My first instinct was to paint it, but when I flipped it over and saw a Thornet tag, I figured I'd leave the wood alone since it may be valuable vintage.
First, I cleaned it up with some Howard's orange oil and then looked around for something to recover the seat with.
In my studio, I stumbled upon a pile of these Turkish kilim pillow covers that I bought and blogged about here in 2011. The covers were actually very short-lived as decorative cushions on our sofas. While beautiful, they are super scratchy. Function of our sofa pillows wins out over form, as both of us like to lay on the couch pillows while absorbing a bunch of reality TV, and soft fabric is essential. So, I picked the largest to cover the seat of the Bentwood chair.
First, I cut the circle shape about 2 inches larger than the seat. (I serged the edge, but this is not necessary)
Next, I started stapling, pulling each edge and putting in four staples with my staple gun.
I bisected each of those staples with four more staples, making sure the front side was pulled taut as I went.
I continued bisecting the staples with another staple until I was left with a rippled edge as shown.
The Kilim is a thick, stiff fabric, so to get it to lay flat on the backside of the seat I had to clip the ripples and cut away any excess fabric. Then, I folded the clipped portions over each other to account for the curve and get it stapled flat.
The fabric was a bit of a challenge to work with for upholstery, but I'm happy with the finished chair. I'm going to put the chair in my loft bedroom for guests to set their bags on.