Vintage Greek Key Dining Chair Update

You remember those vintage Greek key dining chairs I found last year?  In case you missed it, I blogged about them here.  I bought a set of 6 chairs for $120 at a thrift store in Alexandria, VA, and then after doing some research I found out that they are really nice and were being sold for $6,750 on 1stDibs.  (Crazy, huh?)  They needed to be painted, the seats needed new padding, and the fabric desperately needed to be updated.  After months of putting it off, I finally made them…and after months of forgetting to blog about it…I finally present to you the complete DIY project! 

Here are a few of the before pics:

The chairs are very solid and the Greek key detailing was a nice whimsical touch.  Great bones mean lots of potential, and I knew that with a little love they would look amazing.

My first step was to redo all of the slip seats.  I took the seats off and took off the fabric and old padding.  I used the wooden part of the seat as my template for the foam.  (I believe I used 1 inch foam.)  I cut the foam a little larger than the seat so that it would wrap around and give a plush look.  You can buy this type of foam at Joann’s or almost any fabric store.

Next I measured the batting so that it would be slightly larger than the foam.  Then the fabric was cut so that it was slightly larger than the batting.  Layer them in this order: fabric, batting, foam then seat base.

I started stapling on the sides and worked around to the corners.  I used 3/8″ staples because you need them to be long enough to hold the fabric taut (but not too long or it’ll go all the way through the wood).  

After lots of stapling I had a slip seat that was both comfortable and pretty to look at.

The next step was to paint the chairs.  We opted for black lacquer spray paint because I wanted a shiny finish.  We sanded, primed and then applied 2 coats of black paint.  I have noticed that we have a few nicks on the chairs now, so I probably should have finished them with a top coat that sealed everything in.  Lesson learn!

Finally, the chairs were finished and ready to be used! 

Aren’t they fun?  I don’t know how practical the white fabric is on dining chairs, but I guess I’ll re-look that once we have children.  For now, I love them!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. April 6, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    They are awesome! A black Sharpie is a great temporary fix for the dings!

  2. April 11, 2015 / 3:27 pm

    what a steal! these look like a million dollars…much more than their 1st dibs price. love the bold update.

  3. Tanya Carroll
    July 20, 2023 / 3:55 pm

    Thank you for the blog about the Greek key chairs. Do you know who the Maker of them was? Year of production?

    • July 28, 2023 / 10:12 am

      Hi! I never learned more about them and they have since been replaced. My guess is that they are from the 1960s, but I’m not sure!

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