Upholstering a Rocking Chair…(Every Layer Tells a Story)

by projectbuddy


Sometimes old furniture can surprise you. That’s exactly what happened with this oak rocking chair. It came from Poplar Hall Antiques in Farmville, Virginia. I discovered this great place on the way back from helping my mother move into her retirement apartment over the weekend after the Fourth of July.

The simple style fit my house perfectly. The wood was in good condition and would only need a few touch-ups here and there. I was looking forward to putting it in my sunroom where the oak finish would really stand out against the painted floor and coarse wool rug.

The only major flaw was a really ugly, cigarette burned piece of pale blue upholstery on the removable spring seat. After finding some upholstery material with colors that complimented the rug and a geometric pattern that would provide contrast without clashing, I was all set for the quick replacement project.

While removing the blue upholstery, underneath I found a dark brown material that was a replacement for what was probably the original leather. Although not genuine, it did have the look and feel of leather. With some cleaning, it fit the chair and the room perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised.

Quick tip: Don’t judge a chair by its upholstery, particularly if it is easily replaced. It was probably to my advantage that there was a really bad piece of upholstery on the seat. I imagine that quite a few people didn’t give the chair a second look because of it.


If you are ever in the Farmville area, it may be worth your time to stop by Poplar Hall Antiques.

These photographs were taken August 2013.