You can easily change the look to an old chair using some paint. Vienna straw is become a huge interior trend, contemporary design is using it a lot but it’s very common find furniture at thrift stores with some Vienna straw details. You can play with it and add a decorative touch with embroidery. It’s easy, I’m promising you!

Here there is what you need.


  • Old wooden chair with Vienna straw insert
  • Sandpaper in different grades
  • Paint and brush
  • Dust cloth
  • Yarn in different colors
  • Crochet needle
  • Scissors

It’s easy to find an old wooden chair with Vienna straw details, maybe you already have it at your home or you can buy one for little money in a thrift store.

First of all wash the chair with a cloth.

Now you have to prepare the surface for the paint. Sand it with the sandpaper to create a smooth surface, you’ll sand out light scratches and imperfections and remove old varnish or paint. I used a 120 grit and then I finished with a 240 (a grit number higher is equivalent to a finer abrasive perfect to create a smoother surface).

Remove all the dust from sanding from your chair.

Removing old paint or varnish, you could find wooden imperfections, even cracks or woodworm holes (be sure that these are just old holes and the chair has not live woodworms inside, otherwise I strongly recommend you to proceed with a woodworm treatment). If your chair presents these imperfections, fill holes and cracks with wood putty. Let it dry and then sand again the surface until it will be smooth.

It’s time to paint! Choose the color you like and that suits with your home. Use a solid shade, you’re going to add some other colors with the embroidery detail.

Protect the floor before start to paint.

You can use spray paint or you can paint your chair using a brush. The brush will allow you to follow easily the chair shapes.

Start with a light coat, I recommend at least two coats.
Finish your painting with a protective clear coat (you can choose a polish or mat finishing, be careful the protective coat could change a little bit the color you chose and make it a bit darker).

It’s time for decoration!
Using colored yarn choose a pattern you like. You can cross-stich it or you can create your own pattern. Put the yarn through the holes of Vienna straw and help yourself with a large crochet needle.

I wanted to create some linear and very simple flowers. Keeping the center, move around making the petals, each time go back to the center.

I wanted to create a 3D embroidery effect adding a boho fringe on the side of my chair.
Extra tip: this could be a very good idea to cover some imperfections!

You can also add some yarn around legs or the structure of your chair to create more color combinations.