Retro Home Inspiration, Upcycling, Vintage Home Inspiration

Upcycling Retro Chairs

We’ve always loved a bit of fixing up at Miss Pigeon Vintage HQ. We’ve been making do with hand downs, secondhands and skip raids since we set up home together. It means you get well accustomed to mending, repurposing and recycling.

Being resourceful and never the type to throw things away also means we usually have exactly what’s required to bring something back to life.

So, the chairs; Someone tagged me in one of those “everything-for-sale-everywhere-but-locals-only” Facebook selling pages, to bring my attention to two gloriously retro chairs. They were a bit of a bargain but were a sorry state when we collected them.

Cue a very laborious, but love filled labour getting the chairs repaired and in working condition.

They were clearly meant to swivel but they weren’t doing, so Mr Pigeon got to grips with making the revolve work, while I focused on the aesthetics.

They were covered in black vinyl which was grubby, dull and ripped in places. I did a lot of scrubbing and polishing and got to work repairing the rip. Using some scrap black vinyl from some old car seats laying around the the garage, I slotted the fabric into the rip, and simply glued it into place to secure it from slipping.

Upholstery sorted.

White emulsion was caked on the legs and stands, with dried on drip marks and it was yellowing in places, too. I’ve paint stripped a lot of furniture and have discovered that the cheaper ones are usually the most effective. You can see the bubbling effect, below.

I love watching paint bubble under the chemicals and it’s so much quicker than sanding back and doesn’t leave scratch marks. A bit of wire wool brought back to a really smooth metal, keeping the integrity of the original chair.

Bare metal was a lot more attractive than the white emulsion, but the slick lines and bold features really owed themselves to something brighter. Out came the orange gloss paint and voila! Two incredibly stunning mid-century inspired smoothly swiveling chairs.


The chairs were stunning. They got so much interest in my shop, Meanwhile…  and they left a matter of hours after arriving. A traders dream, right there!

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