My Grandma’s old Cosco step stool

May 16 2016
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Of all of the memories I have of my Grandma throughout my childhood this step stool seems to be in every picture I have of her in my mind. She will always be sitting on it, by her kitchen stove, whether a fire was burning in it or not. I had a prettyΒ cool Grandma, she had herself the very first Nintendo and she and I went through and beat the very first Zelda multiple times one summer when I was 11 years old. She hand drew maps of all of the dungeons – seriously though, how cool is that?! I went looking for those old maps years ago and could not find them but still think of them from time to time. This old step stool, if Grandma wasn’t sitting on it her kitchen, I was! It was my favorite spot and when Grandma passed and this became my home this stool was with me throughout the entire renovation. It was already very old and not in the best of shape and us using it –Β me standing on it while drywalling or running electrical or plumbing, did nothing but just make it more rickety. By the end of the renovation this poor old Cosco step stool was not safe to use anymore! So, I stashed it in the garage for a day when I knew I could bring it back to its former glory. This weekend I rolled up my sleeves and got to work!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

You can see in the picture that the step stool was absolutely filthy so I brought it inside, set it on a towel by my kitchen sink and mixed water and vinegar in a bowl and got to scrubbing. Is that a big nail being used to keep the back left leg attached to the stool? Yes, yes it is. Once I got the entire stool scrubbed down I headed out to the barn for a bolt and nut to replace that old nail.

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

I removed the last two rubber feet that were still holding on and the (very old) black electrical tape that was being used as a foot. I went through every bolt and nut and tightened the entire stool down besides replacing two of them that were missing. Amazingly, the stool became sturdy again and was just as good as new except, of course, it really need some paint! I bought one can of Rustoleum black matte spray paint and one can of Rustoleum’s chrome spray paint and took my stool outside for painting. I painted the “steps” first with the black matte paint and then taped them off and painted the rest of the stool in chrome. That chrome spray paint is AMAZING! It’s like liquid aluminum foil!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

The seat was in terrible shape, the rings you see there are from PVC primer where this stool had joined me running all of the drains throughout the house. It needed to be replaced and I couldn’t think of a better replacement then red vinyl! Inspecting the underside of the seat I saw four steel tabs that were bent over, straightening them out I was able to pry the seat right off!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

I grabbed my glue gun and some scissors after seeing that the old seat cover had also just been glued down. I ripped the old cover off and replaced it with my new red vinyl and found myself in a predicament. Shoot! That’s a really ugly wrinkle! I did some searching online and tried getting the wrinkle out by drying it in my dryer for half an hour – that didn’t really work, it helped, but not good enough. My mother-in-law had bought us a little hand steamer for clothes and that worked! With the paint dry I brought the stool in, put on the new feet I bought for it and TADAH!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

I’ve already used this stool several times in my kitchen to reach the top shelves of my ceiling-height cabinets! It is just wonderful! And the whole cost only came to $12! I love that it is back where it belongs, I literally set it down in the same place where it always was before, in my Grandma’s kitchen. Things are a little different then they were back when this was her place but, to me, it is still the same place. Sometimes, I swear, for a split second when I run up the front steps and through the same screen door that was there when I was kid, I’m literally 11 again and I almost expect to see her sitting right there on that stool waiting for me.

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!pinit-cosco-stool-makeover


  1. May 19, 2016 at 2:27 am

    This is the sweetest post! Your grandma absolutely sounds like the coolest, and you’ve done an incredible job restoring her old stool. It looks amazing now!

  2. May 21, 2016 at 12:54 am

    I have two of these stools in my possession. One is in better shape than the other but the price was right on both. I think your makeover is awesome. My stools do not have the sentimental value that yours does but I would love to make them over and bring them back to life.

    • May 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Hello! I have been on the lookout for another one just like this one so we can have two matching stools in the kitchen but I haven’t been able to find one yet! Thank you!

  3. Sharon Harris
    May 23, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Oh, Tarah. You made me cry again. When I go up those same old steps and through the same doors, I expect to see the house they way it was and both Mother and Dad there waiting. So touching, what you wrote, and how you redid Mother’s old stool. Love you, Ta.

    Your aunt Sharon.

    • May 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Oh Sharon thank you so much! πŸ™‚ Love you too! And can’t wait for you to see it!

  4. June 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I remember back in the day every well equipped kitchen had a stool like this. Actually there are times I could use one now instead of standing on the counter trying to clean the top of the cabinets. Bad me right? The stool looks fantastic.

    • June 10, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      lol I used to stand on my counters to reach stuff all the time! We need to start a movement to bring these handy little stools back to the kitchen! Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  5. VivSmith
    July 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Gorgeous! BTW I hate to sound like a jerk, but the brand of chairs and stools is Cosco, not Costco. I remember noticing that on one my mom had. I love your blog and am super impressed by all the renovations you have done. Good work!

    • July 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Well, that’s good to know! Thanks for coming by! πŸ™‚

  6. August 26, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Loved hearing the history of this stool. The makeover is super!

    xo Dianne

  7. August 31, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    My sweet grandmother had a stool as well–a chippy white wooden one–right next to the washing machine (hers was always in the kitchen). I can picture her sitting there clear as day, taking a rest after cooking something delicious. I love how “things” can evoke such powerful memories of the people we love. Lovely post, Tarah. Thanks for linking it up with us at Vintage Charm πŸ™‚

    • September 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Diana, what a wonderful memory πŸ™‚ I love that I feel close to my grandma often when I’m here, sometimes I’m literally sitting on the same stool in the very same place she used to hang out every day. Thank you for sharing your memory and for stopping by!

  8. September 6, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I did the same thing!! I used turquoise for my seat, but I loved how it turned out and especially all the memories those stools hold. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • September 6, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Pamela, that’s wonderful! I’m thinking of getting another to match! Thanks!!

  9. October 4, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Items that have a treasured memory attached are the best. What an honour it is to redo that stool and share with the world how wonderful your grama was. I bet she is smiling. Beautiful job.

    • October 4, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Leanna, thank you so much I think she is too πŸ™‚

  10. October 17, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    wow! That is a huge transformation. I am so pleased that you have your grandmothers kitchen stool and have those memories come to mind every time you use it. Great job!
    πŸ™‚ gwingal

  11. October 17, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    It turned out great! What a wonderful memory you have of your grandmother and that stool!

  12. October 19, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Beautiful transformation! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW DIY party!

  13. October 19, 2016 at 5:07 am

    That is an amazing makeover and I love how you went with the original style, it looks fabulous!

  14. October 21, 2016 at 2:39 am

    I LOVE the stepstool. LOVE. I love that it’s red, too. I have a stepstool that is awaiting redoing also but it has a back and I’m not looking forward to that part of it. I love how yours came out. Best wishes, Linda @Crafts a la mode

  15. October 24, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Looks great now! Thank you for linking up with us at #HomeMattersParty .See you again next week.

    • October 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks Sahana, see you next week!

  16. October 28, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    My Grandmother had a yellow one that I inherited when she passed. It has been sitting in my garage for years and now you have inspired me to refinish it. Many talks took place on that old stool and I always think of her when I see it. You did a great job and I’m sure your grandmother is smiling down on you.

    • October 28, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Its so cool to hear similar stories about grandma’s and their stools πŸ™‚ I never could have given this one up and I was SO relieved when it wasn’t beyond repair!

  17. November 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Tarah, what an awesome job. How special to refurbish and bring back to life your grandmother’s stool. Your make~over turned out great. Thank you for sharing at Your Inspired Design.

  18. November 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I love how this turned out! πŸ™‚

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  19. November 9, 2016 at 2:51 am

    What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother! I understand the piercing pain in a girl’s soul when she loses a special woman in her life – particularly when that special woman is her grandma. She is smiling down on you right now. #happynowlinkup

    • November 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  20. November 9, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I have my grandma’s old Cosco stool also and agree that it brings so many memories! Grandmas are awesome and the memories treasured! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    • November 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you Diane and that is SO true!

  21. November 10, 2016 at 12:26 am

    What a great new look from the old stool! I keep my eye out for one like my Grandmother had. I would love to have one for my granddaughters! You did a great job!

  22. November 10, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    What sweet memories and a lovely, treasured stool. Congrats, you’re featured this week at the This Is How We Roll Link Party.

  23. November 11, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    What a sweet transformation. The stepstool looks so much better now. My MIL is always complaining that she can’t find a stepstool as good as the one she bought 30+ years ago. It’s good to know that I can fix her old stepstool up if I need to.

  24. November 12, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Love this! My mom had a similar stool, and I used to sit on it while I dried dishes, and told Mom about my day.

    • November 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      What a wonderful memory Deborah! Thank you for coming by!

  25. TeresaP
    November 15, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    I have my husband’s grandmother’s stool that is just like yours only yellow. We had to take ours apart and now it looks so much better. so many great memories of it in her kitchen. She just turned 101 last week.

    • November 16, 2016 at 3:42 pm

      Wonderful you kept her stool too! My grandma’s sister is turning 103 this year!

  26. November 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I have some wonderful memories of my Grandma too. She was such a special woman … not quite as cool as yours though. I learned so much from her and use those skills still today. As I get older I see her in the mirror. That’s a good thing πŸ™‚ I love what you did with Grandma’s stool … that stool will continue to make beautiful memories for you and your family! xo

    • November 16, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      That is a good thing πŸ™‚ I seem my grandma in my hands, they look so much like hers and more so every day lol I think about that sometimes, all the wonderful work she did here on the farm and now here are my hands doing the same things, pretty cool and wonderful to have good memories!

  27. November 17, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Love this makeover! Thanks for joining the #InspirationSpotlight party. Shared

  28. November 23, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Great job on this stool and so fantastic that you’ve preserved it for at least another generation or two – they’ll have their own memories of you, now.

    Thanks for bringing this by Throwback Thursday and Happy Thanksgiving!


    • November 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you so much Mollie, I’m so glad I was able to save it!

  29. November 26, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    I have an old Cosco stool that I need to makeover. Yours is incredible. Great inspiration! Thank you for sharing at the Snickerdoodle Create~Bake~Make link party! I am featuring your Cosco stool makeover to day.

    • November 28, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you so much Sharon!!!

  30. December 18, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Another fabulous project to revitalize a tired step stool.

    Bloggers Pit Stop

  31. January 9, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Wow! The transformation is awesome. I love the sentiment attached to it and that you could bring it back to life, without changing it. Thanks for sharing at the Wednesday Showcase party. hope to see you again πŸ™‚

  32. January 11, 2017 at 3:11 am

    My mom still has one of these stools!!
    I bet I could make it look so much better!!
    Thanks so much for this.

    • January 11, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks Jodie for coming by!

  33. April 7, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    I remember using one of those too… what a great restoring job on this… it looks great and I especially like that it is all tight and sturdy again. πŸ™‚

    • April 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you πŸ™‚ it really holds a lot of memories for me!

  34. April 11, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    I love the transformation and so fun it will always remind you of your Grandma. Thanks so much for sharing at the Friday at the Fire Station link-up!

  35. May 18, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    What a great makeover Tarah it looks great now and such a cool vintage look

  36. May 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    I love that you revamped this beautiful family stool! Love it!

  37. August 15, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    We had a stool like that growing up. Wish I had it now. Your transformation looks awesome! Saw this on the Reader Tip Tuesday link party – thanks for sharing!

  38. August 23, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Awesome makeover! Now I know what to do with my old rusty stool. Thanks for sharing it with us at the Waste Not Wednesday link party. Keep coming back and linking each week.

  39. August 24, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I LOVE this…
    It really turned out GREAT! Amazing what paint & fabric can do. It totally has new life. I hope we see you at the current Reader Tip Tuesday Party:
    It’s open all week & growing.

    • August 24, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks for coming by, have a great weekend!

  40. August 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Great job, Tarah! I love it, and I know your grandma would too!

  41. September 11, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    What a wonderful makeover though it seems more like a rebirth.

    • September 11, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Thank you so much Miriam, have a great week!

  42. October 23, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    This wonderful post is a HOME feature on the October You’re the STAR blog hop:

    • October 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Oh thank you so much Angie!

  43. January 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    That’s a great makeover. Growing up I remember my mother had a similar step stool in her kitchen, but I think we got rid of it years ago…Than you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

    • January 30, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks for coming by Teress!

  44. January 30, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Oh my word. My grandma had one of those stools. Way to make something old new again! #dreamteam

    • January 30, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      I love my old stool, so glad I was able to save it! Thanks for coming by, have a great week!

  45. February 2, 2018 at 5:53 am

    That is amazing work! It looks stunning, well worth the effort. #ThatFridayLinky

    • February 2, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Thank you! Have a great weekend!

  46. February 3, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Well done! It looks great! Thanks for joining in with #ThatFridayLinky

  47. Hunter
    February 22, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I have a vintage Cosco stool that is pretty beat up. I love how yours turned out. Question: how do you suggest replacing the black treads on the steps? I’d like to keep to the original look as much as possible. The ones on my stool are unsalvageable.

    • February 22, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Hi Hunter, I would suggest looking into the thin black, rubber mats/rugs at Walmart, you may find something really similar for the treads that you can gorilla glue down!

      • Hunter
        February 23, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        Thanks Tarahlynn…would they also have replacement ‘feet’?

        • February 26, 2018 at 4:05 pm

          Hi Hunter, yes I purchased replacement rubber feet from my local Ace hardware store!

  48. Gwen
    June 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    I have found a stool online– exactly like yours. I was wondering, how do you use the top step? Does the seat fold back? I have only seen the ones where the step ladder part folds out, so wasn’t sure how these type work… After seeing your transformation, I definitely must make a trip to buy that treasure!! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

    • June 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Yep the seat folds up to reveal the steps! I’ve actually been looking for another one so I could have a matched pair but they’re hard to find!

  49. July 8, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Wow!!! I have been trying to find find something like this. I wish I had seen it sooner!! (It took me a while to figure out what words to search.).
    Thanks so much!!

    • July 9, 2018 at 9:53 am

      So glad you found it Suzanne! That stool will be with me forever, I just love it!

  50. Nancy
    February 19, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Love giving new life to things. I had one in the late 60’s that had a yellow seat. I got rid of it and regretted it later. Last year I found one at a thrift store that was in bad shape but after I finished it looks great. Recovered seat in white( already had the vinyl) so cost nothing.
    You did a great job!

    • February 20, 2019 at 10:07 am

      Thank you Nancy! I looked high and low for a stool just like it for a pair but I never did find it unfortunately. I use it practically every day!

  51. Christy
    June 26, 2019 at 7:15 am

    I have similar from my late grandmother. My mother gave it to me knowing I’d show it love. But, I haven’t been able to fix the squeaks and wobbles! I’m wondering if adding any washers where the screws are might help. I tighten the screws every day and it continues to wobble. Looking for tips…

    • June 26, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Hey Christy, washers are a good idea! Mine was missing a couple of screws and that helped quite a bit. I tighten all the screws up every few months but honestly, my little stool is pretty wobbly and I don’t use it a lot but I love that I still have it and she’s safe and sound with me.

  52. Cheryl
    July 16, 2019 at 8:33 am

    I have this same stool but someone before I bought unbent an took off the seat. Any suggestions for replacement?

    • July 16, 2019 at 8:45 am

      Hi Cheryl So sorry to hear about that! A piece of wood cut to size and then upholstered could sit on top and be taken off when/if you want to use the stool.

  53. Amanda Taylor
    July 9, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    I love it! Reminds me of similar stools throughout my childhood. I have a question — years later, how is the paint holding up? Does the chrome still look good? Are you able to touch it up easily? I love that you held onto it until you could fix it up. πŸ™‚

    • July 10, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Hi Amanda, the only place the chrome paint has been wearing off is the top back of the stool where we grab it to move it. Otherwise its really been holding up well! I would definitely endorse that spray paint lol. Thanks for coming by!

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