Gothic furniture is known for its basic simplicity as well as for the flamboyant decorations it sometimes carries. Sometimes the simple lines of a plain gothic chair lend themselves to a variety of decorative schemes.
Step 1 – Check the Chair
If the chair is a genuine antique it would be foolish to decorate it in any permanent way because you could destroy the value altogether. If you are in any doubt, seek professional advice.
Step 2 – The Simple Approach
Changing the appearance of a gothic chair can be achieved quite dramatically with the use of cushions. A typical gothic chair has a straight back and is not particularly comfortable. A small cushion hanging on the back of the chair to give support will make a huge difference both to how the chair looks and how it feels. A seat cushion will also make a big difference. The cushions can be plain and dark or brightly colored tapestry patterns, both styles will fit.
Step 3 – Upholstery
Gothic chairs were seldom upholstered. Often the chairs were of high ceremonial value with the size of the chair indicating the status of the person sitting on it. With modern materials it is easy to upholster a chair and add a high degree of comfort. The seat of the chair will always be available to upholster but with many gothic chairs the backs and arm rests may be ornate. The ornamentation can actually make the chairs uncomfortable to sit on. Upholstery can preserve the ornamentation while enhancing the appearance of the chair. For upholstery to be held properly it needs to be tacked in place every half inch or so. Dome headed brass upholstery tacks can look very impressive.
Step 4 – Black Leather
Without going to the extent of upholstery, a simple layer of black leather or an imitation can enhance the appearance of a gothic chair. It fits better to flat surfaces but clever cutting can make it fit well in most positions. The leather will look more impressive if it is nailed in place using dome headed brass upholstery tacks.
Step 5 – Carvings
If the chair is not already carved then there is a chance that an imaginative design could be introduced. The carving need not actually be performed on the chair. It can be made as a panel to be attached to the chair and then colored to match.
Step 6 – Finials
The addition of finials to the uprights of the back of a plain chair can make an incredible difference to the way the chair looks. Well designed finials in scale with the rest of the chair can make the chair seem much higher than it really is.
Step 7 – Poker Work
With imagination a chair can be decorated with many different designs. Poker work can be seen as an alternative to carving. Marking a coat of arms on the chair back can introduce a possible link to nobility.
Decorating a gothic chair is really limited only by your imagination and the style of the chair. The less ornate a chair is, the more opportunities you have to turn it into something special.