Bamboo Chippendale Chair Makeover

Faux Bamboo Chippendale Chair Makeover

Something slip-covered, something leather or something with loose cushions.

Something timeless, something with a little pop and something kinda statement-y.

This was my loose criteria when deciding on a new chair for our home office space.

You see, our home office space is just that; a space. It’s in a prominent and highly trafficked area just off our kitchen, which means any residing furniture is; 1) at extreme risk of grubby-fingered attacks, and 2) seen by pretty much everyone who visits. Hence my desire for a chair that was both practical (easy to clean and comfy to sit in) and pretty (not overly office-like and totally fabtabulous to gaze upon!).

I must admit, I sorta agonised over choosing just the right chair for waaaay too long before finally realising I was being more unnecessarily indecisive than usual and concluding that what I knew I always wanted was a bamboo Chippendale era armchair (with an easy to re-upholster drop-in seat). The problem with my conclusion however was the reality of actually finding one for less than one zillion dollars!

I knew from previous experience that simply stumbling upon an affordable second-hand Chippendale-style armchair was RARE (even on eBay they usually sell for over $500 each) so I set about hunting down the most affordable brand new option I could.
Enter…one of my slightly obsessive, ridiculously exhaustive, though sometimes surprisingly fruitful, internet quests!

After dismissing a few over-priced (to me) designer-y options I finally came across a manufacturer (amazingly based in my own home city!) who actually hand-produced the chairs from scratch out of solid mahogany and was willing to sell me a raw, un-upholstered frame at a discounted price – awesome! By buying the chair, not only was I able to help support locally made though it was of fab quality and the price was totally do-able (not overly cheap, though definitely justifiable).

Bamboo Chippendale Armchairs

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For my Aussie-based readers: as stated and linked-to above, the chair I bought is from Mahogany By Hand and can be purchased and collected from their Moorabbin showroom (south-east of Melbourne). They also ship nationally though in my experience the cost of freight usually negates any initial monetary saving unfortunately.
Complete Pad also sell these chairs (in raw, un-upholstered form) for $325 each through their website here. My understanding is that their supplier is Sydney-based and free collection can be arranged directly from the manufacturer. They also offer nation-wide shipping, though again, freight charges may be cost prohibitive.

Deciding on a colour for the frame and type of fabric for the seat took me almost as long as settling on the style of chair to begin with! I know current reincarnations of Chippendale chairs are generally quite bold though I wanted something reasonably subtle with a gentle colour hit so eventually opted for a muted green for the frame and textured canvas (drop cloth) for the seat.

Faux Bamboo Chippendale Chair Makeover

Gotta love having a semi-obedient pet who’s willing to sit in the foreground of your photo to help balance the composition :-)
I just had to take my shots quickly whilst he wasn’t chasing flies, making his ‘extra-sad, extra-droopy’ face or barking at the school kids walking past!

Given the frame was already raw I simply sanded it lightly with some fine grit paper to smooth any roughness then applied two coats of paint by hand using a brush (the colour is ‘Field Maple’ by Dulux). The amount of detail in the frame meant hand painting was a little fiddly and time-consuming (spraying would have been easier and faster) though for whatever reason I had my patient hat on that day. To finish the frame I applied two coats of spray sealer (I used Cabots Cabothane Clear Oil Based in Gloss).

Green Bamboo Chippendale Armchair

If you missed my previous post about upholstering the seat from scratch you can check it out here.

Chippendale Chair with Drop Cloth Fabric Seat

It’s a pretty in-depth tutorial which clearly covers each stage of the process, including how to tackle those pesky corners…

How To Upholster Chair Corners

I contemplated painting grain sack stripes on my seat though decided instead to make a graphic grain sack style lumber pillow using some fabric I already had (the tutorial for that is coming up soon too – promise!).

Grain Sack Lumbar Pillow

All up my chair ended up costing around $260 total – not too bad, especially when considering the prices of the comparable chairs I found. I love that the drop-in seat can be easily re-covered when needed/wanted. And, having a removable seat also makes re-painting the frame heaps easier too!

Now we finally have a proper chair nestled beneath our computer desk the home office is pretty much complete (it’s only taken me ten months, give or take)!

Impending baby permitting, with any luck I’ll be able to share it in a week or so.

Chippendale Armchair Before and After



  1. Meaghan says:

    Thank you, thank you so much for sharing this. I have admired these chairs for ages though always dismissed them as being way too expensive for me. It is so kind and generous of you to share all your hard found ‘secrets’ about where to find, and how to create, affordable versions of otherwise unobtainable items like this.
    Your chair is lovely, as are your fabulous photos. Your dog is so sweet.
    Please keep sharing all that you do. I so admire your budget-savvy tenacity and resourcefulness.

    • Thanks so much Meaghan :-)
      What can I say…I’m a total budget geek! I actually get a kick out of hunting down, and concocting ideas for, affordable alternatives to expensive stuff. Sharing what I discover is all part of the reward!

  2. Treagan says:

    You’ve done it again. LOVE the chair and can’t wait to see it in your home office reveal!

  3. Katy says:

    I am so looking forward to seeing your home office space. It’s been so mysterious. I adore the chair and the colour you chose is perfect.
    PS I don’t mean to make you nervous by posting a comment almost as soon as each new post you publish is up. I’m not stalking you, really, well, maybe a bit. I just love your blog and always head right over as soon as I get a reader update from you.

  4. Love that chair and love that color! And I’m very impressed with your dog’s cooperation in your photography efforts :)

    • He, he. Thanks Gretchen.
      I was styling the shot and kept thinking to myself “I need something just there”. I was going to use a little stack of antique books though then Cooper walked past so I gave him the role instead. Sad, droopy face aside it turns out he’s not too bad a model :-)

  5. lisa says:

    Beautiful Job! I love the shade of green you used and your furry model. Happy Friday from the enchanted oven!

    • Thanks Lisa.
      He does blend in nicely with my vintage brown wallpaper, doesn’t he?

  6. love the color you used on that chair! gorgeous!

  7. awesome times ten!


  8. Jacinta says:

    I love this. I have always admired the desk chairs on young house love and this is reminiscent of them. I am alway looking for functional furniture for a small space. This could be a great desk/lounge /kitchen chair

  9. Kristen, I saw you over at Finding Fabulous and saw the top edge of your puggle, I had to come over and see her. I have one named Cinnamon! Stop over to see her.

    • Hi DeDe
      Just popped over and saw a pic of your adorable puggle – so sweet. Love the slightly cocked head.
      Cooper is actually a Pugalier though they are all so similar, aren’t they? He is such a great dog and soooo good with kids.
      Thanks for stopping by :-)

  10. Angela says:

    I love what you did with the chair! The green is just so fresh. (Love the pillow, too!) I’m facing the same dilemma with our office right now. I feel, in general, our office just gets all the stuff that didn’t work anywhere else. But, it is right off our kitchen, so very visible.

    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

    • That was our office space ten months ago. It was just stuffed with all the ‘left-overs’. I’m so happy to finally have something proper now :-)

  11. Suzanne says:

    Hi Kiristine, How wonderful that you were able to find the chair you wanted and finish it with your own style. It turned out just lovely! Love the muted green color you chose. Drop cloth fabric is a favorite of mine, and it looks great on the seat.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Pieced Pastimes

  12. ali thompson says:

    wow! i love this chair–you made some pretty perfect choices. well done!

  13. Robin says:

    Looks great! Love the graphics on the pillow :)

  14. Ruth says:

    This chair is fabulous and what a great deal!! I love every bit of it!!

  15. Liz Marie says:

    This chair and pillow are just fabulous! I seriously look forward to every single blog post from you. You are so talented and your blog posts are very thorough! Great post!

    xxLiz Marie

    • Thanks so much Liz Marie.
      I’m totally flattered to hear that coming from a talented chickadee like you!

  16. Mel says:

    so beautiful you did a great job

  17. Lauren says:

    This chair is gorgeous! I love the color you painted it and the fabric you chose for the seat – perfection.

    I’d be thrilled if you’d link up at this week’s Off the Hook!

    • Thanks for the invite over Lauren.
      I’m a little late to the party though just linked up :-)

  18. Karen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the beginning to end. I am featuring this at party today. Love, love, love. -K

  19. Your blog page is excellent. Thank you truly for sharing a huge amount of powerful ideas. I will bookmark your web site and will be without a doubt coming back. Again, I appreciate all your work and supplying much priceless info for the many people.

  20. I love the color you chose for your chair – it looks great!

  21. Screendoorgirl 3 says:

    Thank you for sharing this . I love that green color, and will now try to get a swatch of it. Great job!

  22. this chair looks likes so beautifull i like it.

  23. Megan says:

    So pretty! i have a similar pair of bamboo chairs and I’m trying to decide what color to paint them. Love the green.

  24. Maxine says:

    I see you did this chair some years ago! I too have some when I hit the golden jackpot at my local Vinnies. Mine have a poor stain job on them, so I too am working out what I will do with them colourwise, I know it won’t be white too boring for me.

    • Ha, ha. White is usually my go to Maxine. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen your Chippendale chairs on IG. Be sure to tag me when you share a pic of them painted :)

  25. Thanks so much for this great post. Excellent.

  26. Sonia Uribe says:

    Hola, ! Vivo en México, y me sorprendí con gratamente con tu artículo ya que recién comenze a restaurar, y sin darme cuenta del valor de estas joyas, me topé con una SILLA de este tipo, que justo ahora estoy en la decision de como decorar….estoy apenas familiarizando con estilos de sillas , yo la conseguí por un precio ridículo… Masomenos$
    20 usa , no sabía fueran tan caras

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