Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dumpster Desk Chair

Well, Next to Dumpster Desk Chair is a more accurate title. I admit that I’m not brave enough to get IN a dumpster for a great find. Yet.

This little beauty was just hanging out next to one of the dumpsters by our condo. As much as we want to buy a house, I do love having shared dumpsters because people will throw out some amazing stuff that you can just snatch up for free.

 Beauty may have been an exaggeration.

This chair’s round shape reminded me of so many I’ve seen around the web. I knew I could make it a perfect addition to my office for a fraction of the cost. And a hell of a lot of scrubbing with disinfectant.

Similar version at IKEA for $149.00

I liked the silver base but it was a bit rusty and I was definitely not a fan of the green vinyl. I’m not very skilled with needle and thread so I feared I would not be able to tackle reupholstering the chair. I am a kick ass spray painter though. After a little searching on the internet, I found the perfect solution. Vinyl spray paint!

Price and shipping combined made it a little pricier than I normally spend on spray paint. I looked for a can or two in a nearby store but no dice. I thought of using regular spray paint but I was afraid it would split and tear with repeated use. And, as a desk chair, it would get plenty of use. I bit the bullet and bought a can. In hindsight, I should have bought two or three. According to customer reviews, it had excellent coverage but I was going from a dark color to white. Lesson learned! Needless to say, I had to wait a few weeks to complete this project because shipping took FOR-EVER. But, the product itself did a good job. I had a few areas with some lumps but they brushed right off when the paint dried. That could have been caused by the humidity. I live in the South and humidity is the bane of my spray paint existence.

 I wanted to add a pop of color to the seat. I found this fabric at a local discount fabric store for about $7 a yard. I bought two yards because I loved the pattern; I knew I would use it elsewhere. However, I didn't use that much for this project.

I didn’t develop a talent for sewing during the (long) process of spray painting so I still had a dilemma on my hands. How would I attach the fabric to the seat and make it durable?


I love this stuff! I’ve used it for all kinds of projects and it holds like the dickens. I used a stuffing stick (not sure the technical name) that was in a package of polyester stuffing to tuck the fabric into the corners and edges. I did this first without gluing to make sure I had enough fabric and that the pattern was straight.

Once I made sure the pattern was level and the fabric would cover the area, I pulled out one half of the fabric at a time and began applying glue to the edges and the cushion.

Then, using my trusty stuffing stick, I tucked the fabric once again and smoothed out any wrinkles as I went along. I let it dry for a good 24 hours, just to be safe. This adhesive is strong and, as much as I love this chair, I didn’t want to be permanently attached to it.

Tada! The after:

I love it and I’m happy to report that the chair has been used multiple times with no slipping, ripping, or any other kind of atrocities.

Budget breakdown:
·         Chair – Free from the side of the dumpster
·         Vinyl spray paint - $25 (with shipping)
·         Fabric - $7 (for one yard)
·         Stuffing stick – on hand
·         Adhesive – On hand

Grand total = $32!!

That’s $117 less than the cheap IKEA version. Can I get a holla?!

I've linked this project to these sites:


  1. Gotta love dumpster finds! And you've definitely turned your into a treasure. Good job. How is the vinyl spray paint holding up? It doesn't crack? did you seal it?

  2. Really nice.Pictures you were placed here are really amazing.Your choice of words is really good.

    dumpster rental

  3. @anne jhonson

    Thanks! I've been working on my picture quality. I appreciate the compliment!

  4. I've never heard of vinyl spray before (you learn something new every day!). I can't believe the transformation it has come up so completely different. What a great find :)

  5. @Michelle

    I was lucky to find the chair and the spray paint. Thanks for the comment!

  6. This may be my favorite chair make-over yet! Thanks for the info on vinyl spray paint! Definitely going to bookmark the source. :)

  7. Super job! I am impressed!

  8. wow that's so awesome! Very inspiring thank you!

  9. Got here from Better After...... - one of the coolest chair makeovers ever! You had great vision of what it could be - not everyone would have seen the possibilities, surely not me!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Sensai I've learned from you today. This vinyl spray paint has my head spinning!

  12. They make spray paint for vinyl???! COOL. I love your techniques to get this chair down. You just made it work!! It looks totally awesome now!!!

  13. Great find.I did the same. found a Chandy is a dumpster,was so excited, I called a neighbor to show her. Yes...she has thrown it out that morning. guess what. It was marked Italy, and saw one on the Antique site. It's worth $2,500.00. Some say trash,and we say treasure.

  14. awesome dumpster find, awesome finished product, and AWESOME tutorial! I'm so ANNOYED at myself now for turning down like six of these chairs (FREE!) from a friend last year! AHHHHH! Anyways, I'd love it if you'd share this over at Trash to Treasure Tuesdays on the Korner! :)

  15. I had no idea there was vinyl spray paint! So glad to hear it cause' the only other vinyl I've seen painted was done with that $$$$$ chalk paint. Great job! I'm following too. Stop by and visit anytime, Lori

  16. Just wondering about the legs & wheels on this chair. they look fairly beat up in the original photo. What did you have to do to those?

  17. @Genevieve

    Oops! Forgot to mention that part. I scrubbed and sanded them, then added two light coats of chrome spray paint. It didn't take much paint because the legs were already silver. The paint helped cover up the blemishes. Thanks for pointing that out!

  18. @Lori

    Chalk paint? Really? That's cool! It would be more expensive but you would have more color options. The vinyl stuff only came in a few colors. It worked for me though because I wanted white.

  19. @Kammy's Korner

    Aww man, sorry to hear that! I've turned down some free stuff before too and kicked myself for it. I console myself by saying, "if it was meant to be, I would I have it," like a mantra. It helps.

  20. @Anonymous

    A $2500 find is just awesome. Tell me you have it somewhere in your home because that is a GREAT story!

  21. Thank you so so so much for all of your amazing comments. You all have put a huge smile on my face!

  22. AMAZING!!!! Just saw your post on "Better After". This is genius, I've never heard of vinyl spray paint. I definitely have o tr this!!

  23. I saw vinyl paint at an automotive paint store, so yo might not have to order it. It was for redoing interiors of cars. They even had paint for carpets!

  24. I have 4 of these chairs in a ugly tan color. U just saved my life. Now I know what to do with them.:)