Since college I have wanted a lyre back chair. Every once in awhile, when trolling Craigslist, I do a quick search for lyre furniture of any type. There’s usually something on there. I’ve seen beautiful tables and entire sets of chairs, but everything’s been either far too pricey or way far away. But a couple weeks ago I hit gold! A woman about 15 minutes away was selling an old lyre back chair for just $20. It was a deal I couldn’t pass up. This was the chair when I brought it home. Can you guess what decade it’s from?
So I took it apart. Ok, that’s probably a bit dramatic. I removed the seat. (Less effect, more truth.) I’ve recovered many a chair before, and it’s a super simple process. Get fabric, cut fabric, staple fabric on seat, reinstall seat, done! The only exception here was I updated the seat cushion with new foam. I just set it on top of the 40 or so year old batting that was under the orange fabric. I did throw out the orange corduroy though!
The harder part was the body of the chair. I wanted to update the wood color too, as I’m just not a fan of orangey wood. I absolutely loved using the gel stain on my dresser makeover upstairs, so I thought I’d give that a try. I think it turned out pretty well.
It was a lot more work than the flat dresser top though! First off, it was harder to get an even coat around all the curves and edges. Second, that lyre has some narrow spots, so I just had to goop the stuff in there and hope it wouldn’t look too funky! This was after the first coat:
Just as before, I applied a total of three coats and rubbed the excess stain off after a few minutes, but with this project I had to be careful not to rub too hard on the edges or the orange wood would reappear. I also learned from the dresser project that paper towel doesn’t work as well for gel stain as it does for typical stain, so I went with an old cotton rag and it looked great once it was all dry. That gel stain is pretty cool stuff. It comes out like cheap hair gel, but it dries with a beautiful gloss finish. Even though it wasn’t super easy to use on this project, it meant I didn’t need to sand the whole thing down, which really would have required taking the chair apart!