This antique footstool holds a lot of fond memories, but has seen better days as far as appearance goes. A bit of elbow grease and she’s (almost) as pretty as new.

*This post contains affiliate links to the products I used in this makeover.  For full affiliate disclosure, please see sidebar or bottom of the page.

Good morning and happy October!!

Popping in this morning with an antique footstool I made-over for my friend Di-Lona.  

It was her grandmother’s so holds a lot of sentimental value – but has definitely seen better days.

antique footstool

damaged footstool leg

One leg had broken off completely and a couple of others had been re-attached in the past.

I’m thinking some of these marks look like dog teeth?

The top of the antique footstool was upholstered in a gorgeous navy Chinoiserie, with detailed embroidery in the silk fabric.  It too had a lot of wear, tear and damage.

Because of the detail work in the footstool, I decided to use my favourite paint stripper – Smart Strip – to tackle this makeover.  I love it because all you have to do is paint it on, leave it for a few/several hours (depending on the layers of paint), then strip it off with a hose or pressure washer.

The below photo is after washing the Smart Strip off – almost completely bare!!

refinishing and antique footstool

Won’t wreck your driveway, kill your lawn or burn your hands – this stuff is incredible.  Can’t recommend it highly enough.

After stripping the antique footstool, there was still a bit of sanding that needed doing in the small detail trim and to remove any deeper gouges and scratches from the finish.

sanding an antique

I used wood glue, pin nails and clamps to re-attach the missing leg and let it setup over night.

repairing an antique footstool

This is the part where I fess up to a fairly substantial mistake…

I removed the silk Chinoiserie fabric and found this striped version underneath – with a ginormous tear in it.

Because this antique footstool has a flippable top – the other side works as a serving tray – re-upholstering it is not as easy as wrapping fabric and stapling it in place.  The cushioning can’t be too thick or the top won’t sit in the base properly.  The fabric has to stop halfway down the sides of the top so that it can’t be seen when the top flips over….  a bit of juggling was needed.

I decided to take the easy route and just clean the existing upholstery and cushioning in place.  My SIMPSON 3100 psi pressure washer did a fantastic job and cleaned it thoroughly – but in leaving the fabric and cushioning attached, the wood also had to sit in the moisture while it all dried out…

causing the wood to bend slightly.  🤦🏻‍♀️

It’s not at all noticeable if you use the antique footstool AS a footstool – but it becomes obvious when you flip the top to use it as a tray and the sides aren’t completely hidden by the frame.

I’m so sorry Leona! 

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover

I picked up this beautiful satin Chinoiserie pattern from Spoonflower and recovered the top.  The body of the footstool is a combination of Dark Walnut and Special Walnut Wood Stain mixed about 50/50.

I let the stain set up overnight, then finished it with my favourite Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane in a satin finish to protect it.

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover

To hold the new fabric in place, and to maintain the same style/finish as the original antique footstool, I bought some coordinating ribbon and attached it (to cover the edges of the upholstery) with decorative upholstery tacks/rivets.

reupholstering an antique footstool


So what do you think?

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover


Despite my error – 4 legs and no scuffs, scratches, tears and marks is a pretty drastic improvement don’t you think?

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover

How about before and afters so you can see the difference more easily?

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover

antique footstool, antique footstool makeover

She’s a beaut!

Have a great one – and remember, just ’cause you’re ‘bent’ doesn’t mean you still can’t be awesome. 😂

Ah that made me laugh!