Reupholstering a Settee: Part 2- Cleaning and Updating the Frame

If you're following this series along through to the end, welcome back! If you're just starting your adventure into reupholstering a settee, here's our index for this series:

Part 1- Deconstruction
Part 2- Cleaning and updating the frame
Part 3- Choosing & cutting your new fabric
Part 4- Recovering your piece

Now that you've gotten your piece stripped down to the bones, it's time to update the frame. This may mean stripping & staining, painting, distressing, or waxing. Either way, you need to clean your frame first.

Here's your supply list:

  • Toothbrush, sponge, paper towel
  • Wood cleaner
  • Wood filler (for dings, scratches, gaps)
  • Sanding block
  • Screwdrivers
  1. Tighten any loose joints. Sometimes you have a wobbly leg or a gap in the frame. Tighten these so that you your piece is as sturdy as possible. 
  2. Use your wood cleaner and scrub away any grime. You can use a paper towel, toothbrush, or a sponge for this, as long as it's got just enough abrasiveness to get through the gunk without damaging the wood.
  3. Use your wood filler if needed. If you have gouges or gaps in your wood, it may be worth it to smooth these out using wood filler. My frame had several small gaps that I wanted to flow seamlessly into the remainder of the frame, but I liked the character it gave the piece, so I left them open. 
  4. Sand down any rough patches. Using your sanding block, smooth out any scrapey, splintery, or otherwise rough areas of the wood. This is a good opportunity to match the wood filler lines with the rest of the frame, as well. Use a damp paper towel to clean up any sawdust from the frame.
Now that you've cleaned your frame, feel free to update it. Here is a brief step-by-step for a few different options:

  1. Strip your piece using CitriStrip, clean again, and stain in your desired color.
  2. Seal with polyurethane, lacquer, or varnish of your choice
  1. Paint several light coats over the wood.
  2. Seal with polyurethane, wax, or lacquer
You all know I went with paint. Not only is it way less work, but it's also so much more open to design choices. I can have any color I want, and that's the perfect option for me. I decided to give chalk paint a try on this project, and chose Home Depot's line, with the color "Lace."

I had planned to also distress the frame slightly to give it more of an antique look. Fresh paint tends to make things look very new, and I wanted the age & integrity of this piece to show through. But for some reason (I'm guessing the oils in the wood), this paint created its own crackle effect without any crackle medium!

Alright, break time again. While you wait for your frame to dry, you could move on to Part 3- Choosing & Cutting your New Fabric.... but I'd rather just cut & apply in one step, so I'm going to take another break here.

Here you can see the grey linen I chose in comparison to both the white chalk paint & the blue-grey wall the settee will remain on. This room is going to be such a strange mix of colors and textures when it's done....

See you soon!


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