7.10.2013

Distressing New Leather Furniture {DIY}


There's nothing like a distressed, old, leather, vintage club chair to add warmth and character to a room. No?
I've always wanted one, of course, my pockets aren't deep enough to afford a real vintage leather club chair. Instead, I bought this leather chair and ottoman (below), and it's great, in a nice, shiny, brand spankin' new kind of way. It's actually several years old, but it looks as new as the day I bought it. My hopes for this chair and ottoman were that they would wear and look distressed over time. This wasn't happening fast enough, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and speed the aging process.
I found this leather club chair at Overstock. It is a little more affordable (but currently out of stock) and I really didn't want to have to buy a new chair anyway. It did serve as my inspiration for this project though.

I used a combination of these two tutorials on e-how, found here and here, to take my just-off-the-factory-floor-looking leather chair and ottoman from shiny and new to vintage and distressed.

Here's how I did it.

>>>SUPPLIES<<<


rubbing alcohol
spray bottle
220 grit fine sandpaper
blow dryer
old rags


I decided to take advantage of our hot desert sun and moved the chair and ottoman onto the back patio.

I sprayed them down with rubbing alcohol that I had put into a spray bottle. (And if you follow my blog and read this post, then you know that I have a ton of rubbing alcohol. I have absolutely no idea why? Aspirations of becoming a school nurse one day?) Sorry, tangents.  I sprayed them about three times, letting them dry completely before spraying it again.
Next, I sanded them down all over with the 220 grit sandpaper. I used the same principles of distressing as I would use when distressing a piece of wood furniture. I sanded more on areas that get worn naturally over time, like the edges of the frame, on the tops of the arms, the top of the seat and on the back of the chair where someone's head would rub. I did try using a medium grit sandpaper, but it made the leather feel too rough. So, I stuck with the 220 grit and just sanded more in the areas where I wanted more distressing and wear.
I could see a difference pretty quickly and liked how things were going.
After some sanding, I wiped them down with a wet rag to get the grit off so I could see where I needed to sand more.
I brought the chair and ottoman inside, but they weren't looking as distressed as I wanted them to.
I sprayed them with more of the alcohol.
Then, because I'm impatient, I blow dried them. This lightened up the leather and gave it a more mottled appearance like my inspiration chair.
After more spraying with the alcohol and blow drying, I was finally happy with the outcome.
Now, they look much more interesting to me. They look warm and inviting, like they've been around for decades and have stories to tell.
I'm in love with my new old chair.

Here's what I've done in the living room so far:


I'm working on a mini-makeover of this little club chair area and I can't wait to show you the killer floor lamp I scored at Goodwill!

Thanks for stopping by today and taking the time to read my blog.

XOXOX
Sharing this project here:

18 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, you are brave! Your chair and ottoman look fabulous but I dont know if I would dare take that project on.

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  2. Thanks Jess. It was totally worth it. They fit better into the room now and I love them. :)

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  3. Sharon, this looks INCREDIBLE!! I agree, you are super brave and it was totally worth it! Looks absolutely amazing!

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  4. Thanks so much Deme! I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment. :)

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  5. WOW!!! I love that chair and ottoman too! I bought a chair off Overstock a few years ago because I was totally in love with the Pottery Barn leather chair but like yours, mine isn't weathered and distressed looking either. My chair also isn't real leather... do you think this process would work on faux leather?

    Tania

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    1. Thanks Tania! I'm so glad you dropped by. I honestly don't know if this would work on faux leather and it's the first time I've tried it so I wasn't even sure how it would turn out on my leather chair and ottoman. Maybe you could try a test section on the bottom part of the chair that wouldn't show to see if it would work or not? Let me know if you do decide to try it. I would love to see it. :)

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  6. Thanks Sharon, I have a little round faux leather footstool that I bought at a garage sale for $3, maybe I'll try it on that first!

    Tania

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  7. Good luck Tania! Let me know how it turns out. :)

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  8. Genius!! Thanks for sharing! I love how yours turned out. I had started doing this to a chair and ottoman using instructions from another blog, but she got it wet first and again to "stop" the action of the alcohol. Didn't seem to do anything...so I drug them back out to the deck this morning and am going to try your method. I'll let you know how it goes. Do you use any leather balm or protectant after you're done? Ann

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    1. Hi Ann! I didn't have any leather balm, but I did try some clear leather shoe polish that I had. It seemed to darken it and undo all of my hard work to get the distressed look so I decided to leave it as is. It seems to be fine without any protectant so far. I'd love to see how yours turns out!

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  9. To condition your chair, after all the alcohol and the summer heat - take this tip from the gal at the Coach store - rub unscented lotion all over your good leather item to keep soft and prevent drying out! No expensive "leather" product needed! It works great!

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  10. Thanks so much for the tip Jojo, I'll definitely be trying this out!

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  11. Ooh! We have a "bonded leather" couch that I've never loved but bought because I was tired of fighting kid stains on fabric upholstery. I might try this on the back first to see if it works. I really hope it does!

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    1. Hi Jessica! I hope it works out for you. I'd love to see it if you decide to try it. You can email the the pictures, if you'd like. Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  12. It looks amazing!! You are a brave one. Not sure if I could do it, but maybe I'll try on an inconspicuous spot.

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  13. It does look amazing!! I'm not nearly as daring as you are, but maybe I'll try something in an inconspicuous spot. Thanks for the tip.

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    1. Hi Babsie! Let me know how your project turns out if you decide to give it a try. Glad you dropped by!

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  14. This is a nice tips for leather sofa cleaning.

    white leather sofa

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