General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Old-fashioned straight-backed armchair, freshly painted walls: how to keep them apart?

Asked by Jeruba (50434points) August 25th, 2012

Yes, I know that’s what chair rails were for in my grandmother’s day. We don’t have them.

The chair is a lone antique survivor of what was once a dining set. It is in great condition, and I reupholstered the seat. The wooden back tilts just enough so that it contacts the wall while the rear legs are still an inch away from the molding.

The walls have just been painted a pale, soft blue.

I don’t want the chair scraping the wall (and there is really no other place for it but against the wall), and I don’t want to mar the chair.

What can I do to protect both of them without doing something permanent that compromises the chair or creating a solution that calls too much attention to itself?

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17 Answers

DrBill's avatar

Get a 1 X 2 and lay it on the floor behind the chair, it will stop the chair with room to spare.

syz's avatar

I’ve attached door bumpers and picture frame bumpers to the back of several pieces of my furniture to prevent wall damage (sorry, I’m having trouble finding a picture, but home improvement stores have them, something like a smaller version of this).

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

This seems too simple of an answer, so forgive me in advance. Can the chair be moved to a location that isn’t close to a wall? Can the table be moved further away from the wall? Can you claim that chair as your seat so that no one else will sit in it?

Jeruba's avatar

There’s really no other place for the chair. It’s not next to a table. It’s beside the piano and next to a door. The arrangement of furniture in the living room (which is as near to optimal now as we can get it) doesn’t offer many options, and there is very little open wall space. Any other spot would be in front of something (the fireplace, a bookcase) and blocking access or else in the flow of traffic.

My only choices with this chair are to put it right there or to remove it, and I am very fond of it. I just don’t want it to mess up the wall. There was a shiny scraped spot on that part of the wall prior to the paint job.

I don’t want to stick anything to the wood. That’s what I meant by marring the chair.

LuckyGuy's avatar

How about storing a small blanket draped over the back of the chair?
I like @DrBill ‘s suggestion of the 1×2 or similar spacer on the floor.

Jeruba's avatar

A small blanket might do from a practical point of view, but it seems a little clunky to me. The chair is very similar in design to these, but with a more pronounced arch (deeper curve) at the back. I’d rather not cover it up too much, and something rectangular will just hang in thick folds over it. I can’t picture a lace doily in my living room, but something like that might be closer to the target.

After all the work we’ve done to brighten and freshen and scrub and clean everything so it looks its very best and clear out all the loose junk, the idea of having a chunk of wood just lying around on the floor in front of the freshly varnished molding doesn’t seem like the right answer to me either.

But that does make me wonder if we could attach (without adhesive or fasteners) something inconspicuous, maybe even transparent, to the rear legs to act as spacers, keeping them an extra inch away from the wall. That’s an idea worth exploring.

Thanks for all suggestions.

YARNLADY's avatar

An old fashion shawl draped over the back.

jca's avatar

What @syz said.

augustlan's avatar

You could hang a textile (like a tapestry or quilt, depending on your style) on the wall behind the chair, in such a way that the bottom of the hanging overlaps the top of the back of the chair. Something like this arrangement.

Jeruba's avatar

A shawl! Good idea. And a textile hanging, maybe even better. I have a picture on that section of wall now, but I could find another place for it. That really starts me thinking. The shawl might be a short-term solution while I look for a small tapestry or piece of fabric art. Thank you, creative people!

jca's avatar

@Jeruba: Or another idea is you could make a frame and either put an insert with batting covered by fabric, or stretch the fabric (with batting under it) over the frame to hide the frame. Then screw or hang that on the wall behind chair. It may hold up better than just hanging a piece of fabric that will pull.

gailcalled's avatar

You can buy rolls of thin felt backing that you peel off and cut to shape and stick on the slats.

Such as these

or these

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t understand, Gail. Are you suggesting sticking adhesive-backed felt to the back of a mahogany chair? I wouldn’t do that.

gailcalled's avatar

I was, but once I looked at the example of the chair, I can see why it’s a bad idea.

You have limited choices;

Move the chair (which you don’t want to do)

Use some kind of padding, like a quilt that is thrown over the back, which seems stylistically wrong.

Or pad the wall somehow.

Strauss's avatar

I like @YARNLADY‘s (and @gailcalled)‘s suggestions of a decorative quilt thrown over the back. I would seriously think about wainscoting or some other decorative type of protection for the wall. It would also protect the chair.

Jeruba's avatar

The actual area of contact is a curved edge about 5” long with a depth of about 1/8”. In practical terms, installing a whole new feature such as wainscoting or even just a chair rail all the way around two adjoining rooms that have just been repainted (and having to move the piano again) isn’t the solution I’m looking for, although I do wish we’d done that when we planned to, more than 20 years ago. I’d love it if we already had it.

For now I am just making sure the chair stays a few inches out, but I am actively looking for fabric solutions of several sorts that you inventive folks have suggested above.

I’ve also considered wrapping the top edge of the chair back with a little strip of transparent plastic wrap. That might do while I shop around.

dabbler's avatar

From the looks of the chair you might need something bigger than a 1×2 board on the floor to stop the chair at a safe distance, but I still like @DrBill‘s concept the best.
It could be a nicely finished piece of wood, it doesn’t have to look like a refugee from the scrap pile.

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