Interior decoration

Distressing new leather furniture

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.


rubbing alcoholspray bottle220 grit fine sandpaperblow dryerold 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.

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!

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