Weber State University interior design students are refurbishing antique chairs to auction off for charity.

The Charitable Chair is a silent and live auction event on April 20, where chairs are sold to raise money for community partners. This year, proceeds will go to the Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah and the WSU Interior Design program.

In past years, the Charitable Chair has donated to the Ogden GOAL Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Weber-Davis. The auction raised $15,000 for the Boys & Girls Club since the Charitable Chair’s inception in 2011 to 2015.

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Photo courtesy of Kristen Arnold.

Kristen Arnold, program coordinator of interior design, said the Charitable Chair was first set up as a way to incorporate accreditation curriculum standards which required experience. It then involved a way for WSU and the interior design department to become more connected with the community.

“It earns money for scholarship and for the department,” Arnold said. “It gives us an opportunity to working with a community partner and exposure to the community. It’s a lot of work and it’s really valuable for us.”

Arnold said the event teaches students about the design process, to recognize good and bad pieces and help them learn more about the history behind the chair.

“They have to follow the style,” Arnold said. “Once they find a chair and the chair is approved, they have to research the historical style.”

Six interior design courses participate in this event and about 40 students will participate this year.

Students have the option of working by themselves or with a partner. Student Kelsie Jones will be participating in the Charitable Chair for the second time.

“It’s a great education experience for interior design students just to learn more about construction, working with upholstery shops and things that we’ll use in the field,” Jones said.

The process for Charitable Chair begins in October, when professors and advisors begin to tell students to start looking for a chair. As part of their program, students select, refurbish and design a chair with historical significance or influence.

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Photo courtesy of Kristen Arnold.

“Choosing the chair is the hardest part,” Jones said. “We want it to be an actual old chair.”

Jones said students usually look for chairs in antique shops and stores in Salt Lake City. From there on, students decide how they want to refurbish it by choosing stain for the wood and fabric, but it has to follow the style of the chair.

They can choose to do most of the refurbishment work themselves, but some also network to find professionals to aid in the restoration.

“The inspiration to refurbish the chair usually comes from the fabric that we choose, because there are so many beautiful fabrics you can find,” Jones said.

Twenty-four chairs will be available at the auction this year.

The event will be held at Copper Nickel in Ogden. The silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. and the live auction will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the door.

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