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Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf

by | Apr 9, 2009 | Decorating Inspiration, Details | 43 comments

Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf

I seem to collect a lot of chairs. Sometimes, during a change of seasons, a move to a new house or when I am trying to get a new look,  I just wish they looked a little different.

Or sometimes they have a little stain (not that mine does…oh, ok, it does) or whatever and I want to cover it up in a hurry.

So, what do I do? I head to Ethan Allen and buy a new one!

No, I don’t. Just kidding. I don’t even head to Pottery Barn or the thrift store. I head to my fabric stash.

Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf

Behold, the chair scarf. Now I know these things probably have a fancy-pants designer name (and I am guessing it is French), but I have just always referred to them by their unscientific not chic or sophisticated name: chair scarf.  A chair scarf is just a long, tw0-sided piece of  fabric sewed up and trimmed. Kind of like a table runner for your chair.

A chair scarf is an easy way to change the look of your chair easily, in a few different ways! One side could be your spring look, the other side could be your winter look!

I’m not using any of these chair scarves in my new house, but I just needed them to be a model for today. I’ve got some new looks planned so I need a new chair scarf.

Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf

Wrap a chair scarf over the seat of the chair and yet again, another look! A chair scarf is special because it looks kind of custom and fancy. And I like to be fancy, in a non-fancy sort of way.

Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf

It is easy, you could make dozens of these, and have endless looks for your chair. And, it will even work if you have a patterned chair — just make your chair scarf a solid or coordinating pattern. It can totally change the look of any chair.

If you want to be super simple and change your look with no sewing, go ahead and just fold up some fabric on the back of your chair!  If you don’t sew (like me) you could glue some trim on or some tassels to fancy it up. You can do similar things with a blanket, throw or quilt.

Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf
Or, use a real scarf! You don’t even have to reinvent the wheel to be fancy.

These are all simple, frugal and easy ways to fix up, mix up or brighten up an old chair in a hurry.

Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf

Quick & Easy Makeovers: The Chair Scarf

Have a great day!

PS. Check out Meredith’s lovely chair scarf!!!


  1. Shilo

    Great idea, Melissa!
    I loved hearing your session yesterday. You spoke so clearly the message of God’s grace!
    Have a great day,

    Shilos inspiring blog post..I love my family!

  2. Emily

    Melissa, what a brilliant idea. But you know what? I love that chair in all of it’s plain white glory. The scarves are fun to mix it up though, I agree! Your ideas are so simple and sophisticated. Love it!

    Emily@remodelingthislifes inspiring blog post..Link Love: March Top Referrers

  3. songbirdtiff

    I love the red patterned scarf at the bottom. It looks so pretty with the white chair!

    songbirdtiffs inspiring blog post..Good Stuff (B-52’s)

  4. Sharon Goemaere

    It’s been too long since I have visited and left a comment Melissa!Neat idea you shared here.Hope all is well with you and yours.Love you~Sharon in Salem

    Sharon Goemaeres inspiring blog post..A Fish Tale

  5. Melissa

    Hi girls! I was just playing with this some of you need to get your gravatar! it puts your photo in place of that little quilt square… :-)

  6. Rebekah

    I like being fancy in a non-fancy way, too. :)

  7. Jennifer White

    Great ideas … I seem to collect chairs too and have no where to put them but I can’t seem to part with them. I’m working on a total makeover of one right now.

  8. Melissa

    Thanks for your comments…

    Thanks Shilo! {hugs}

    Good to see you Sharon!

    PS. Amy…I don’t think your idea is stupid and if any one else does, phooey on them. They can go buy a new chair that matches their new decor and WE will be the ones laughing all the way to the bank with our frugal decorating ideas. So there. :-) We are fancy, in a non fancy sort of way. .

  9. Bonnie Mattson

    Melissa, this is so great. I am suddenly seeing all kinds of new possibilities. I use throws a lot but had never thought to do a chair scarf. Brilliant!

    Bonnie Mattsons inspiring blog post..Easter Craftiness

  10. Adrienne

    Dear Melissa –
    I love this idea and I may add a chair scarf or two to my chairs – not that they need anything covered but because I like the look. And I like changing things once in awhile.

    I really enjoyed listening to you yesterday. I missed the first part so will have to listen when it is available in May. I had to take my puppy to the vet, he was running late in surgery and that made me late getting home. But puppy and I came to the office immediately so I could ‘tune in’ and listen. You really helped me with your thoughts on limiting blog posts and computer time. I’ve been trying to do the same. God bless you today and through the weekend – this Resurrection weekend!

    Adriennes inspiring blog post..Dog Tired

  11. anne

    Hi Melissa I just love these chairs. My mother-in-law has one, I would love to cover it and have it in my front room :-) No one else would sit in it, except me and the grandchildren…All the rest of my family are too big/tall..Her chair is a smallerr version than the one above.

    annes inspiring blog post..More Handwritten Post!!!!

  12. Meredith from Merchant Ships

    We have 2 wingback chairs, too–I keep a wool paisley on the leather one in our bedroom to disguise its scratched up surface.

    One day I threw my other wrap on my kitchen/blogging chair and liked it so much that it stayed! (My name links to the photo.)

    Meredith from Merchant Shipss inspiring blog post..Sick House, Sweet Links

  13. Mahala

    I love to “clothe” upholstery. I have a beautiful piece of Japanese fabric across the back of my cream wingback chair. And my sofa “wears” a fabric throw on the seat and another draped across the arm. A multitude of sins can be covered in this manner, staving off the expense of re-upholtsering or slip-covering.

  14. LaDonna

    I have always used afghans that I’ve made for this purpose, but I like your idea with a chair scarf from fabric a lot better! It could be changed more often, as the mood strikes.
    Thank you for the inspiration! I think I will go peek at my cloth stash to see what I can use for Spring! :)

  15. Amanda

    Ahh! Love it!! Inexpensive and easy (key word here!!) way to change up a room. Fun! :)

    Amanda @ Serenity Nows inspiring blog post..My 100th Post Giveaway!

  16. LeAnn

    Hi Melissa,

    I used to have an aqua shellback chair that I purchased at an estate sale that was in wonderful shape except for the stain on the bottom cushion so I actually covered it with barkcloth and stapled it on the bottom. It looked fantastic!! I don’t have the chair anymore but it did get a good home!

    Wishing you and your family a beautiful Easter!


    LeAnns inspiring blog post..Spring at the farmhouse

  17. Jenny

    I love the chair scarf. It really has added some vavavoom to my living room and I love that you can frequently change the look!!
    Hope today is a great one for you!

    Jennys inspiring blog post..Barbie at 50: Cougar Barbie

  18. Chie

    Hi Mel,
    I use to use my real pashmina scarf during warmer days and wool scarf or felt/blanket during colder days.

    Your blog rocks! Been following everyday… thanks a mill for sharing your wonderful and educational ideas.

    Have a Happy Easter!!!

    Chies inspiring blog post..A touché of YELLOW for my Easter FINDS

  19. Pam Moore

    This is such a great – and super easy – idea! Thanks for the wonderful inspiration you bring to the table.

    XO, Pam

    Pam Moores inspiring blog post..The End of Our Museum Tour

  20. aubrey

    Thank-you, Melissa. You finally got me to break out of my stinkin’ thinkin’ mode I’ve been in all winter.

    I’m going to try this with my couch as soon as the slipcovers are all clean–to try and keep them clean longer (they’re such a pain to pull on and off) and see if they’ll stay put with straight pins.

    Now I’ve got to figure out how to get a collection of chairs. We seem to have major shortage of seating around here. It must be why my kids are always perched on the armrests of the couch.

    aubreys inspiring blog post..Let’s Be Honest

  21. Kimm at Reinvented

    What a great idea for an inexpensive way to update a chair! Thanks for sharing.

    Kimm at Reinventeds inspiring blog post..The Ten Best Garage Sale and Thrift Store Finds

  22. martha

    Love this. I do it myself – with extra long “scarves”. I tuck mine deeply into the chair’s back crease. If I put a length of slender PVC pipe in there too it holds it nice and tight. Additional idea: I swirl these scarves around on table tops. With fringe on each end, they really soften the hard wood and provide a nice foundation for vignettes.

  23. Misti of Studio M Designs

    I have a really cool chair with really bad fabric, since it would take like 40 scarves to cover it, I should just stick with a slip cover. Maybe on the leather chair the cat scratched up…now there’s an idea!

    Misti of Studio M Designss inspiring blog post..What makes everything better? Part 2

  24. Shelia

    Oh, this is a great idea! I just may have to make some of these chair scarves! Maybe I could even make it long enough to cover the back and tuck in a bit and then cover the seat! Naw, that’s probably take too much fabric! Thanks for this idea.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

    Shelias inspiring blog post..Foodie Friday – Rabbit Heads :)

  25. cherrie

    Anti-maccassars were developed to keep the hair oil that came from Maccassar (East Indies) from staining the backs of chairs. I think chair scarves is a lot easier to remember.

    cherries inspiring blog post..Small tablecloth bag

  26. Sandy Schwab

    What a neat idea, Melissa! If you’ve got pets, chair scarves would also work well to keep cat or dog hair from your chairs, I’d imagine.

  27. janet

    Well what do you know? I have been doing this for years with table runners, throws or fabric, just to liven things up a bit. I didn’t even know that I was ahead of the design curve. The inexpensive printed “pashminas” work great for this.

    Happy Easter to you and your family Melissa.


    janets inspiring blog post..MEDICAL WARNING

  28. laura

    I love the idea of dressing up a chair…why not?! That’s why I love neutral upholstery and bedding…a blank canvas to play with.

    laura @ the shorehouse.s inspiring blog post..Go ahead…make my day.

  29. Kathy Black

    I absolutely LOVE this idea! I’m very into “gypsy” decor and have been trying to figure out how to add more of the look throughout my rooms. This is perfect. So many possibilities…

  30. Jessica

    Aside from Ethan Allen , any other good study frame recommendations while surfing craigslist etc for chairs or sofas???

  31. Maria M.

    I just dropped off my two wingback chairs today to have them upholstered! Can’t wait to get them back in a couple of weeks. I love the chair scarf idea to dress them up.

  32. Linda | Homeagination

    Glad I caught this post. I’m going to dig into my stash of pashminas and create a few chair scarves! Love easy little fixes like this one!

  33. Patricia

    A visiting cat (who comes in for naps and snuggles) managed to rip my chair (one of a set of two). I’ve repaired the rip so it’s stabilized but still visible. I might try your trick. Thanks for the idea.


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