How can I reuse or recycle broken chairs?

Dining chairWe’ve had an email from Dom, saying:

I just rescued a set of dining room chairs from a skip. With a bit of a sand and coat of paint, two of them will be fine for use in my kitchen but the other two are broken. The supports under the seat have broken on one and the frame of the back on the other. Any suggestions?

Like with broken electronics and the like, I’d suggest giving fixing them a go because, at the end of the day, you’re not unlikely to break them any further and if you do, you won’t really have lost much (start with a broken chair, end with a broken chair) but might have learnt something along the way which will help you next time. (Or, if you know someone who likes fixing stuff, see if they’ll do it since they might be able to get them as good as new.)

We have a rickety old chair in the bathroom for throwing our clothes on – broken ones might be sufficient for that type of job – and we have a bizarre, stylised metal-frame one (which we inherited when we bought the house) in the garden and put plants on the seat: they’ve got room to trail and to climb and are out of the evil clutches of slugs too.

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by _H_)

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14 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle broken chairs?”

  1. Delusion says:

    You could break the legs / back frame into sections and then nail together as a trellis for the garden

  2. Megan says:

    Try using it as a garden accessory. I have an old chair in my garden that looks much like the one on the photo. It’s good for setting pots on, and you could also train plants to grow up and over it.

  3. CTP says:

    it’s often possible to use the legs/bottom half of one chair with seat/back of another. for example, the bent plywood seat/back style usually breaks, leaving you a perfectly serviceable base/legs to which you can attach another wooden top/back.
    at the very worst, save the pieces of wood for future use in construction or craft projects.

  4. Joe says:

    If they are rickety enough, you could have a pro-wrestling match, and use them as a weapon (they would shatter easily and spectacularly).

    Other than that, you could use it as firewood to heat your house.

  5. Alice says:

    I still sit on this kind of thing on my allotment – only has to be barely functional to be better than sitting on the wet ground!

    The one with a broken back would be a perfectly good stool or small table.

  6. Estercity says:

    Look my blog and will find a lot of ideas of reuse

  7. person says:

    as a last resort, you could cut it up and use it as firewood.

  8. Rob says:

    If it is the legs/lower support that is failing, and you live in an area with lots of snow, you can do what I’ve done in the past.Cut the legs completely off of the chair, then mount on a pair of cross-country skis (available for 2 or 3 dollars at most thrift stores) You now have what is known as a “ski chair” (Yeah, I know, the name isn’t creative, but don’t let that stop you from making one)

  9. Jason C says:

    In Chicago, each year there is a chair auction. The organization gets old chairs and they have a celebrity sign it. Then they give the signed chair to artists in the region who create art work from it. Then the chair is sold at an auction.

    Also in Chicago, people use the chairs to hold their parking spots after they’ve dug out the snow.


  10. Jason says:

    I recently came across a broken wooden chair that was just beyond repair.It was a pretty generic chair with hard wood lathe turned legs.2 of those legs have since found homes as handles of some nice mallets.Other parts are slated to be used in further projects.

  11. Melinda says:

    I’ve kept a bucket in the bathroom to scoop up bath/ shower water and flush the toilet with it. A square or rectangular bucket with straight sides workes best.

  12. henri says:


    I really like the chair.
    I recycle chairs found in the street of The Hague (Netherland) to give them a second life. For this one, I would suggest a very simple concept like the foldable chair :

    or stick some images on it:



  13. Alenochka says:

    Place them in raw as a border of your garden, to separate garden area, keep bird baths and feeders on them.

  14. Alenochka says:

    You can barrow unbroken parts from one chair to repair the others.

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