An Idea For Broken, Old Chairs

I just had to share with you something Brian’s been working on- even though it’s not done yet. See this old chair? Yeah- it doesn’t look so bad in this picture, but trust me, it was not safe to sit on.

As in, coming apart at the seams. And no amount of gluing and clamping held it together any longer than a few months.

And we had two others in exactly the same condition. It got so bad, when guests came over we’d have to point them to the chairs it was safe to sit on.

Which is terribly hospitable, don’t you think?

Anyway, new chairs are in the wings, waiting for the weather to warm so I can paint them (see Craigslist chairs here and my first try at painting them here). But what to do with these broken chairs that have such a classic design? I didn’t have the heart to put them on the burn pile, so they’ve sat in a shed for about 6 months.

And then one day about a month ago, I heard Brian nailing, hammering, and sawing on something. I went out to investigate and discovered this:

broken chair bench
Isn’t this a great idea? I was floored that he was doing this all on his own (believe me, it’s usually me pushing my ideas on him around here…), and was really excited about making the chairs into a bench.


He then added a slatted shelf on the bottom to make it more secure and add a bit more character. He wants to put a large book there.

So the plan is to paint the entire bench, add a plywood seat top covered in muslin and then I’d make a cushion for the seat that just sits there or maybe ties on. I’m thinking a cushion like this:
This, of course, is from Ballard Designs which they are selling for $80.

I also found this similar styled bench for $329.

Hmmm, old chairs, scrap wood, paint and home-sewn cushion = $408.00


Love that man.


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This is linked to:
Frugalicious Friday

Frugal Friday
Lovely Crafty Weekend
Hodgepodge Friday
Saturday Nite Special


  1. It’s looking wonderful! I wonder what’s his input on the cushion and upholstery. I’ll be waiting for the finished bench pictures.

  2. It’s beautiful! That’s wonderful that he just started doing it, too.

    Now, what are you going to do with the other pieces of the chair legs? Perhaps make some wooden hooks and pegs for hanging things?

  3. It‘s so nice that I found your blog about your link at Finding Fabulous. Of course I’ve scrolled a little and like what I see. Now I’m your new follower! ;)

    Take care

  4. That is so clever! I think I’ll look at old chairs with new eyes now.

  5. What an interesting idea!

  6. Wow! How clever! He’s a keeper for sure! The man and the bench… lol

  7. Thoughts for the day says:

    wow what an awesome idea. Our dining room table is a double pedastle birds eye maple 1930′s style and the chairs are very ‘iffy’ to sit on. I have thought about purchasing new chairs that could look old to match the table but that would look strange. This might work, we started out with six chairs and one broke as my husband was ‘rocking on it’ and it crashed to the floor with him in the midst of the rubble. (warning do not rock on fragile antique chairs) I love this look but as you say how do you tell people, don’t sit on that chair. The one that broke was split and I had wood glued it together to make ‘six’ and then placed a piece of tape on the top of it so I KNEW which one no one should sit on. Oops… missed that…one.
    thanks for the idea. from another reader in Oregon loving our ‘cloudy’ rainy drizzly spring.

  8. Excellent idea! You rock, Brian!

  9. Esther@fleurcottage says:

    absolutely COOL!!

  10. The Sage Butterfly says:

    Awesome! That is a brilliant idea! Should I ever be in the same predicament, I will definitely remember your idea. Great way to reuse!!!

  11. cool!!

  12. I love this and I think it’s perfect for my new linky party. I do hope you come over and link up!!

    ~ Nikki

  13. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says:

    Prudent Homemaker- Ah, I was wondering how to use the front legs- what a great idea! I’ll have to see how I can make that work… :-)

  14. Really cool.

  15. This is a wonderful way to create something both useful and beautiful. I am looking at my chairs….maybe, I should break them.

    You don’t know me so I had better tell you that I am kidding.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful and beautiful idea.

  17. I’m dying for you to finish the 2 dining chairs into a bench .. please please finish it so I can see how it turns out thanks

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says:

      Ugh! I know, Leigh, I can’t believe I haven’t finished it yet. It’s waiting for me to make the cover for the seat cushion. I’m moving it to the top of my to-do list. :-)

  18. I just got done posting on my blog about a chair I re-purposed. One of my followers sent me to you to see this project. Its awesome!

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says:

      Thanks, Clint! Hopefully I will be able to post the finished product here soon – I just keep going around and around about the fabric I want to cover the cushion with. Sigh.

  19. Brilliant! We have THOSE chairs. Not similar. I mean those exact, flimsy, weak, beaten down, broken down chairs. 6 of them. And we need a bench. Benches are always good in the country.

    Thanks, your blog rocks :)

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