Cane Back Chair Makeover

Thrift stores are so hit and miss. Most are overpriced, but I still have the hardest time driving by without stopping. This time I stopped by and snagged these french chairs. So without further ado, here’s my cane back chairs makeover.

Get more furniture makeover ideas here! 

french cane back chairs before makeover with gold fabric

Supplies Used for cane back chairs makeover

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I also may earn from other qualifying purchases with other companies or get free product to review and use. All opinions are my own.

Remove Old Fabric

The worst part of all is the first step; removing all of the fabric and trim with pliers and a flat head screwdriver. Man that stuff is always stuck on so hard!

fabric removed from the french chairs

Paint Wood and Cane

Then I prepped the wood for a new paint job by lightly sanding and wiping everything clean.

Learn more about How to Prepare Furniture For Painting.

I gave both chairs a new crisp white finish with heavy distressing and a few coats of poly for extra durability. 

Check out this post for more info on how to paint furniture white.

Reupholster with Blue Fabric

I used the old fabric (adding a couple of inches to the edge of each piece) to figure out how many yards of fabric I needed for the chairs.

I decided on some navy linen fabric from Joann and grabbed a roll of batting.

This time around I finally got smart and purchased this pneumatic staple gun instead of using my old manual staple gun.

So. Much. Better!

This one takes regular old T50 staples, just like my old manual staple gun.

If you’re thinking about reupholstering, you NEED to get a pneumatic staple gun.

This one was cheap and it works great!

I just plugged it into our small air compressor and went to work! I used the old fabric as a template to cut out my new fabric and batting.

Click here to subscribe

For the seat, I started by stapling on the batting in a few spots and then cut off the excess with sharp scissors.

Then I stapled on the new pretty fabric, making sure everything was tight and in line. 

Covering the Cane with Fabric

But since the cane didn’t have fabric over it before, I just measured the size of the cane, added 4 inches, and cut out a rectangle for each side of the cane.

For the cane back I kept the cane for the extra support it gives and followed the same process for both the back side and the front.

First batting, then the fabric.

I stapled them on just outside of the border of the cane so it would have wood to attach to, but I stayed as close to the cane as possible.

I didn’t want to cover the whole back of the chair.

Once all the fabric was stapled on I used sharp scissors to cut the excess away, making sure to cut as close to the staples as possible.

For the trim I used 3/16″ cable cord and 2.5″ strips of fabric to make double welting. 

Vidya at What’s Ur Home Story has a great tutorial explaining how to make a double welting.

Then I just used glue to attach the trim onto the edges of the fabric to cover up the staples and ugly edges.

white painted chairs with blue upholstery

Cane Back Chair Makeover

white painted french wood chair makeover

Check out this cane back chairs makeover for the perfect way to update and repair your furniture.



  1. Remove the old fabric.
  2. Prep the wood for paint by lightly scuff sanding and cleaning.
  3. Apply a few coats of paint, distress, and seal with some poly.
  4. Use the old fabric to measure how much new fabric you need.
  5. Start stapling the batting and then the fabric to the seat making sure everything was tight and in line.
  6. Measure out fabric for both sides of the cane back.
  7. Staple the batting, then the fabric to the wood staying as close to the cane as possible.
  8. Make double welting for the trim then glue it onto the edges of the fabric to cover up the staples.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

after- white painted french chairs with navy blue linen upholstery

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

I couldn’t be happier with how these chairs turned out! They look super expensive and are just what I wanted in the space! Wahoo!!

cane back chair covered with navy blue fabric and double welting

You Might Also Like:

Follow us on YouTube to get more tips for painting furniture.

Or share your project with us on our Facebook Group and be part of our community. See you there!


  1. So beautiful!!! I'm glad I'm your help line! You are amazing….great job!

  2. Oh thanks! You also taught me how to reupholster, soo you're more than just a help line. Haha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *