Lincoln Cane Chair Makeover

Right before we moved out of our rental last year, we bought these chairs:

They're from Target* and I grabbed them because they were on major clearance in the teal color - we paid $140 for two.  We had been on the hunt for some smaller chairs to replace the big, hand-me-down club chairs we had and since secondhand searches hadn't turned up anything we liked for months and months, the discounted, new route looked pretty good. 

You might remember those huge (but muy muy comfortable) club they are in our second house:

and in our second rental, where they had to be separated because they were so big and took up too much room in one space:

So I jumped on the new cane chairs when they randomly came up in a regular browse of Target's online clearance section...pretty sure I was on to look for shoes, not chairs...but either way.  ;)  Really, I was hoping that we'd find a pair secondhand and get away with spending even less than $140 but new, it was a pretty good deal.  What sold me just as much as the price was the fact that they looked like they could be easily recovered with new fabric (or at least 100 times easier than the old chairs) and that was a big thing for this family with kids.  If you've been a long time reader, you probably read me write a whole lot of times that the plan was to recover or at least slipcover those big cranberry chairs...a very intimidating task but one I wasn't going to shy away from.  Well, the time never came before I found these new ones and so off they went to Facebook marketplace before the new arrived, their proceeds going straight to the new's so nice how that works, isn't it?

And when they did arrive, we quick put them together and then they didn't move from their spot again until it was time to move a few weeks later.

With the paneling unpainted and the living room not a priority, they sat in their designated spots in the new house for months.  I already knew their teal fabric wasn't the greatest design fit so I just made another box on the to-do list to recover them when we got around to upping the aesthetics in the living room.  Well that happened and here we were:

I mean, they didn't look all that bad but the minty/sage sectional plus the green ottoman plus the teal chairs?  It was a case of too many shades of solid blue/green.  To add to the pros list of recovering, the fabric started pilling.  Not a whole lot but even a little is no good, right?  If I had paid original price for these things, I'd be channeling the angry emoji.


That's the thing with buying furniture from Target and a lot of other similar places - their stuff looks awesome but the fabric is crap.  It'll look good forever...if it's never used.  Otherwise, give it a few months of use and the pilling will come.  Boo.  The same goes for pillows...ahem, that's why buying covers from my shop is such a good thing - I use quality fabric.  ;) #shamlessselfpromo

Speaking of quality fabric, it's on there now - and it only cost me a few hours plus about $20 in fabric and supplies.

The chairs go with the whole vibe of the room much better than they did before.

At the same time that I bought the new fabric for the chairs, I grabbed some faux cognac leather for the ottoman.  I'm in no rush to recover it because the pop of green is kind of fun and a nod to the fiddle in the corner but...eventually...

I didn't take enough pictures to write a whole tutorial because I didn't think there would be much interest in how to recover these chairs, but if you have them and you'd like to know more details, let me know and I will happily draw up how I constructed them.

The back cushion of the chairs is a piece of foam surrounded by (a thin, cheap layer of) batting - basically a flat pillow - and it even had a (very poorly installed) zipper at the bottom.  So all it took for me to recover them was getting the old off, making new covers (for which I had to learn how to sew a french seam - that half inch of fabric around the entire edge of the cover), and putting them on. 

I thought the bottom would be just as simple wasn't.  I didn't realize the fabric was stapled around the foam of the seat and the wood supporting it.


I don't know why I thought that when I took the cushion off, I'd be left with the wood frame still attached to the chair, not the cushion.  After I got it off, I quickly realized my error in thoughts and had to regroup and figure out how exactly to do this since my original plan had been squashed.  I'll be honest, for a hot minute I thought, "What did I just get myself into?!"

It took a few days of building up the courage and looking at how the existing cover was constructed and then put onto the chair and finally, I figured it out enough to try it.  Turned out pretty darn good if I say so myself. :)  Phew!

The fabric I used is a heavy-duty, thick upholstery fabric I purchased on sale ($9 a yard!!) at my favorite local fabric store and so hopefully, these chairs won't see another recover for years and years.  I know they say that kids and white furniture don't mix but we don't allow food or art paraphernalia in the living room and our kids are getting older so, cross your fingers, these will stand the test of time and kids.  The great thing about the back cushions is that I can easily take the covers off to be washed.  The bottom cushion would need be be removed along with all the staples but if it had to be after some crazy staining incident, I could do it.

I'll just keep on crossing my fingers that that doesn't ever happen.  

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fabric - Silver Springs in Snow from Richtex Fabrics (you can call to order; they ship!)
If you're up for the same DIY project...
zippers* - I like YKK brand

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*These links are affiliate links which means that, if you click over and/or make a purchase through the link, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  All of these links will lead you to things we actually paid for or that are similar to the item we paid for in case ours is thrifted/sold out/secondhand.  This extra money helps us with the costs of running the blog and buying paint.  ;)  Thank you for your support and for fueling our love to share all things DIY!


  1. They look great! BTW, I got that 404 error when I tried to access your shop via the link you provided in this post.

    1. Thanks and thanks for the heads up Lisa! What would I do without you?! :)