Reupholstering Eleonora’s Rocking Chair

May 05 2023
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Moving on with our throwback posts this one published back in September of 2015 and was my first time reupholstering anything. Its funny looking back I didn’t remember how much I hated the fabric on this rocking chair after I got it done. I totally love it now! What I do remember though was what a long-fought job this was to get the old fabric off and finally refinish the whole chair. It was pretty icky actually. This little rocker is still with us up in our master bedroom closet where I use it every day!

Before and after of a rocking chair that I reupholstered, reupholster and refinished. From dowdy to fabulous, I fully sanded it

Before and after of a rocking chair that I reupholstered, reupholster and refinished. From dowdy to fabulous, I fully sanded it

Its pretty amazing to read back and realize how much has changed here at Grandma’s house! Here is the original post:

You’ve probably heard me mention once or twice now that I lost both of my Grandmas within just a few months of each other. The majority of the furniture and the old farmhouse and the whole journey started with the passing of my mom’s mom, Grandma Charlotte.

My dad’s mom (Grandma Eleonora) was not what I would have called a hoarder (she just knew how to keep a lot of things lol) so my dad and his siblings told all of their kids to head over there and pick what they wanted.

It wasn’t a good time.

In fact it was awful to go over to Grandma’s house, without her there, and just start choosing things – I felt like a vulture.

It was so incredibly sad.

I went down to her basement, a pinnacle place and memory of my childhood and I spotted this little rocking chair and I put my name on it.

Rocking chair upholstery and refinish before and after @GrandmasHousDIY

This is an old rocking chair that I’ve run into time and time again on pinterest so it is not an uncommon rocker. However, I have not yet seen one with the same wood design as mine, but the shape and general idea is the same.

I had never reupholstered anything before so this was a real learning curve for me because there was no way I was going to keep that ancient pinkish fabric, eeeww.

I also wanted to sand it down and stain it darker but this old rocker did not take stain very well nor did it sand well, nor was it worth it. I should have just added another coat of poly to the wood and called it a day but, ya live, ya learn, ya know.

All I can say is that this turned into a much nastier and messier project than I had ever anticipated. The seat was full of some kind of straw and stuff that became like dust and the amount of staples and nails used on all of it was absolutely mind boggling.

After two hours of pulling staples and an entire garbage bag full of the incredible amount of stuff that it had been stuffed with, it was ready to be remade and I was ready to never see it again.

At some point in this rocking chair’s life it lost the support that had been in the seat.

This rocking chair is bigger then it looks and it really needed something besides fabric for that big seat so I picked up a bunch of 1x2s and cut them down to size and covered the seat with a bit of a gap between them, I did the same with the back of the chair too.

From there I covered it in batting and chose the coolest fabric that I could find….

Its not very cool is it? Yeah… well… Admittedly I should have looked harder but my little home town only had so much to choose from.

Its ok…. I guess… but I suppose I will probably redo it someday… As for now though I’m pretty happy with the fabric on this old rocking chair, it should did brighten it up a bit!

Rocking chair upholstery and refinish before and after @GrandmasHousDIY

Taking a cue from This Awesome Blog I used trim to cover up all of my seams (hot glue guns are AWESOME, never mind the burns) and basically I just stretched the fabric and stapled it down.

What I would do different now that I’ve done this. I would spend more time picking out fabric.

I would NOT stretch my fabric so tightly.

I don’t know why I thought it had to be as tight as possible but no, it doesn’t need to be stranglehold tight, I figured this out after I had already screwed up the seat. Oh well. I will fix it someday but, for right now, I like it fine 🙂 

If you’re thinking of tackling a similar project, I totally recommend giving jacquard fabric a shot. The beautiful patterns and textures it offers can bring an elegant and sophisticated touch to your project. Plus, it’s durable, making it a smart choice for upholstery work.

And I think Grandma Eleonora would be really happy with her old rocking chair!

Rocking chair upholstery and refinish before and after @GrandmasHousDIY

Rocking chair upholstery and refinish before and after @GrandmasHousDIY

Rocking chair upholstery and refinish before and after @GrandmasHousDIY

Eleonora's grandma's ornate old antique rocking chair gets a complete makeover with sanding new stain refinish refinished before and afters diy new fabric


  1. March 3, 2016 at 2:20 am

    This turned out fabulously! What a difference the bright print makes. Thanks for adding your creativity to the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!


  2. March 3, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Great job on your rocking chair, I have as similar one that belonged to my MIL, I need to reupholster it, I have the material but it seems there are to many other things pressing in the spring to do.

    • March 3, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you! Yeah there’s always so much to do in the spring 🙂 We’ve still got a couple of weeks before spring officially gets this far north but I’ve already made to-do lists!

  3. March 3, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    your rocker has turned out wonderfully, I really like the fabric. your blog looks interesting, I’m off for a look around as I love old houses!

  4. March 4, 2016 at 2:29 am

    I love the fabric you chose to redo your chair. Very pretty.

    • March 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Thank you! I wasn’t so sure about it right away, it was the closest I could find to my vision of what I wanted but it has definitely grown on me!

  5. March 7, 2016 at 3:26 am

    I’m new to to your blog but think you are the sweetest thing to take on these projects to keep your grandma’s things and update them for your old/new home. I came over from Vintage Charm- it’s nice to meet you, Tarah!

    • March 7, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Oh thank you so much! Its really been a wonderful labor of love 🙂 Its great to meet you too – I love your blog!

  6. March 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I think your chair turned out amazing! I admire you for taking on such a difficult reupholstery project. We never know what surprises are under old fabric. The new fabric you chose is fun and fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Charm.

    • March 7, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks so much! I definitely went into to pretty darned scared of the whole project, I was so relieved it turned out ok!

  7. March 11, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Great upholstery redo. Hope to see this little chair and more…at Friday’s Fruniture Fix. I’d love to share it out. XOXO

    • March 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      Thank you! You’ll definitely see me there!

  8. March 12, 2016 at 1:41 am

    Sometimes the projects we think should be the easiest and simplest turn out to be the hardest with the biggest headaches 😉 You learned so much from this though and in the end produced a pretty fantastic makeover! Well done! It looks lovely! You should be proud of it.. it is a special piece. Your grandmother would be proud! If you are at all interested in joining in one more weekly party, I host Making Broken Beautiful over at the Curator’s Collection. It runs every Thursday thru Sunday and is a furniture and home decor party. I would be happy to host your talents! You do lovely work! I hope you have a great weekend!
    Making Broken Beautiful

    • March 14, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      Terry thank you so much and for coming by! I’ll definitely go check out Making Broken Beautiful, sounds like a place I would fit right in 🙂 Thank you! I’m so relieved it turned out well! I still think I might change up the fabric one day but, for now, I love how bright and funky it is!

  9. Nancy F Lambert
    April 18, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Amazing job! The fabric complements the stain color of the chair, very nice.

  10. April 26, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Wow, Tarah, what an amazing transformation! You certainly have an amazing talent! I don’t think I could even begin to take on such a project! Thank you so much for sharing this over at the Celebrate Your Story! link party! I am pinning this one to my Crafty furniture board!

  11. Amy
    May 3, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Love this chair and the fabric you picked! Beautiful! I’ve seen a couple of your posts. I would love to see pictures of the backs of your pieces (especially the rocker). I’m toying with the idea of reupholstering a chair and would be interested in how you finished the back.

    • May 3, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      The back is a solid piece of fabric stretched and stapled around the edges and cut to size, then the edging/staples I just covered up with that pretty little trim and lots of hot glue 🙂 Thanks for coming by!!

  12. May 9, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    This is a cool rocking chair!! I’m glad you took the time to restore it. You did a great job on this! Thanks for sharing at Sweet Inspiration!

  13. May 9, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    You did a great job! Thanks for sharing at Meet up Mondays!

  14. May 10, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Oh, wow! What a transformation! I’d like to feature this post today at Tuesdays with a Twist! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    • May 10, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Oh thank you so much! I would love it if you featured it!!

  15. May 11, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    It looks absolutely gorgeous now! Great DIY.

    Thanks for linking up with us on Welcome Home Wednesday!

    liz @ j for joiner

  16. May 23, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Love the fabric and think it turned out great!

  17. May 25, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Wow! That came out amazing. I love your story. Each piece of furniture has a meaning and a sentiment and you are breathing new life into it. It is just beautiful. Can’t wait to see what you do next.

    • May 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      So true, every piece carries a story with it, I love that I think of my grandma so often and I get to keep and make beautiful again something of hers. Thank you Melissa!

  18. June 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Wow – what a difference! How did you fix that seat??
    Thanks for sharing on the DIY party!

    • June 2, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      After ripping off the fabric I discovered there was no actual support for the seat so I bought some really thin strips of wood and just ran a few of them over it for support tacking them down with nails 🙂 Thank you for coming by!

  19. June 7, 2016 at 3:37 am

    What a great makeover. Thank you for sharing. You are one of the fan favorites at the Sunday Showcase from the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Here is the link to this week’s Showcase so you can check out your feature. Happy week to you. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  20. June 13, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Tarah, you did an amazing job! As a furniture restoring queen from way back, I hear you on the sheer volume of work involved in bringing these pieces back to life. Your rocking chair looks fabulous and I bet your Grandmother would be proud. I’d love it if you’d come and share this project at my Five Star Frou-Frou linkup at A Tray of Bliss. We’d love to host you. Mimi xxx

    • June 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Thank you so much Mimi! I don’t know if I’ll be tackling any upholstery jobs again any time soon but it was definitely worth it!

  21. June 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    How goregous this is. I love the pattern you chose and the colors are vibrant. Nice work. I bet it is comfy to sit in too. Rocking chairs are so relaxing. Thanks for sharing your masterpiece with us at my party this week.

    • June 16, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you Michelle! I keep it in my office and when I need a break from the screen I curl up in this rocking chair and grab a book of poetry or something and take a break, it is very comfortable. 🙂

  22. June 21, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I think the fabric is beautiful. This is an amazing makeover. I am happy to read your tips, I have a chair I am thinking about, but I am a little afraid and a little hesitant. Thanks so much for sharing this at Celebrate Your Story!

    • June 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      This one really scared me because it was my first try at fabric anything but I figured I had to try! lol thank you so much for coming by!

  23. June 22, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Wow…this looks so great!! 🙂

    I would love for you to share this with my AMAZING Facebook Group with over 300 Members to share easy craft projects and recipes:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  24. June 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Wow I think it looks amazing! I love the fabric you picked. I would be scared I would have done irreversible harm, but you totally NAILED this. Great job!

    Thanks for linking up over at the Happy Now!

  25. June 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Looks like a brand new chair! You did an awesome job :]

    Edye |

  26. June 23, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Tarah, I love the fabric you chose and the color of the wood is luxurious. Great Job. Sylvia D.

  27. June 23, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    I love making over furniture and you did a fabulous job with this makeover. Thank you for linking up at Funtastic Friday!

    • June 24, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Thank you Lacie! Its so much fun to see an old piece get new life again!

  28. June 24, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Thanks for sharing on Peace, Love, Linkup! The next party goes live tomorrow at 6. I hope you stop by and share more great content : )

    • June 24, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      I’ll be there! Thank you Ashleigh!

  29. June 24, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    This is a beautiful transformation-I just love it-shared it too!
    Thank you for joining us at TOHOT!

  30. June 25, 2016 at 2:15 am

    What a gorgeous transformation. Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful post at Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

  31. June 26, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I love that you saved something old but made it your own. I love the bright colors in the fabric you chose. It really looks so much brighter and more fun than the old pink stuff.
    Great project. Thank you so much for sharing to the Monday Mish Mash.

  32. June 28, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Tarahlynn! You’re grandmother would most definitely be proud of the beautiful job you did! What a transformation. I’m so glad you shared this! Thank you for linking up at DI & DI 🙂

  33. elaine
    June 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    What a great re-do!! I love it!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again this week!! Pinned!

  34. July 6, 2016 at 1:21 am

    I have to say I love the fabric – but then I’m a Grandma, lol! I really like that you talked about some of the learning process – and what you can get into!! Thanks for sharing with us at Throwback Thursday!


  35. July 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Like previous commenters, I actually love that fabric. The chair looks fantastic.

  36. July 7, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Awesome job! Did I understand it correctly that you made a support for both the seat and back before adding the batting? I’m considering redoing an old chair, too, and am encouraged with your success. Thanks for sharing!

    • July 7, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Hi Zenda! I did add supports to the seat and the back because there was nothing there! I went to my local lumber yard and bought the thinnest trim I could find, I don’t think it was more then 1/4 inch thick and only about an 1 and 1/2 wide, I was able to cut it with a big pair of wire cutters lol. I just tacked several slats down on the seat and back with little nails and a hammer. I knew the fabric etc would give it a lot of support so it didn’t need to be too serious – so sorry I didn’t get pictures of that! Thanks!

  37. July 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I love the fabric you used! Good work! 😉

  38. July 13, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Looks lovely! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  39. July 13, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Taralynn, I love the rocking chair … I have one that I just won’t give up. It was my great-grandma’s and I have reupholstered it many times. I love that chair. When I sit in it, which is every night, the rocking soothes me and I can feel my great-grandma’s love. You did a beautiful job with your fabric choice! Thank you so much for sharing with us at #SimplifyWednesdays ! Pinned, Tweeted, Shared

    • July 13, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      Carla, I know exactly how you feel! This rocker will be with me for the rest of my life, I love sitting in it – it reminds me of my gran every day 🙂 Thank you for coming by and commenting!

  40. July 28, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    This is such a beautiful chair and I love the wood trim! The fabric is gorgeous, too! Thanks so much for sharing your post at Together on Tuesdays 🙂

  41. August 8, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I love how you transformed the rocker. Love that fabric. Someday I want to learn how to do it. Haven’t made the time yet, but I keep getting inspired by people like you. Thanks for sharing at Let’s Get Real Party.

    • August 8, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Karen, it actually wasn’t that hard, I was very apprehensive going into it but I think the rocker was probably the easiest project I could have tackled when it came to upholstery! Thank you for coming by!

  42. August 12, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Such a gorgeous redo of that rocking chair! It definitely looks like it took a lot of time and love! It was worth it though – the outcome is gorgeous!

  43. August 16, 2016 at 2:50 am

    I love how this chair turned out – the fabric was a great choice for the update. This whole post warmed my heart – would you believe that my middle name is Eleonora? Spelled just the same as your grandmother’s name. I don’t see it very often. Thank you for sharing on Family Joy Blog Link-Up Party. Have a great week!

    • August 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you Christina! Ya know for most of my Grandma’s life she just went by “Eleanor” because it was easier but she told me not long before her passing that her full name (and correct pronunciation) was “Eleonora” and I just loved it! In my head now I think of her as Leo 😉

  44. August 24, 2016 at 1:34 am

    Hi Tarah,
    My condolences on losing your grandmas. What a great idea about the furniture. Glad you and your man found each other.
    Thanks for bringing your post to Blogger’s Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  45. September 6, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    The rocker looks great, Tarah, and I love that it belonged to your grandmother! Good job and thanks for sharing with us at No Place Like Home.


  46. Barb
    October 9, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    It’s just lovely and what Grandma wouldn’t be proud of that!! I actually like the fabric!

    • October 10, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Thank you Barb! The fabric grew on me 🙂

  47. October 9, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Wow, great job and that wood detail is amazing. I bet that’s either a French or British style…

  48. Candy Walsh
    October 9, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    You did a great job Tarah! And I like the fabric~everybody needs some color in their life right? I redid a chair recently and when it came time to take the seat off and the old fabric off, I felt the same way. I touched it as little as possible to use it as a template to cut my new fabric, lol. It was so disgusting, which I guess is just the age, but the fillers they used to cover it with, ugh, some of it I had no idea what it was, lol. I’ll have to send you a pic of the finished chair, I love it! And guess where I got my fabric? It’s a fabric shower curtain! Worked out perfectly!
    Your grandmother would definitely be proud!

    • October 10, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Candy, thank you so much 🙂 I would love to see your chair! Yup, I couldn’t believe how gross it all was lol I took it a part inside and totally wished I had done it in the garage!

  49. October 15, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Love it Tarah, looks very nice! It sounds like it was quite a project but now look what you have to love and enjoy in your home. Saw your link at your very own To Grandma’s House We Go Link Party #5.

  50. February 10, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I love the new colours of this chair – it is so bright

  51. February 14, 2017 at 5:01 am

    This chair makeover is very nicely done. Like you I have very little choice in fabrics where I live, but I like the choice you made. The fabric is bright and cheerful.

    Strengthening it as you did will likely pay off in many more years of rocking.

    Great job.

  52. February 14, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Wow, what a great makeover. I hate all that nasty stuff when you take the upholstery apart but it is so worth it.

    • February 15, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Thank you! Yeah it was amazingly icky!

  53. February 20, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Hello Tarah,
    It’s really awesome makeover your rocking chair. Really, love your post. You create a new look this rocking chair. Great work! It is so romantic with the new fabric. My sister has a nursing rocking chair. I also create a new look my sister nursing rocking chair.Thank you share an awesome post.

    • February 20, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you so much Tina!!

      • May 13, 2017 at 6:28 am

        Thanks again for your nice post and blog, Tarah.

  54. March 3, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Nice transformation… and the chair looks comfortable… worth the time to save. 🙂

  55. March 8, 2017 at 4:21 am

    The rocking chair turned out great! Thanks so much for linking up at the Friday at the Fire Station link-up!

  56. March 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for being so honest about your struggles and triumphs with this project! So often all we see is a beautiful finished project, and we assume it was super easy and then we get frustrated when we try it ourselves and find it to be much more challenging than we anticipated. You did a beautiful job! The fabric is cheerful, and I agree that the detailing on that chair is unique, I’ve never seen anything like it! Beautiful!
    Thanks for sharing at My Busy Beehives #beeparty this week! Please come again!

    • March 29, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Thank you so much Julie! I really try to be honest whenever I post about a project so often bloggers online make it look so easy and that’s normally not the case – DIY can be really hard lol But SO worth it in the end!

  57. May 17, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I love the fabric that you chose for this rocking chair! Simply Beautiful Coffee&Conversation Linkup


    • May 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Thanks Misty! I was on the fence about it initially but that fabric has totally grown on me now!

  58. May 25, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Love that you have been able to give such a beautiful piece a new lease on life. Loved the fabric you chose with the gorgeous wood! So precious also that it belonged to your Grandma!

    Thank you for sharing it with us over at Waste Not Wednesday and congratulations on being featured!

  59. May 27, 2017 at 3:22 am

    What a gorgeous fabric! You have made such a lovely job of this chair! Family furniture is so precious. It really is hard losing those you love so close together. My parents died within 6 weeks of each other and it took me years to come to terms with it. Your chair make over is a lovely tribute to your Grandma. Thank you so much for sharing with us at The Hearth and Soul Link Party.

    • May 27, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you so much April for your thoughtful comment. *hugs* for what you’ve been through and your loss. I’m very glad I have pieces like this to keep and remember her by.

  60. June 14, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Looks lovely!!

  61. September 12, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    It turned out stunning. It’s not simple feat either. A lot of love goes into reupholstering.

    • September 12, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you Kristin! This was my first attempt at upholstery and it is definitely not for the faint of heart!

  62. September 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    What a transformation. Really gorgeous. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday – please remember to only link one post per week 🙂

    • September 18, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Hey Lisa, sorry about that, only one post per week next time!

  63. September 19, 2017 at 5:57 am

    What a transformation – I want this in front of my wood burner now! #WasteLesswednesday

  64. October 25, 2017 at 6:51 am

    I absolutely loved the fabric pattern you picked out! #HumpDayLinky

  65. October 27, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Good job! It looks amazing! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  66. October 27, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I love the new fabric. Thank you for sharing at The Really crafty link Party. Pinned!

  67. October 27, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Oh that’s fab. I’m so impressed that you managed to change the whole feel of the rocking chair by switching it’s fabric to something much more modern. It’s gorgeous. Thanks for sharing with the #dreamteam xx

  68. October 29, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Very creative fab finish Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

  69. October 31, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Ah so sorry to hear about the loss of both of your grandmas. But that chair is absolutely gorgeous and I’m glad you’ve got lovely memories of her in your home. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  70. November 1, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Looks like you did a fab job to me x

  71. Cynthia Bosque
    July 7, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Love it! I found an antique rocking chair and stripped the seat fabric and old foam but the back side is more difficult to pull out. I painted the fabric but not sure I love it. Are there any special tools or tricks to remove the fabric on the back support?

    • July 8, 2019 at 8:17 am

      Hi Cynthia, I’m sorry to say I have no secrets when it came to getting the fabric off. It was royal pain in the BUTT! I used several pairs of pliers, I think the needle nose was the most effective. I also used flat headed screw drivers to help get under the screws. Good luck!!

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