Before & After
How to Recover a Chair in 5 minutes

I got an “Ask Karen” question from Brittney recently.  Brittney wanted to know if she could reupholster chairs even though she’d never done it before.  Um … yeah!  Of course you can.  You can do anything!!

My philosophy is always, go ahead and try it.  Where would you be right now if you’d never tried a potato chip or a chocolate milkshake?  Miserable and living in a ditch probably.

So if you ever think to yourself “I wonder if I could (insert anything here)” just go ahead and try it.   If it doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time, you’re closer to being able to do it perfectly the next time (this philosophy only becomes problematic for  bomb diffusers and brain surgeons.)

And if all else fails (I’m talking to you Brittney,) try this trick.


Chair found abandoned at the side of the road

Mongolian lamb throw (or anything else that blows your skirt up)





The throw I used here is a genuine 100% Mongolian lamb throw which makes you want to sink right into it, but real Mongolian lamb is expensive.  I was lucky, I got this throw on sale.  If you want to make this more affordable absolutely get a faux throw.  If you happen to own genuine Mongolian lamb and are wondering if you can wash it, the answer is YES you can!  You just have to be careful.  Here’s how to wash your Mongolian lamb including all the tips and tricks you need to know.

I literally threw the blanket (hence the term “throw” I guess) over the chair.  No sewing, no stapling, no nothing.  And if you get sick of it you just pull the throw off, at which point I’m sure it could be constructed with very little effort into a prancing goat costume for Halloween.

So win, win.


  1. Jane m Jacobsen says:

    I bought a GReek Rya rug–long .fluffy white pile like a sheepskin. I spread it out on the floor and my two Siamese kittens came in to see what was happening, spotted the rug and laid down it. They both began to purr and knead with their paws. Looked like Mama’s tummy to them!

  2. janni says:

    **a prancing goat costume** ? ? ?

  3. Just found your site from a facebook friend who posted your crispy sweet potato fries recipe (which I’m trying tonight). I love your garbage chair, mantel globe lights and stump tables. I recently acquired two “garbage” chairs that was going to attempt to upholster, but now I might just use a fluffy throw on one… attempt upholstering the other. Also, I have a couple of logs drying out in my garage as we speak. Looking forward to coating them. What product did you use on the log table?

  4. Lex says:

    I doubt I could do that.. only because I have now been scared about the possibility of bed bugs on everything!

    • Karen says:

      Ah yes. I got this chair before the bedbug craze. Also it isn’t quite as bad in Canada (where I am) but it’s definitely getting worse. Hearing stories. Blech. ~ karen

  5. Dallas says:

    Do I spy Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic books on your book shelf?

  6. Cassie Moore says:

    Okay… I too have admired this chair in pictures and video for a long time. I cannot find mongolian lamb anything at homegoods and when I look on the internet (gasp!) they are around $1600!!!! Am I supposed to be looking for faux? stumped..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cassie – No .. it’s real Mongolian lamb. Just keep looking. You’ll find it eventually. Try to hold out for the real thing. You can *definitely* get it for cheaper than $1600. $200 tops for one that isn’t on sale. ~ k

  7. Love this idea! So cheap, but so chic! I can’t imagine what you’d probably pay for this at an eclectic furniture store, but your ingenuity and creative eye have definitely paid off with this endeavor.

  8. Rayme Wells of A Clean Surface says:

    Love! My grandparents kept sheep and had some wooly skins they kept over some of their furniture, so this chair cover reminds me of my childhood, only it is far more elegant!

  9. Marti says:

    How did it take me so long to come to this page? I’ve been admiring that chair in your pictures for some time and NOW I find there’s a “how-to” for it? The Gods Must Be Crazy!

  10. taia says:

    Trust me…never ever attempt to sew furry fabric…pain in the ass doesn’t begin to cover it…

  11. Zina says:

    I love this. Totally. We’re moving into a new flat at the end of this month and we’re going from a furnished house to a completely empty larger flat.

    It’ll be perfect either on one single chair, or I may try and find a charity shop two-seat sofa or chaise and sew two throws together to cover that. Fabulous!

    Thanks, Karen!

  12. Eleni says:

    Absolutely fantastic!!!I’ll wait for the winter to come though…brilliant idea with a fine sense of humour!

  13. Melanie says:

    Ha Ha, Your funny.
    I’m telling my friends about you. ALready linked your Frozen Yoghurt Tampon to a gal in need…for a cure AND a laugh!

  14. Heather says:

    I imagine that that’s an amazing blanket to lie under. However, this looks to me like a blanket covering up what’s considered to be an ugly chair. I’m disappointed. =/

    • Karen says:

      No need for disappointment Heather! :) The blanket is wayyyy to heavy to lie under and as I said in the caption I like my garbage chair. I know it’s a nice classic chair, but it was clawed apart by the cats. Plus this was just for fun to show what you could do in 5 minutes.

  15. Karen says:

    Why thank you! Out of curiosity … how’d ya find me?

    • Marisa says:

      on design sponge– sorry for the delay. i was just looking at your home’s before and after shots– amazing. i have crap luck with antiques- hmmm… “antique” sofa bought in west phila. that had to be put out for trash day the next morning and shortly after, my apartment was fumigated. then the chair that had so much cat hair on it i had an asthma attack and had to go to the e.r. now i just stick to ikea.

  16. Marisa says:

    brilliant! you have such an eye (and wit to boot)!

  17. Karo says:

    Love it! I have been looking for a nice solution to cover a rocker chair in the nursery and this could be it!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Karo! You’re right, would be GREAT in a nursery. If you can’t find the BIG mongolian lamb throw, get one of the bigger sheepskins from Ikea. They’re VERY cozy too.

  18. Hannah says:

    I loveee this! I posted that picture in my blog and wrote a little something about you. U’ve been looking around your blog and I think you have fantastic taste. I can’t wait to see what you inspire me with next :]

    • Karen says:

      Hannah – thanks for the blog mention! Glad you like it. My taste varies … trust me I have my mishaps. My entirely Dollar Store decorated Christmas tree a few years ago comes to mind!

  19. Cassandra says:

    So clever! I love it!
    I’d reeeally like a “sheepskin” chair for myself.

    I’m new around these parts (linked from Design Sponge) and I this is now my new favourite website!

  20. brilliant and devilishly simple is my kind of project. love this!

  21. chellsbells says:

    where oh where did you get that throw, I love it!!!!

  22. Tickled Red says:

    Hahahahaha classic! That’s awesome :)

  23. Tricia Rose says:

    Like your DIY – bet you didn’t even break a nail!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Tricia! Nope … as it turns out I don’t really need that basement full of tools! Well, not today anyway.

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