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Remove the cushions, headrest, seat, and back. You don’t have to disassemble the chair. Sand all exposed surfaces down to about 120-grit paper, then spray (or brush, if you must) with varnish or clear polyurethane, such as Deft. Several coats, lightly sanded between each, usually yield a nice finish.

Finally, to pad the arms, cut ¾"-thick foam to the size of the arms (you can also use 1", or you can rip 1½" in half with a band saw), and lightly mount it with spray adhesive or double-sided mounting tape. Cover the arms with fabric that matches the footrest and headrest. Trim the underside neatly.