak peek! Can’t wait to photograph the whole space soon and see it all put together!


Project List Progress:

  • Build Fireplace bump out
    • Build frame
    • Add drywall
    • Tape and Mud drywall
    • Paint
  • Determine a way to hide television/cable/video game boxes and cords behind the tv/fireplace
  • Add an outlet to the wall or side of the fireplace (we’ll be covering the only accessible outlet on that side of the room)
  • Build floating shelves along the back wall to make that space more functional, and still maintain the walkway to the balcony doors. Plus stain the wood to match other wood elements in the room
  • Install and paint lower cabinets under the open shelving
  • Finish reupholstering the other mid-century modern armchair to match the one I already reupholstered. And then I need to sand and stain both of them to get rid of some imperfections in the wood and ensure they match.
  • Find a new coffee table (on a budget!) I was hoping to go thrifting, but now with COVID-19, my best bet is probably Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, or a DIY if we have time. 
  • Update decor – new rug, curtains, pillows, shelf accents, plants!
  • Replace couch 
  • Replace curtains that are way too short!
  • Mount Samsung Frame TV above the fireplace and swap out the frame for a beige one that our lovely fam gave us as a housewarming gift

We’re almost there! Hoping to share some floating shelf progress next week, and will continue to share updates on my instagram stories. Don’t forget to check out the One Room Challenge Featured Designers and other Guest Participants! 






Leave a Reply