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upholstered tulip chair 1

The tulip chair cushions are back from the upholsterer!

I feel a bit uppity and unworthy typing that. This is the first time I’ve hired a professional to sew anything for me. I have a sewing machine. I can sew. But these four cushions were beyond my skill set. I’m talking pucker-prone fabric and heavy duty zippers. Just to be sure, I did try a rough first draft at home on my machine but the results were unacceptable and unsightly. I didn’t take a picture {too embarrassed} but, believe me, it was bad.

FYI – The chairs are from Overstock and come with cheap, white cloth cushion covers. From the beginning, I knew I would be replacing them. White fabric isn’t ideal for a dining chair and after just one wash, the covers were falling apart. The chairs themselves are great though!

upholstered tulip chair 2

I bit the bullet and hit up a reputable, local upholsterer. I had no idea what to expect price wise for labor but in my mind anything <$300 would be worth it. After negotiating {I always ask for a quote and then follow up with “what if I pay cash?”}, labor came in at $175. I chose a vinyl leather lookalike. It was a bit costly per yard but I only needed 2 yards. For a well used surface like dining seating, I told myself it was a good investment. I didn’t want to choose something less expensive or of lesser quality just to have it falling apart and stained beyond repair in a year or two. This vinyl is in it for the long haul. And if you ask me, it’s the most convincing leather lookalike I’ve ever seen in person. It even has the texture and feel of real leather. The cognac is pretty spot on, too. So, so yummy.

upholstered tulip chair 3

When I gave the covers a shot on my own, my seam was terribly uneven and puckered. Vinyl is notorious for that. This one is particularly stretchy which makes it even more difficult to work with. When I picked up the cushions, the upholsterer told me he had to redo the first cover and pull it tighter because the fabric has so much give to it.

upholstered tulip chair 5

I remove the sheepskins when we’re eating and the cushions are completely wipeable which makes cleaning up after family meals relatively easy. We have quite a few messy eaters over here!

upholstered tulip chair 4

The original covers had to be attached to the chairs with velcro which came included. Otherwise, they slid around and off the chairs. The good thing about the vinyl is it has an innate “sticking” ability {but it doesn’t feel sticky at all} so no velcro is needed. The cushions stay in place on their own.

upholstered tulip chair 6

I have to say…paying someone else to the dirty work this time around wasn’t exactly fulfilling but it was just as rewarding and 1000% easier. Usually, I end up cursing my sewing machine and sending it into exile for months before finding the courage / patience to break it out again. I’m learning to pick my battles.

Have you ever hired out for something you know how to do but were worried your results would be subpar OR you just didn’t want to do it?

UPDATE: Per several reader requests, the tulip chair sans sheepskin…

upholstered dining chairs

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

43 Comments

13.November.2013

Looks great ! I always hire out for painting ceilings. I do love a good rolling session but not with my neck backwards ! And I feel that a bad painted ceiling just screams “look at me and the messy job up here !!” Keep with this amazing work and take care.

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13.November.2013

The cushions look really great! I would be curious to see how the chairs look without the sheepskins.

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13.November.2013

We hire out taping and mudding. We have done quite a bit of dry walling and my husband always stalls at taping and mudding. So, it’s worth the 2 days to have some one come in to tape mud and sand and then have my husband jump back in ready to tackle the rest. Adds cost but means the job will get done.

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13.November.2013

They look fantastic!

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13.November.2013

Wow. You made the perfect choice with those cushions. Your dining room looks fantastic. Seriously, it’s magazine-worthy; you should send those shots out. I am saving up to have slipcovers made for the sofa in our living room. I haven’t priced it out yet, but when I do, I am definitely going to use your “What if I pay cash?” as a negotiation tool. Great advice.

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13.November.2013

Looks great! Can you share the name/brand of the vinyl and where you purchased it? I’ve never seen any that looks that nice.

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13.November.2013

I hire out upholstery and slipcover jobs, too. I even had my upholsterer make throw pillows because I didn’t feel like making them (yes, I can sew, and yes, I’ve made my own covers in the past). Not everything needs to be DIY. Sometimes it’s nice to just get projects done without them sitting around waiting for us to have time to start/finish them. Having a lot of unfinished projects hanging around is overwhelming. That said, I’m painting and building built-ins in our playroom myself. :)

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Those covers look SO SO SO good! Sometimes it is 110% worth hiring out…this was a great decision! Now I want these chairs for our dining room table!

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13.November.2013

They look fantastic! I know that hiring out a job like that would be the right choice for me. I can sew a bit, but contoured vinyl cushions are out of my league. In my opinion, there’s a place for both DIY and professional work. Some work requires such specialized knowledge and skills that it just wouldn’t be possible for a DIY-er to teach themselves in a reasonable amount of time. Better to save your effort for jobs that you can do as well as (or better than!) the “pros,” and instead support craftsmen who truly deserve the title.

By the way, I agree with the previous commenter that I would love to see the cushions in all their glory without the sheepskins!

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13.November.2013

Oooohhhh!! The cushions are in the cushions are in! Looks good. From pics it looks like the same color as your couch, eh?

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replied on November 13th, 2013

Yes, very similar! I’m hoping it will help the two rooms {living + dining} feel more cohesive even though the walls are painted different colors.

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13.November.2013

I just hired out cleaning our bathrooms… I really hate doing that part! Seriously the lady was like “just the bathrooms, are you sure?’ yep, we’ll do the rest! totally worth the small cost!

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13.November.2013

We also live in the Dayton area, and we used Springboro Upholstery to reupholster a craigslist rocking chair for my son’s nursery. They did a STELLAR job. So worth it.

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replied on November 13th, 2013

They did my cushions!

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Those look so good! I’m considering doing this for my ghost chairs — the ol’ Ikea sheepskins are starting to look real tired.

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13.November.2013

IF you REALLY want to focus on the mats on the chair, YOU are going to have to not put pictures of Mabrey in them… she is so dang cute that I paused so long to admire her long eye-lashes that I completely forgot what I was doing. I love how she snuggles on the soft spots of the sheepskin. AND, I never hire out what I can do… it goes against my LDS upbringing…that would be like throwing out aluminum foil after the first use…lol.

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13.November.2013

The chairs look great! We are currently having a brick wall installed inside our home. My husband is very handy, but there are just some things that are better left to professionals!

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13.November.2013

I love the chairs, Dana! Cognac is a great color!

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13.November.2013

I am so glad you linked to where you got the chairs. I scanned every dining room post again after seeing them a few weeks ago to no avail. That said, did you simply use a coupon on them or do they go on sale from time to time? I just bought a new (used) table that these would be perfect for, but I know my hubby won’t go for spending $1200 on chairs.

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replied on November 13th, 2013

The chairs weren’t as expensive when we bought them and I did wait until I had a 12% off coupon show up in my inbox. It helped that we only bought four and then used two other less expensive options for the “heads” of the table. Would you be able to do something similar?

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13.November.2013

Love how you warmed up the white chairs with the cognac cushions. And eating areas are all about easy cleaning in my mind. So nice to see you marry good looks with easy clean-up!

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MMMmm. Yeah. So on point, Dana.

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13.November.2013

They look great, I love it.

Are the sheep skins from Ikea? Is this the fake or the real one?

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14.November.2013

Not chair related at all….I just realized how much I miss the fuzzi bunz days in this house and those big chunky thighs ;)

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replied on November 14th, 2013

I know! I’m trying to soak ‘em up while they last.

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14.November.2013

The “leather” looks amazing! So worth it to have them done professionally.

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replied on November 14th, 2013

Thanks Nicole!

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14.November.2013

Your chairs and dining room look amazing! The chairs are so unique and the cushions being kid friendly is a major plus! I am very new to the blogging world and I am really enjoying discovering new blogs to follow. Keep up the great work!

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14.November.2013

I love your blog and home! Well done on both.

May I ask where you bought the sheepskin? I’m looking for something similar for my desk chair.

Thank you!

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replied on November 15th, 2013

IKEA!

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15.November.2013

Can you share your vinyl source? I’m thinking my poang could use an update with this:) Thanks!

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I love how functional and yet stylish they are! Love the combination of fabrics and textures so far :)

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22.November.2013

I love everything you have done to your budget friendly home (except) the sheepskin on the chairs…not my fav

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15.January.2014

Hi, i love your dining room decor, especially the chandelier over the table.. can you pls. direct me to one.. uuhhh uhhh uhhh I LOOOOVE!! :)

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replied on January 15th, 2014

Crate & Barrel!

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15.January.2014

How timely! I have a smokey lucite and chrome tulip table/chairs set and am looking at new cushion covers. I was quoted $55 per cushion in labor plus the cost of fabric, which would be 3 yards or so. I love the idea of vinyl in white for a contrast against the darker tulip chairs… I might have to bite the bullet in the cost… DIYing with vinyl is definitely out of my range!

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15.February.2014

I love your dinning area, can you share where you got your table?

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replied on February 16th, 2014

It’s the West Elm Boerum table in natural.

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17.February.2014

[…] a teeny dining room off the kitchen. We relocated the dining room to the mudroom (sounds strange, works beautifully for us) to make better use of the space. We vaulted the ceiling, added skylights and replaced the […]

09.June.2014

Hey, can I ask where you got the vinyl?? I just inherited some vintage chairs and the cushions are still from the 50s so they have seen much better days. I love yours!

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replied on June 9th, 2014

I really need to get with the upholsterer and write down the exact source for the leather lookalike. I will let you know!

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10.July.2014

Would you mind sharing where you got your sheepskins? Thanks!

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replied on July 11th, 2014

Ikea!

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