Give an ugly wooden chair a beautiful makeover that's also functional

Chairs are some of the most functional and versatile objects on the planet. Although we simply think of them as a place to sit at the end of a long day, they can be turned into almost anything, especially when they're made of wood. If you've been looking for a way to upcycle an old and unused wooden chair, consider turning it into a lovely nightstand like the one pictured here.
Chairs are just about the right height for a nightstand, and if you've got your own reading nook at home, they can be perfect for storing your books and even for giving off a little illumination. This craft is best done with a wooden chair that has seen better days. We used one that still had its original padding and then removed it to make the chair more functional as a nightstand. The project takes some know-how, but the old-fashioned look of this nightstand is one you're sure to love. Place it near your favorite reading corner, in your child's bedroom or even beside your own bed to create a cozy, comforting atmosphere, ideal for getting lost in a book.
- Wooden straight-back chair with no arms
- Metal light fixture you can attach to a wall with an exposed bulb cage Note: Try to find one that comes with its own hardware.
- Light bulb
- Power drill
- Needle-nose pliers
- Electric sander
- Hand sander
- Cloth
- Mask
- Heavy-duty gloves
- Safety glasses
- Chalk paint
- Paintbrush
- Pencil
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- 2 screws the same size as the holes in the light fixture
Note: These might come with the light fixture.
- 2 finish nuts that match the light fixture's metal color
Note: These might come with the light fixture.
- Sheet of canvas larger than the seat of the chair
- Staple gun
- Scissors
DIY Everywhere
1. Turn the chair upside down, and use the power drill to unscrew the screws that hold the padding and its back to the chair. Remove the seat entirely from the chair and set aside.
Tip: If needed, needle-nose pliers may be required to pull the screws the rest of the way out of the holes, as seen in the video.
2. Sand down the wood of the chair using an electric sander to make it easier to paint. Remember to pay attention to where the seat formerly was positioned, as the wood may be particularly rough here. Use a handheld sander to sand the legs, and wipe away any excess wood shavings with a cloth.
Tip: Wear a mask, safety glasses and gloves while sanding.
3. Paint the chair a nice, neutral color like dark olive or brown with chalk paint. Paint the legs, the back and the area that will show when the padding is replaced. Let it dry overnight.
4. Place the light fixture where you want it to hang on the front of the chair's back. Mark where the screw holes are with a pencil, and set the fixture aside. Drill holes where you marked.
5. Screw the two mounting screws -- ones that should have come with the light fixture -- into the back of the chair by hand, or use a Phillips-head screwdriver. Make sure the screws are long enough to go through the chair's back and that a bit of the screw will be showing through on the other side.
6. Place the light fixture on the chair, so the ends of the screws are showing through the holes in the fixture. Use two finishing nuts -- which may also be included with your light fixture -- to cover the screws by screwing them onto the screws by hand.
7. Turn the seat of the chair over, so the underside is showing. Use the needle-nose pliers to remove the staples keeping the fabric attached to the seat from its underside. Once you've removed all the staples and the fabric, discard them.
8. With the seat still facedown, place the sheet of canvas underneath it, and fold the canvas over it tightly. Use the staple gun to affix the canvas to the seat, folding and stapling interchangeably as you go to keep it taut. If a staple doesn't go all the way through the canvas to the seat, remove it with the needle-nose pliers and try again. Remove excess canvas with scissors once you've stapled down each side.
9. Turn the seat over, so it's facing up, and place it where it once was positioned on the chair. Turn the chair over, and screw the screws that once held the seat to the chair back into place.
10. Turn the chair right-side-up again, and place the bulb cage over the light fixture. The cage might come with the fixture, but you may also have to buy it separately. Just make sure it matches the measurements of the fixture. The cage should have a tightening clamp that you hand-screw over the light fixture to keep the cage fixed to it.
11. Screw in the light bulb. Pay close attention to the specifications as to the wattage appropriate for the specific fixture, and choose a bulb that will fit inside the bulb cage. Plug the lamp in.
Now, you have a lovely nightstand with a built-in lamp that will allow you to read into the small hours of the morning.