Melissa DIY refinishes and reupholsters her 1950s dinette and Cosco high chair: Fabulous!

1950s dinette cleaned up and reupholstered -- DIY


Remember this recent story about how to reupholster vintage dinette chairs affordably? Well, reader Melissa used the video shown to tackle doing the upholstery herself — both on the dinette chairs and a vintage Cosco high chair she found for $3.12. Melissa also used steel wool to polish the chrome, and achieved what looks to be perfect results. Oh my goodness — her DIY project turned out beautifully — you go, girl! Read on for Melissa’s story of triumph…

Mel writes:

Very impressive job, Mel!


I’m always checking out your website, because I love retro and mid century modern style. I know your always putting people’s projected on your site. And I thought you might like to put mine up 🙂

I have refinished a 1950’s table and chairs as well as a high chair. I bought the table and chairs off craigslist about two years ago for about a $100… I bought the fabric for about $50… and then the steel wooling started. I thought it was going to be much harder than it actually was, and I was pretty worried it was not going to turn out well. But I surprised myself. and everything turned out better than I could have ever imagined.

vintage cosco high chair reupholstered
Yes, who among us has not purchased and refinished a vintage Cosco high chair — before we actually had a baby for it?

Then a few weeks ago I spotted a retro high chair at the thrift store for $3.12. I thought to myself well I don’t have any kids, and that would be stupid for me to buy. But I could just couldn’t resist it for only $3.12. So I thought, well, I could refinish it and sell it. But now that I have it done and it looks so good, I feel like I need to save it for when I have a child lol.

I asked Melissa whether she used the video I featured on my site, and also quizzed her on where she got the supplies. She said:

I did use her video. But I did not know it was on your site, I just googled “reupholster retro chairs” and eventually found that video. I bought the fabric from Beatrice, the lady in the video. I had originally emailed her to find out where I could buy that type of vinyl, because the only kind I was finding was the kind with backing or non plyable. Then she just told me I could buy it from her. So I did 🙂 I also got the white piping-piece from her. I had my mom help me with them, I thought four hands would be better than two. And we did it in the middle of the hot summer on my front porch with the heater on us — lol it was HOT.


Thank you, Mel, for this inspiration. Of course, I asked Mel what else she had going on in her house. More to come maybe! 🙂

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Phyllis, given this story is from 2011, I don’t know if Melissa is still monitoring this thread… we’ll see.

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