So, more than 6 months ago I scored these amazing Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin chrome and upholstered dining chairs – a set of 6 for $200 on Craigslist – a total steal. However, they were in pretty poor shape – with very stained original yellow upholstery (which I loved, but wasn’t able to be saved) and very pitted chrome bases. So, I purchased them, brought them home, and they sat in my garage for 6 months while I contemplated how to restore them. And I really wanted to restore them and reupholster them because they seem to have the potential to be very valuable – the asking price for a set of 4 of the same chairs on 1stdibs.com with original upholstery is $4950! What?!
So, I started googling and found this website about cleaning chrome. I was skeptical, but desperate, which is not the best combination. So, I busted out the tin foil and thought why not.
Step 1 Tear tin foil into squares, about 6 inches square
Step 2 Remove excess dirt from the surface of the chrome with a rag
Step 3 Get a plastic cup filled with water and dip the foil square into the water
Step 4 Rub the square over the surface of the chrome lightly – you will begin to see and feel the surface getting smoother. It really is pretty amazing and you don’t have to use a whole lot of elbow grease
Step 5 After you are satisfied with the results, take a clean cloth and wipe it down.
Some caveats – if the surface is severely pitted it may not be completely salvageable. There were some areas on the bottom of my chairs (where they would normally touch the ground) that were VERY rusted and so I wasn’t able to completely clean them. However, they were much improved and no one will really see the bottoms of the chrome where they meet the floor anyways.
Once again, this page has some more awesome tips and pointers.
Here are a couple more before shots of my chairs:
And after (removing the rust and pitting and with new upholstery) at home in our dining room*
*side note – these were originally slated for my studio space for my photography business, but I loved them too much and they look much more at home in our dining room!
Total cost for this project:
$300 for 6 chairs in poor condition on Craigslist
$0 for refinishing the chrome (used foil on hand)
$100 for 7 yards of gray textured upholstery fabric (purchased at Interior Fabrics on Burnet Road in Austin for $14.99/yd)
$450 for reupholstering / $75 per chair (done by Cardenas Upholstery in Austin)
Total $850 for 6 Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin chairs. Not the cheapest redo I’ve ever done but I. love. them.