Drexel Chairs: Boring to Boho!

The 8 chairs that come with our huge Drexel dining table are upholstered in more gold polyester. Blech. I am certainly not the first person to cover the seats, but I am so pleased with the result that I’m sharing my version of this popular Drexel hack.

The Drexel dining room chair seats are attached by four little screws that are easy to remove. The only catch is that if you want to use an electric screwdriver to speed up the job, you need an extra long screwdriver head because the screws are sunk in about two inches. But any lightweight screwdriver will do: I didn’t even have to break my beloved DeWalt.

$20 Black and Decker screwdriver with an extra-long attachment.
$20 Black and Decker screwdriver with an extra-long attachment.

Next, I laid the seat down on an old sheet to trace a rough template.

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After tracing around the edges with a pencil, I estimated how much extra I would need to cover the sides with about an inch extra to staple to the bottom.

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Then I cut around about 3 inches away from my pencil tracing on all sides.

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I pinned the sheet template to a medium-weight cotton curtain fabric that I bought from Leroy Merlin, a European home improvement store. I didn’t worry too much about spill-resistance, since we don’t have any rugrats in the house. But I did wash and dry the fabric first to make sure that the colors won’t bleed onto the Drexel upholstery if the seats should get wet.

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I cut out two seat covers at a time by doubling the fabric. Then I lay the seat face down on the fabric and starting stapling using my handy $4 zszywacz, and no I can’t pronounce that either!

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Also known as a lightweight staple gun.

I only used 3-4 staples per side, because I will have to take them out three years from now. But they come out easily with a pair of needle-nose pliers,  no biggie.

I didn’t stress about getting the corners perfect. I just made quick folds and stapled them down.

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Then I trimmed the extra fabric at the corners so it wouldn’t get in the way of the screws.

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Ta-da! Tip for screwing the seats back on: try and get just one screw in the right place, screw it in just a little bit, then the rest will follow naturally.

Each chair seat took about 10-15 minutes to complete, from unscrewing the seat to screwing it back on.

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I am REALLY pleased with the result.

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Boring meet Boho!

I just bought what fabric I liked and didn’t worry about coordinating with anything else. You see, nothing in my house matches anyway, so everything matches. That’s my theory.  No wait, gold polyester definitely doesn’t match. Anything.

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This project made me so happy that I took the leftover fabric and whipped up some slipcovers for the big pillows that come with the Drexel sofa.

I can't see any way that these aren't an improvement.
I can’t see any way that these aren’t an improvement.

The Drexel in my house is slowly fading into the background. At the same time, I am protecting the taxpayer’s questionable investment in furniture by covering it up as much as possible. You’re welcome!

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4 comments

  1. Kelly, it looks beautiful. You certainly have great artistic talent. I agree with you about the gold. That would be very difficult living with for 3 long years! Go ahead and cover the couch too:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was scrolling through Pinterest for decor ideas and I saw your chairs. I stopped because, one that is great fabric, and two I recognized those chairs. Those are embassy issue chairs!! I too have covered mine and smile much more as a result. I love seeing what other foreign service folks do to make these houses homes. 🙂 well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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