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How to reupholster a dining chair seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Ryan McVay / Photodisc / Getty Images

  • Total Time: 60 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to $10

Reupholstering the seat of a dining-style chair is one of the easiest ways to make a big change with little effort. This sturdy, comfortable ladder-back is perfect for the worktable in my library. The lines are simple, but the arms have an unexpected curve. Though the finish is nearly perfect, the seat fabric is boring and filthy. The room doesn’t get much natural light, so something bright is best. A geometric pattern would work well with the lines of the chair, but a pattern with some curves will make it more interesting.

My final choice is a linen-look cotton with a bright botanical print. In this case, the simple cotton complements the oak. The birds in the pattern make it feel earthy rather than prissy, though it’s still a nice contrast to the rather masculine look of the chair. Piping the seat in berry-red boucle grounds the light background of the seat fabric, and adds a nice pop of color.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Drill or screwdriver
  • Staple remover
  • Straight pins
  • Fabric pencil or chalk
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Staple gun

Materials

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Welt cord (optional)

Instructions

Remove the Seat

Turn the chair upside down, and unscrew the seat from the frame, using a drill or screwdriver. Make any necessary repairs to the wood part of the chair — painting, refinishing, or tightening joints. Make sure everything is dry, not sticky to the touch, then reattach the seat.

If you encounter a tack strip, a long strip of cardboard with tacks that hold the seat to the frame, instead of screws, just pry the seat off with a flat-head screwdriver.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Remove the Old Fabric

Turn the seat over. Use a staple remover to remove the old staples and fabric. If the staples are stubborn, pull them out with needle-nose pliers. Save the old seat fabric. You’ll need to use it as a pattern.

If the padding is in bad shape, or you just want a softer seat, you can add a new layer of batting. It’s sold in most fabric and hobby stores.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Center Your Pattern

If your new seat fabric has a pattern, turn the seat right-side up and place the new fabric on top. Pressing around the perimeter of the seat, center your pattern, then mark the corners with straight pins.

Note: You can skip this step if your fabric doesn’t have a pattern.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Cut the New Seat Cover

Turn the new fabric right-side down, and put the old seat cover on top as a pattern. Note the locations of your pins, and adjust if needed, feeling underneath. Line up the corner creases of the old seat cover with your straight pins.

Weight down the old cover at the corners, and trace around the old seat cover with a pencil or chalk. Smooth out the edges with your hands as you trace it, so your new cover doesn’t end up too small. You can pin the old seat cover to your new fabric before tracing if you don’t feel confident about smoothing it as you go.

Remove the old seat cover, then cut out the new one, using the pencil or chalk lines as your guide. To prevent fraying, use your sewing machine to zigzag or serge around the edges of your fabric. If you don’t want to sew, fold tape along the edges. Press ​down your fabric if it’s wrinkled or creased.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Attach the Fabric to the Seat

Turn the new seat cover right-side down. Place the seat cushion, also right-side down, on top of it. If you have pins to mark the corners of a patterned fabric, make sure they are aligned with the corners of the seat cushion.

Starting with the top edge, staple once in the center. Repeat with the bottom edge, pulling the fabric tight before you staple. Repeat with each side, and keep pulling the fabric tight before you staple.

Working one side at a time, staple from the center outward until the side is completely stapled. As you work, keep pulling the fabric tight and smooth the fabric underneath from the center. Leave the corners unstapled. Repeat on all sides until everything is stapled but the corners.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Complete the Corners

Grasp one corner of the cover and pull the point toward the center of the seat cushion, then staple it. Arrange the remaining unstapled corner fabric into small even pleats, pull tightly, then staple. Make sure you don’t staple over the screw holes. Repeat for the three remaining corners.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Attach Welt (optional)

Welt is often called piping or cording. It gives the seat a professional, finished look and adds a nice pop of color. You can buy decorative cording in fabric or upholstery shops or make your own.

To apply the welt, arrange it along the edge of the seat and staple the lip (the flat edge) of the welt. When you turn the seat over, only the rounded edge with the cord inside should show.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Reattach the Seat

Place the seat on the chair frame and align the screw holes. Get the screws started, so the seat doesn’t fall off once you turn the chair upside down. Turn the chair over and tighten the screws until the seat is firmly attached. Be careful not to tighten too much; you don’t want to strip the holes.

Update a set of dining room chairs by re-covering the cushions with a stylish new fabric.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Dining Room Chair With Floral Cushion

Update a set of dining room chairs by re-covering the cushions with a stylish new fabric.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Related To:

How to Reupholster a Seat Cushion 01:36

Materials Needed

  • upholstered seat dining chairs
  • 1/2 yard fabric per seat cushion
  • 1/2 yard batting per seat cushion
  • 2-inch foam
  • temporary fabric pen
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • staple gun
  • staples
  • screwdriver
  • utility knife

Remove Seat Cushion

Remove the seat cushion from the chair frame using a screwdriver (Image 1). Then, remove the original fabric from the cushion by removing the staples (Image 2). Remove the old foam from the seat.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair: Remove Seat Cushion

Remove the seat cushion from the chair frame using a screwdriver.

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

How to Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair: Remove Original Fabric

Remove the original fabric from the cushion by removing the staples. Remove the old foam from the seat.

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Cut New Foam

Using the seat as a template, trace for a new piece of foam with a temporary fabric pen. Cut the foam using a utility knife.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair: Cut New Foam

Using the seat as a template, trace for a new piece of foam with a temporary fabric pen. Cut the foam using a utility knife.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Cut New Fabric

Place your foam and seat on top of your new fabric. Using a temporary fabric pen, trace a line three inches out from the seat and cushion. Cut the fabric along the line.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair: Cut New Fabric

Place your foam and seat on top of your new fabric. Using a temporary fabric pen, trace a line three inches out from the seat and cushion. Cut the fabric along the line.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Cut and Attach Batting

Use your new fabric cutout as a template to cut the new batting (Image 1). Attach the batting to the seat using a staple gun (Image 2). Pull the batting taut to the seat as you go. Trim the excess batting along the outer edge of the staple line (Image 3).

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair: Cut Batting

Use your new fabric cutout as a template to cut the new batting.

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

How to Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair: Attach Batting

Attach the batting to the seat using a staple gun. Pull the batting taut to the seat as you go.

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

How to Re-Cover a Dining Room Chair: Trim Excess Batting

Trim the excess batting along the outer edge of the staple line.

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Attach Fabric

Next, attach the fabric in the same way. Pull the fabric taut to the seat and staple it into place (Image 1). Pull the fabric snugly around curved corners to eliminate tucks on the top side of the cushion (Image 2).

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Follow this step-by-step guide showing how to reupholster a dining chair and give it a beautiful new paint finish.

Upcycling Experts Jenny Lloyd and Jonathan Parkin update a dining chair with midnight paintwork and a bright velvet seat

YOU WILL NEED

  • A wooden chair with a drop-in seat, which is the easiest type of chair to upholster and is readily available in junk shops, antiques markets and on eBay. The seat lifts out and may be fixed with a couple of screws

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

  • Paint/varnish stripper – try 100 per cent biodegradable SOY Gel, £24.40 a litre, Dave Roper
  • Fine and medium sandpaper
  • Washing-up sponge with an abrasive side
  • 25mm and 50mm brushes
  • 250ml matt emulsion or oil-based eggshell – try Dulux Paint Mixing emulsion in Night Jewels 1, £2.99 for 250ml
  • Fine wire wool
  • Beeswax – try Liberon Beeswax Paste in Clear, £6.98, Amazon
  • Two clean, dry cloth
  • Heavy-duty staple remover if your seat is covered using staples; try the Draper 43275, £5.84, Amazon
  • Upholster’s ripping chisel and a mallet or an old chisel or flat-head screwdriver and a hammer if your seat is covered using upholstery tacks
  • Optional: foam for replacing seat stuffing – the size of your wooden base plus 7mm all round. Try the foam shop for 2in High firm blue V38 foam
  • Optional: piece of plywood to fit seat
  • Large dressmaking scissors – or pinking shears, which cut a zigzag edge and prevent fraying
  • A piece of fabric large enough to conver the top of your seat with at least 12cm extra on all sides, Try Gautrait in Chartreuse from the Castellani collection, &79 a metre, Designers Guild
  • PVA glue (if replacing the seat foam)
  • Either a heavy-duty electric stapler (some nail guns also take staples) and 6-8mm staples to fit it. Or 10mm fine tacks (£2.76, upholsterywarehouse.co.uk) and a smallish hammer

HOW TO CREATE THE LOOK:

First remove the seat from the chair frame, taking out any screws and saving them for replacing. If it’s a bit tight, tap with a hammer from below.

Examine the frame, checking for loose joints, split wood and woodworm. Fix loose joints and splits with wood glue, clamping the glued areas until dry. Treat any signs of woodworm (neat, perfectly round holes) with a DIY woodworm treatment. Don’t worry about any superficial imperfections as these will add character when it’s painted.

Strip the chair back to bare wood with paint/varnish stripper, following the instructions supplied. Use the washing-up sponge to wipe up any residue. Once it’s clean and dry smooth it down with sandpaper.

Apply the first coat of paint, taking care not to overload the brush and avoiding blobs and dribbles. When completely dry, smooth with sandpaperand apply a second coat. When this is dry, go over the whole chair with fine sandpaper and wire wool until smooth all over.

Next, with fine and medium grade sandpaper, work on the ageing process on the edges. Don’t be scared of this – if you go too far just add more paint and start again. Then move on to other areas that would get natural wear, such as corners.

Once you’re satisfied with the paintwork, wax it using a cloth. Remove residue with a clean cloth.

Now examine the underside of the seat to see if it has a solid base and if the fabric was fixed with staples or tacks. To takeoff the top cover, remove the staples or tacks using the tools suggested above. When removing tacks, angle your chisel edge as low as you can under one edge of the tack in the direction of the wood grain and hit the end of the chisel sharply with the mallet/hammer until the tack comes loose.

When all the fixings are removed, carefully take off the top cover. If the seat stuffing is shapeless, saggy or just plain unpleasant, throw it all away and order some foam (see box). If the shape and firmness is good, set aside for reuse.

If the bottom of the seat is webbed (traditional interwoven strips tacked to the frame) and in bad condition, or you’re replacing the stuffing with foam, remove the webbing using the suggested tools and replace with a piece of plywood cut to size.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

If your fabric is patterned, think about its positioning on the seat. Any fabric with a pile such as velvet and chenille should be placed so that the pile runs smooth from the back to the front of the seat. Put your fabric (right-side down) onto a flat work surface and place your saved stuffing (upside down) in the middle of it. Position the inverted wooden base of the seat on top of this, making sure the frame sits square to the weave of the fabric. If using new foam, carefully trim it out to the shape of the seat (plus 7mm on all sides) and fix to the top of the base with PVA glue applied in blobs around the outer edge. Now invert onto your piece of fabric (see box).

Pulling the fabric up firmly over the base of the frame, fix a tack or staple midway down each side about 2cm from the edge. If using tacks, only knock them halfway in at this stage. Turn the seat over to see if you’re happy with the initial positioning and adjust if necessary. Continue fixing at intervals, working towards the corners from the initial fixings, two opposite sides at a time. Keep turning the seat over to check how it looks – the fabric should be taut, so you will be pulling hard on it as you work, creating an edge with no bumps. If at any point the fabric pulls too much and spoils the shape, remove the fixing and adjust the tension.

To fix the corners, first take up the corner piece of fabric, pull it tightly forward over the corner onto the frame. Position it so that the two flaps of fabric either side of the corner are even. These flaps will create a pleat so work out where they’ll be neatest and carefully cut the excess fabric from the middle of the pleats with scissors. Fix the pleats, pulling very firmly and creating as little bulk as possible. Repeat for each corner.

My mom still has her original dining room set from 35+ years ago when her an my dad got married and the dining chairs are in desperate need of being reupholstered. Since we moved in with my parents in 2008, my mom has disassembled the dining set and it’s spread throughout the house and many of the dining chairs are in our storage sheds. She has an area where she currently keeps her laptop and is using a folding chair at the moment as her seating. She asked me the other day if we could reupholster one of her dining chairs and use it temporarily in place of the folding chair. I laughed and said, “I’m sure it will look better then the folding chair.” So here we go, how to reupholster a dining chair.

How to reupholster a dining chair

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Here is the before picture. She has 10 of these guys!

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Remove the screws from the under and backside of the chair.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Remove the seat cover.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

You may need to use a screw driver (a very small tip) and hammer if your chair has wooden screw covers.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Once the screw caps/covers are removed, unscrew the back of the seat.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Here is the chair with the seat and back removed. This took all of 10 minutes. Super easy!

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Now it’s time to add your new fabric. Cut your fabric leaving 2 – 3 inches on each side.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

I used an “arrow head heavy duty staple gun” with 1/4 inch staples. You can purchase these staple guns at Home Depot or Lowes for under $20. Begin stapling your fabric to your chair piece.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Very easy and quick.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Once you finish one side, cut your next piece of fabric and lay on top of your chair piece and staple.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Staple along the edge.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Once I stapled the fabric to the chair piece, I trimmed off the excess fabric. This part is hidden behind the wood of the chair so my staples do not show.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

You can see how I trimmed off the excess close to the staple.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Next, do the same thing for the bottom seat cushion.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Staple your fabric to the seat cushion.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

The corners are a bit tricky. I just folder (like I was wrapping a gift) and made sure there were no wrinkles on the corner part that would be exposed.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Be sure to pull tight.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Staple every 12 inches or so.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Once you have your seat and back cushion reupholstered with your new fabric, screw them back onto the chair and you are done! This took about one hour and was ridiculously easy. I am fairly confident just about anyone can reupholster a dining chair using this method. I think the most difficult part was getting off the tiny wooden screw caps and that wasn’t really that hard.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

So what do you think? Could you reupholster a dining chair or any chair for that matter that was outdated? Do you know that a professional would charge hundreds of dollars to do what I did in one hour? My mom bought 2 yards of fabric for $11 and now she has an updated chair that she loves. Once we get her desk area situated, I’ll share how the chair looks in her new space. If you are interested in learning how to reupholster a wingback chair, be sure to check out our dining room wingback that I reupholstered last summer. I shared a video and full no sew tutorial.

Dining room chairs are one of the most common pieces of furniture to reupholster. Many of us own that one chair, sofa, or bench seat that has been through it all, and needs a makeover. The first step is choosing an upholstery fabric and figuring out how much you need.

The first time I reupholstered anything was a set of dining room chairs from the early 1900’s. Talk about old, but honestly, it was easier than I thought and they came out great considering it was my first time. However, I chose a print fabric and quickly realized that I should have looked at the repeat of the pattern first. But then again, I over calculated my measurements and bought twice the amount than what I needed!

Whether it’s you reupholstering the chair or a professional you’ve hired, knowing your measurements will help determine the amount of yardage you will need. I’ve put together some tips on how to measure a dining room chair seat, and what to take into consideration when choosing an upholstery fabric.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Using an Existing Pattern

Some chairs are shaped uniquely (usually vintage chairs), and in that case it’s easier to use the current pattern rather than taking down measurements. The best way is to take the fabric off that is currently on the chair and use it as a pattern for the new fabric. This includes the number of times the fabric is folded over around the edges (usually twice) and ironing them out so you have a complete flat pattern. If the staples have ripped the fabric, preventing it from lying out evenly, add an extra inch around the entire pattern. For the average dining room chair (16″ x 18″), you can get two seats out of ¾ of a yard, of 54” wide fabric.

Measuring

Measuring dining room chairs is pretty simple. It’s best to remove the seat from the chair to get the most accurate measurements. With a tape measure, measure the length of the seat from top to bottom from each bottom edge. Add another 3-4 inches to both sides to allow for a fold over finish and stapling underneath.

For non-standard sized seats or if your fabric width is not the standard 54″, see our Calculating Fabric Yardage for Your Project article to figure out how much fabric you need.

For the average chair (16” x 18”) you don’t need to measure the width because upholstery fabrics that are 54” wide will give you a sufficient amount of fabric to work with. If your chair is larger than average, measure the width the same way as you would measure the length at its widest point.

If you have more than one chair that you are reupholstering, multiply the number of chairs by 0.75 and divide by 2. This will give you the total amount of yardage you will need for your chairs.

If you choose a pattern with a repeat, allow yourself an extra 1/2 yard for matching the fabric. Also if it’s a large print, center the pattern in the middle of the seat, this way its not off centered. With repeats and large prints, consider an extra 1/2 yard to a yard for centering and matching the fabric.

Choosing Fabric

Check out our selection of décor fabric to find the perfect fabric for your dining chairs! You’re not limited to just heavy upholstery fabrics. Many drapery fabrics are also suitable for upholstering chairs. See our article on Drapery Fabric vs. Upholstery Fabric to find out more about what to look for when choosing a fabric for your project.

Questions & Comments

Have a comment? We want to hear! You can use the questions box to leave a comment too.

Do you want to change the look of your kitchen or dining room chairs for $30 or less? It’s a fairly easy DIY project you can do by yourself, even if you aren’t super handy. If you can use a stapler you can do this one.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

My dining room chairs were two different fabrics, which I would describe as dirty mushroom and brown. You can’t tell but I actually chose brown twice in two different shades. What was I thinking?

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Supplies Needed To Recover A Dining Chair Cushion

The biggest decision to make about recovering a chair is what fabric to use. If the chair is going somewhere that gets dirty, like in a kitchen, you should consider fabrics that can be easily cleaned. They are called performance fabrics and there are lots of different manufacturers.

I chose a black and white Sunbrella fabric because Sunbrella fabrics stand up to a lot of abuse and they can be cleaned. There are many different “high performance” fabrics available that are good for places where easy clean up is required.

You should measure your seat cushion length and width and add 4 inches on each side to allow the fabric to wrap around the cushion and onto the back. This depends some on how thick the cushions are. I was able to cover four chairs with two yards of fabric.

Other tools you will need are:

  • Staple gun like this one
  • Screw drivers (depending on your chairs, you may need both Phillips-head and regular).
  • Scissors
  • Tape – I used regular scotch tape
  • Hammer – you may not need this, but it depends on what your chairs are made of. I had to hammer the stapes because the wood was so dense.

Steps to Reupholster dining chairs

1.) Most dining room cushions are screwed into the chair base. Before you can recover the cushion you will need to remove the cushion from the chair. I like to turn my chairs upside down on the table to unscrew them.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

2.) Remove the existing fabric, unless you are covering a light fabric with something much darker. For me this meant prying out 50+ staples with a screw driver and a pair of pliers. Your chairs may have a pressed wood seat. If so, you might feel like you are removing staples from cement. It can take much longer to remove the old fabric than it does to put on the new.

3.) Use the fabric you remove as a pattern for cutting out your new fabric. Lay your fabric on a flat surface and put the old seat cover on top of the new fabric so you know exactly how big to cut the new fabric. If the new fabric has a pattern, be sure the pattern is even and running the directly you want before you cut.

4.) Tape the fabric on your chair before you start stapling. This is a non-permanent way to make sure the pattern is straight. If your fabric is striped or floral (or has any type of pattern) you will want to make sure the stripes look straight or that the pattern repeat looks the way that you want. The tape doesn’t need to be anything that will be long lasting, it is just a guide before you start stapling.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

5.) Staple the fabric to the chair. It works well to have two people (if you a helper who is willing like my Dad) because one person can pull the fabric tight and one person can staple. The staples on my chair would not go all the way into the wood, so I had to hammer them in all the way. Put two staples minimum on each side and then go back and add one every few inches.

Corners are the tricky area. You may need to cut away some excess fabric on the corners to get them to lay flat. It’s similar to wrapping a package. There is no one right way to do it, just keep pulling and folding and staple when you get it into a position you like.

6.) Screw the cushions back into the chair base. If your chairs are like mine, label each cushion and base before you start so you attach same cushion to base. The screw holes in my chairs were all over the place, there was no uniformity. Unfortunately, I didn’t mark them so there was no way to tell which cushion belonged on which chair base.

I entered this post into a contest found on this great web site for DIY and crafting, although I have NEVER WON any contest. Check out these great blogs, which host the contest.

R&R at Home (for great budget DIY finds), Dabbling and Decorating (for the most amazing dog photos and DIY), Robyn’s Southern Nest (you won’t believe how she can transform your kitchen sink) and A Heart Filled Home (to follow her new fixer upper project).

Have you ever entered a contest and won? Me neither.

Related Articles

Chair cushions consist of plywood inserts with foam and fabric that comes off easily. You can reupholster most dining room chairs in about an hour. If the fabric on the cushion is showing age, has become damaged or you’re simply sick of looking at it, replace the foam and fabric like a professional using simple hand tools. You can do a single chair, or spend the day doing them in a production mode by taking each one a step at a time.

Turn the chair upside down. Examine the frame. Look for screws that penetrate up through the frame into the plywood chair seat. Using a drill/driver, remove all the screws, and push the seat from the frame with your hand. There will typically be six or eight screws.

Stand the chair upright. Insert a putty knife between the wooden chair frame and the back cushion. Pry gently on the knife to lift the cushion slightly. Pry it up until the glue begins to loosen. Grab the thin plywood cushion with your fingers, and pull up on it gently. As the glue loosens, pull the back cushion free of the chair frame.

Place both cushions face down. Use a staple puller to remove the staples around the perimeter of the fabric. Pull the fabric off the foam.

Slide a putty knife under the foam to cut loose the glue. Pull the foam off the plywood. If some if it sticks to the plywood, scrape it off with the putty knife.

Spray the cushions with aerosol contact adhesive. Place dense fabric foam on the cushions, and press it down to bond it to the plywood. The foam should be at least one inch bigger than the plywood on all four sides. Trim the edges of the foam off flush to the plywood using a jigsaw.

Place the cushions foam side down on a piece of upholstery fabric that is at least four inches bigger than the foamed cushion on all four sides. Place a heavy object on the back of the plywood to compress the foam.

Pull the fabric up tight on one corner. Fold it over, and use an upholstery staple gun to shoot a staple one inch from the edge of the plywood to secure it. Move to the opposite corner diagonally. Fold, staple and shoot another staple. Move to the other corners and repeat. Pull the fabric up on the sides. Fold, staple and shoot staples in this manner, moving from side to side, end to end until you have staples two inches apart around the perimeter of fabric.

Check the cushion. If you see any pleats, folds or wrinkles, pull them out with your fingers, and shoot staples to secure the fabric tight. Finish by shooting the staples side-by-side around the fabric, maintaining the one-inch perimeter.

Place the seat cushion back into the chair bottom. Screw it back in using the same screws that you took out.

Apply beads of hot-melt glue to the plywood back cushion. Place the beads of glue two inches apart down the length of the back. Press the cushion into the chair back with your fingers. Hold the cushion tight for 30 seconds to bond the cushion to the frame.

The fabric on kitchen and dining room chairs can become worn and dirty over time, especially if you have messy eaters in your house. Or, you may just want to update the look of your chairs if they’ve become outdated.

Structurally sound kitchen and dining room chairs that are in otherwise good shape are an excellent choice for reupholstering. You can update the look of your kitchen or dining room with new fabric for your chairs. Typically, this is an easy project that requires little measurement and may not even require sewing, depending on the design of your chair.

Measurements are simple with chairs that only have fabric on the seat, but some kitchen and dining room chairs have fabric everywhere except the legs, and that can be more difficult. It’s important to make sure you have enough fabric to fully cover your chairs. With the right measurements, recovering the chairs in your kitchen or dining room can be a simple project.

How Much Fabric You Need to Reupholster a Kitchen or Dining Room Chair

How much fabric you need to reupholster a kitchen or dining room chair depends on the type of chair you have. Chairs that only have fabric on the seat will need less than a yard to cover two chairs, about three quarters of a yard. Chairs with fabric covering the back support will need two to three yards each. However, as every chair has its own shape and size, you’ll need to measure to be sure. You should also keep in mind that you may want to turn your fabric one way or another for appropriate patterns.

Measuring Your Kitchen or Dining Room Chair

With a seat only kitchen or dining room chair, your work here is easy. All you’ll need to do is remove the seat from the chair and measure the height and length at the largest point for each. Make sure you’re leaving at least two to three inches extra on each side so you’ll have room to securely attach the fabric to the chair.

With a kitchen or dining room chair that’s more completely covered in fabric, you’ll need to take additional measurements.

Method 1: Measure the Chair

If you prefer to measure the chair, you’ll take measurements of each section of the chair while the old fabric is still on. If you’d like to, you can keep the old fabric in place and simply recover over it, but chairs generally look better if you completely remove the old fabric.

  • Step 1: Measure the seat cushion. If the chair’s seat cushion is removable, take it out and record measurements for the length, height, and thickness. If not, simply measure the length and height of the seat at its largest points.
  • Step 2: Measure the back. Go to the back of the chair to measure the fabric area for height and width. Be sure to measure it from its highest point to its lowest.
  • Step 3: Measure the back support. Measure the inside of the back where your back rests, taking measurements from the top to the seat, as well as the width.
  • Step 4: Measure the chair arms and depth. If your chair has arms, don’t skip this step. Start your measurement on the outside at the bottom of the chair, then measure over the arm into the seat. You should also measure the depth of the chair.
  • Step 5: Add a few inches to all of your measurements. It’s a good idea to add a few inches to each measurement so you have room for error and plenty of room to cut and upholster.
  • Step 6: Add up your measurements. Take all of your measurements and add them together. This will give you your total amount of fabric in inches. You can divide by 36 to convert it to yards. Don’t forget to multiply if you’re covering more than one chair — and always round up, because you’d rather have more fabric than not enough.

Method 2: Measure the Fabric Pieces

If you plan to remove the old fabric before reupholstering and you’d rather not measure the chair itself, you can use the old fabric pieces instead, using them as a pattern. You won’t need to measure at all, unless you’re not sure of how much fabric to order.

  • Step 1: Disassemble the chair and remove the fabric. Gently remove existing fabric from the chair, taking care to keep each piece intact.
  • Step 2: Lay out your fabric. Lay down your new fabric, and then lay all of the old fabric pieces down on top of your new fabric. Pay attention to the direction you’re placing each piece if there’s a pattern in the fabric.
  • Step 3: Trace out pieces. Use chalk or pencil to trace patterns from the old fabric onto the new piece.
  • Step 4: Cut out your pieces. Leave a few inches around the outside of each piece as you cut it out on the new fabric.

Reupholstering Kitchen and Dining Room Chairs

Once you’ve prepared your fabric, it’s time to reupholster. Follow these steps to get a new look for your kitchen and dining room chairs.

  • Step 1: Disassemble your chair: If you haven’t already, remove each piece from the chair as much as possible. Consider labeling them on the inside so you don’t get confused when it’s time to reassemble.
  • Step 2: Add extra cushion: While you’re reupholstering, you may want to take the opportunity to replace worn out cushions. Consider adding extra padding with new foam or stuffing. You can even use an old pillow.
  • Step 3: Apply and staple new fabric: Place the fabric on each piece and fold down any corners. Use a staple gun to secure the fabric to the support, using several staples. Remember to pull the fabric tight so it won’t be loose when you put the chair back together.
  • Step 4: Trim extra fabric: Once your fabric is securely attached to the chair, trim extra fabric so your chair doesn’t have unnecessary bulk. Generally, you can leave an inch or two extra if you’d like.
  • Step 5: Reassemble your chair and enjoy: With all of the fabric pieces attached, put your chair back together, putting screws back in place and securing all hardware. Consider applying additional finishing touches, such as ornamental studs.

Things You’ll Need

Upholstery foam (optional)

Staple gun and staples

Nailhead trim (optional)

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Reupholstering old chairs is an inexpensive way to give a whole room a face lift. Studs and nailhead trim are both fabulous accents for a whole range of fabrics from leather to the most delicately printed cotton. Using upholstery studs is not hard, whether you are removing originals or adding new ones. They are easier to remove than staples, and much simpler to add than fancy trim that requires sewing. Reupholstering with studs can add new life to any old chair.

Step 1

Pop out old studs with a tack lifter. These look like a flat-head screwdriver with forked blade, and are available at hardware and home improvement stores.

Step 2

Place the old studs in a bowl to keep them from getting lost or ending up under someone’s bare feet.

Step 3

Cut the old fabric away from the seat and back of the chair with a utility knife, and check the condition of the foam underneath it. Remove old foam that is not in good shape.

Step 4

Spray foam that is in good condition with spray adhesive and press it to the chair’s seat and back. Trim away any excess with a utility knife.

Step 5

Spray a light coating of adhesive onto the foam and attach the batting. Let it dry for five to 10 seconds and then trim away the excess with scissors.

Step 6

Lay your new fabric over the foam and batting on the chair’s seat and back. Trace the shape of where the fabric will fit onto the back and the seat of the chair with chalk.

Step 7

Cut out the fabric, leaving at least 1/8 inch extra on the outside of the chalk line.

Step 8

Tuck that 1/8 inch under the edges and iron them flat. Pull the fabric taut over the foam and batting, and secure it with a few staples.

Step 9

Replace the studs you removed by tapping them in to place with a small hammer, or give the chair a more complete makeover with brand-new nailhead trim.

Hold a blow dryer over vinyl for a few seconds to soften it up for a tighter and smoother fit.

Warning

Keep studs and nailhead trim away from small children and pets.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Brynne Chandler

Brynne Chandler built her first bookcase at eight years old, which is also right around the time she started writing. An avid crafter, decorator and do-it-yourselfer, Brynne has remodeled several homes including one cantilevered on a cliff and one that belonged to Olympic swimmer and actor Buster Crabbe. Best known for her EMMY-nominated TV animation writing, she has been writing non-fiction content for almost a decade and has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle online, among other places.

Remember my dumpster chair? I finally finished it! Are you ready? (Note: This post will contain affiliate links. See more about my affiliations by reading my Disclosure Statement.)

Here’s what it looked like when I found it:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

And then I removed the fleece blanket that the previous owner had used to reupholster it. So it looked like this:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

And it smelled HORRID. I’m pretty sure an animal peed on it.

So I took the seat off, scrubbed the wood (it was so filthy), lightly sanded, and primed.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Which is where I left you about three weeks ago, isn’t it?

Well, it took me a while to get the paint done because I majorly screwed up. And then I couldn’t figure out how to do the cushion.

But I managed it. And now it looks like this:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Let me just show you more. Yes, I am going into picture overload today. I’m just too excited NOT to show you this chair from as many angles as possible. 😛

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

OK, let’s actually break this down.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Materials Used:

  • 1 can spray primer
  • 2 cans Colonial Red spray paint, Glossy
  • fabric (from the $2.00 bin at Wal-Mart)
  • light duty staple gun
  • chair foam (I got a set of four from Wal-Mart)
  • spray adhesive
  • burlap

Reupholstering a dining chair cushion looks so easy. What I found was that it is REALLY not. Here’s how I made it work, though.

Step 01: I tore out the old upholstery and threw away the cushion. It was filled with this nasty brown stuff and it smelled absolutely terrible. As I said earlier, I’m fairly sure it had been urinated on. It was gross. So after I got that taken off (which took a while), I threw it all out. Then I got my foam, which wasn’t quite big enough. So I laid my seat frame on two pieces, traced it, and cut it out, and glued them together.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

I did this twice, so the chair would have a lot of padding.

Step 02: I also cut out a piece of burlap to lay over those springs. I didn’t want my cushion to fall through the chair, so the burlap was necessary. I cut it into a square, stapled it to the frame, and then trimmed it down to size.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Next, I took my foam, used my spray adhesive to glue the foam to the burlap and then more spray adhesive to glue the next layer of foam to the first layer.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

And then the fun began.

Step 03: I cut out a square of fabric and spent an hour and a half trying to figure out how to put it on the frame so it wouldn’t have creases.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Once I figured it out (I folded the fabric over in a couple inconspicuous spots), I took my stapler and stapled the fabric down. The underside looked like this:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

I didn’t want fabric poking out, but I also didn’t feel like trimming it. So I used more burlap to give it a slightly more professional-looking bottom.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Here’s what it looked like:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Then it was a simple matter of attaching the seat to the chair. It came with screws, so not a big deal.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Here’s a comparison photo:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

I love it! It came out even nicer than I hoped it would.

So it’s been decided–I’m decorating my guest room in red. 😀

What do you think? Have you ever reupholstered something? I’d loved to see it, so feel free to share it on my Facebook wall!

REUPHOLSTERING can help turn a cheap chair into a statement piece of furniture, but how do you reupholster a chair?

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Reupholstery is a key skill which has seen a renewed interest during the coronavirus lockdown. It is possible for beginners to handle some small reupholstery projects, but there is a risk of messing up when more complicated or intricate jobs are approached. Express.co.uk has compiled a guide to show you how to reupholster a chair.

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How to reupholster a chair

Materials and tools needed:

  • Old chair
  • Paint stripper
  • Mask
  • Rubber gloves
  • Furniture wax or lime wax
  • Fabric
  • Tracing paper or pattern paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Upholstery tacks
  • Ribbon
  • Sewing machine
  • Embroidery thread
  • Textile or craft adhesive
  • Pins
  • Staple gun (optional).

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to reupholster a chair: How do you reupholster chairs? (Image: GETTY)

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to reupholster a chair: Upholstering should be undertaken with caution (Image: GETTY)

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How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step one: Choose a chair to reupholster and the fabric you wish to use

Each chair must be broached differently when reupholstering.

A dining room style chair is one of the easiest ways to make a big change with little effort.

Regarding how much fabric to buy, you should either use a tape to measure your furniture and get rough estimates for each panel or wait until you have removed the old fabric and get a better sense of how much you will need.

Crucially, it is advisable to buy more fabric than you think you need just in case more is required.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to reupholster a chair: You need to remove the old fabric before reupholstering a chair (Image: GETTY)

Step two: Remove the old fabric and batting

Before you begin pulling the fabric off, you should photograph the piece of furniture from all angles as this will come in useful when you are putting new fabric on the chair.

Remove the old fabric by turning the chair upside down and disassemble the chair as needed to remove the upholstery pieces.

You should be careful to avoid tearing any of these old pieces of fabric as you may need them as patterns.

As you remove pieces, you should mark each piece to ensure you know the location on the chair and be sure to note on each piece the location of welting and where the pieces are sewn together.

Upholstery batting is the fabric padding found between two layers of upholstery covering which is typically made from materials such as foam, cotton or polyester.

If the batting on your piece of furniture is worn or stained, you should remove it from the item, checking springs and webbing for damage and repair if necessary.

If needed, cut a piece or battling to cover the chair back and seat as needed, covering the chair back first and stapling it down.

To avoid showing visible indents from the staples, you can pull gently on the batting around each staple so the staple is inside the batting.

Next, cover the seat with batting, in the same way, folding neatly around the corners.

Related Articles

Upholstering a chair seat updates the look of your chairs with just a small amount of fabric. Most instructions begin by telling you to remove the chair seat from its frame, but this is not always possible. Reupholstering a chair seat without removing it is a bit of a challenge – especially if the chair has arms – but with some ingenuity, you can have that chair seat covered in no time.

Measure the chair seat from side to side at its widest point. Add 10 inches to get the total width of fabric you need for each chair seat.

Measure your chair seat from front to back and add 5 inches to get the total length of fabric you need for each chair seat. Choose a fabric that is sturdy, but not so stiff that it’s uncomfortable to sit on. Avoid very delicate fabrics or those that are difficult to clean unless the chair is for display only.

Cut out the fabric with scissors according to your measurements.

Place a piece of poster board on your chair seat. Trace the shape of the seat with a marker. This is easiest if you do it from the bottom of the seat. Cut out the poster board with scissors or a craft knife along the line you drew.

Lay the poster board on top of a piece of 2-inch-thick upholstery foam. Trace the shape of the chair seat onto the foam to create a pattern. Cut out the foam.

Place a piece of cotton batting on top of the foam and trim it to fit, or use the poster board pattern to cut it out.

Spray the foam with spray adhesive that is formulated for use with foam. Align the piece of batting on top of the foam and press it down gently with your fingertips.

Place the fabric on your work surface with the printed side down. Spray the batting with adhesive spray and center it and the foam on the fabric. Let the adhesive dry for a few seconds.

Place the foam on top of the chair seat with the fabric on top. Hold the top of the cushion in place with one hand while you gently pull one side of the fabric under the chair and place a staple in the center of the fabric’s edge. Repeat for the remaining three sides.

Snip slits at the arms and legs, if necessary. Turn the edges of the slits under and pin them to the foam with straight pins to keep them properly aligned while you staple the fabric to the underside of the chair.

Turn the chair over and continue pulling the fabric up and over the chair seat and stapling it on either side of the center staples.

Staple the corners last, starting with the fabric at the point of the corner and pleating it on either side of the first staple.

Learn how to reupholster a chair seat. Make an old chair useful again by reupholstering the seat.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

My great-aunt gave me an old chair last year that I just couldn’t say no to.

The chair needed a lot of work and I could tell that she tried to fix it up but it ended up being too much work for her.

I knew that I wanted it to be Gabrielle’s desk chair, but we haven’t started her Purple room yet (I’ll explain why in another post) so I ended up storing the chair in my basement.

Lucky for me, I was contacted by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores to review the new EXCLUSIVE vibrant collection of indoor and outdoor home decor fabrics that were created along with HGTV HOME.

As soon as I received the fabric, I knew EXACTLY what I was going to do with it. Before, I show you what I made.. take a look at what I received.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

1 Yard of – HGTV HOME Urban Bloom Berry
1 Yard of – HGTV HOME Checkered Past Berry
HGTV Lip Cord Mulberry Trim
And an HGTV magazine!

I instantly fell in LOVE with the HGTV HOME Urban Blossoms fabric!

It was perfect to reupholster the seat of the chair my aunt gave me.

With the touch of purple within the flowers on the fabric, I knew that painting the chair purple would give the seat the perfect punch. (Here’s the how to paint a chair tutorial.)

This post also contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Chair Seat

Supplies:

Instructions:

Step 1: Remove the staples from the chair seat using a flat screwdriver, this will remove the fabric.

Dispose the old fabric and old padding (in my case it was straw hehe).

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 2: Place the wooden seat onto the foam. We placed it flush on one side, like that we only had to cut on three sides.

Step 3: Use a utility knife to cut the foam contouring the seat. If your blade isn’t long enough, keep making passes with your knife. (We made two passes).

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 4: Place the foam on your fabric exactly where you want it. We played around with it until we found the perfect spot. (We wanted a particular flower to show on the seat.)

Step 5: Cut the fabric around the seat leaving at least 6″ to 7″ around each side.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 6: Place the wooden seat back on the foam and wrap the fabric over it.

Step 7: Pull the fabric tight and staple it onto the wooden seat. (Don’t staple the corners, you need enough room to work. ) It’s better to have a few staples and add some later than have too many and not be able to work with your fabric.

Step 8 (optional): Hammer down the staples if your stapler wasn’t able to staple all the way through the wood.

Step 9: Fold the corners of the fabric until you reach the desired look and then staple them. (Hammer down the staples if needed).

Step 10: Cut off the extra fabric.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Reupholstered Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Doesn’t the seat and the purple chair go fabulous together?

I love its bold look.

Did you enjoy this how to reupholster tutorial?

Hope you are having a FABULOUS day!

P.S. I’ll be linking to these Parties.

Disclosure: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores sent me fabric from the new HGTV HOME line in order to create this project. The opinions in this post are 100% my own.

This post is closely linked with my dining chair makeover post. The other post covers the wood prep and painting and this one shows you how to reupholster the cushion part.

The kit and caboodle:

  • Flat head screwdriver (to prise up the old upholstery nails)
  • Pliers or something similar (again, to help remove the old upholstery nails)
  • Hammer
  • Upholstery nails (I got a pack from dunelm)
  • Cushion stuffing
  • Cushion padding/wadding (the sort that comes on a roll)
  • ‘Backing’ fabric to go underneath the seat pad (I used a simple, cheap, black fabric)
  • Lining fabric (I used cheap white fabric)
  • Outer fabric (I found this Stag fabric on eBay)

How to do it:

1. Remove all the old upholstery nails, if they’re decent you can reuse them. If they are bent and rusted then don’t try to reuse them. Use a flat head screwdriver and pliers or something similar to prise the old nails up and out of the wood.

2. Remove pretty much everything except the webbing, if your chair has it (those strips that have been put on in a crisis cross which you can see in the photo below). For any strips that need tightening, remove the nails, pull the webbing tighter and hammer some new nails in.

3. Place all your cushion filling in the right place. Cover it with the lining fabric and secure it in place with your new upholstery nails.

4. Cover it with your lovely outer fabric, if there is a pattern on it double check that you’ve got it facing the right direction before you hammer in the nails. I forgot to take photos of this bit but you get the idea.

5. This is the bit that keeps it tidy, and the extra nails provide a bit of extra security and durability to your cushion. One the underside of your seat pad, get your backing fabric and neatly fold in the edges, then secure the fabric by hammering in your upholstery pins. (By the way, that awesome rustic chunk of wood under my bed is my pallet wood under bed drawer – I LOVE it and I’ll link to my post about it when I’ve written it).

Well there you have it, a lovely new dining chair seat pad cushion thing 😀 (yes that is Star Trek in the background… and I’m sorry for the mess)

Before I go… I have a couple of tips to share – Be careful, old rusty nails are not something you want to get stuck in your hands, or feet, or anywhere else. Then be extra careful, missing the nail and hitting your thumb with the hammer is… uncomfortable 😣 and finally make sure you extra double check the size that your fabric needs to be. All should be good from there 😃

Hope you enjoyed reading, ping me a comment if you like it👌🏻👍🏻

My husband and I found a dining room set (for cheeeaaap) right before we got married. The table was great, but I was less enthusiastic about the chairs… and my hatred for the pleather has grown since that day. Since moving into our home our “to-do” list is neverending, but nonetheless, I stuck “reupholster dining chairs” to the end of it. I finally got around to it in early May and since it took me a full day to find the best method, I thought I’d share with you how I reupholstered our dining chairs.

Most dining chair seats sit INTO the chair and recovering them is super simple (like this ). However, our seats pretty much make up the chairs which made reupholstering them much more involved.

I took apart the first chair and it took me about 30 attempts to find the right method. From my research, it appears we have Parsons chair seats, so I looked at several tutorials featuring full Parsons Chairs to find the method that worked best for me. Once I found it, though, it wasn’t super difficult and the rest of the chairs came together easily. Below is a photo of our ugly “before” chair.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Supplies

    • Staple Gun (this one has a fabulous remover tool which will save you so much grief!)
    • Added foam padding (if necessary)
    • Needle Nose Pliers
    • Fabric Scissors
    • Fabric Pins
    • Sewing Machine / Needle and Thread
    • Fabric of Choice (

    3/4 of a yard for each chair for 54″+ bolt fabric)

  • Allen Wrench Set (imperial and metric sets are great to keep around the house!)

Step 1 | Dismantle Chair

Before you remove the old upholstery, you’ll need to dismantle the chair. Of course, all chairs are a little bit different. Mine was held together with 10 bolts. I removed the bolts with my allen wrench set and then I was able to remove the seat from the back of the chair.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 2 | Remove Old Upholstery

Next, you’ll take the old upholstery off of the seat. Once again, chairs will vary. However, I removed strips of velcro from the perimeter of the bottom of the seat first with pliers (the easy way is to grab hold of a corner and twist if you don’t have a staple puller).

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Then, instead of removing all the staples from the seat, I removed the easy staples and for the rest I took a box cutter and cut on both sides of each staple. Finally, I just pushed back the old fabric and slid it off the seat. This was the most labor intensive step for me. So. Many. Staples. Next time, I’ll invest in a staple puller .

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 3 | Measure For New Upholstery Fabric

Let me preface this by saying – if you’re SUPER type A, this method probably won’t work for you. You’ll want to bust out your tape measure. Due to the 3-dimensional property of my seats, I decided to skip measuring and just go with the eye-ball effect. Place your seat under the fabric and bring it in (like you’re doing a loose cover for each seat). Make sure you have a few inches of buffer fabric and cut around the seat.

Note: If you’re adding padding to your seats, be sure you do this PRIOR to cutting the fabric. Just a little padding can be cause for a little more fabric per seat. You don’t want to be short when you’re putting them together later.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 4 | Sewing Box Corners

Technically, I’m not 100% positive that these are “box corners” but that’s the best descriptor I could come up with. When your seats are thick and square, it’s so important to make the front of them look nice and neat. I despise puckering and if you don’t sew pleats down the front, it’s likely you will have puckering with your final product.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

To do this, I turned the fabric right-side down onto the cushion. I double checked that all sides would reach the bottom of the chair comfortably for staples. Then, at the front of the cushion, I made a triangle at both corners. I turned the corners over and with a pencil, I made a line inside the corner. Then, I pinned the corners and sewed along the lines. This graphic might help you visualize this step better:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 5 | Assemble Fabric onto Cushion

Now that the corners were sewn, I flipped the fabric right-side-out and slide the corners onto the front of the cushion. With a partner’s help, I pulled the fabric tightly and secured the fabric on the opposite side (the rear side of cushion) with 1 or 2 staples in the middle.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Then, I folded the fabric on the rear side of the cushion in an “envelope flap style” and stapled it as I pulled tightly on the fabric. Next, I stapled both sides of the seat cushion and the front while pulling tightly against the fabric to make sure no wrinkles occurred.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Trim all the excess fabric!

Step 6 | Reassemble Dining Chairs

Now put the chairs back together as they were originally. The chairs are finished!!

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

My fabric covered the bolt holes, so I had to go in with very sharp small scissors and cut small holes to get the bolts back through. Depending on how your chairs are designed, this may or may not apply.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Overall, I am so proud of how these chairs turned out. No more “swampy butt” from sitting on the pleather (seriously… so many reasons to hate that fabric) and the style goes with the overall feel of our home a lot more. Plus, I basically got new dining room chairs for just about $60. Sure beats spending several hundred PER chair, doesn’t it?

Table of Contents

Is your favorite chair beginning to look a little ragged or threadbare? It happens. After all, a well-crafted chair will hold up a lot longer than the upholstery you cover it with, no matter what the specific material might be.

If your favorite piece of furniture still has a lot of life in it yet, but you can’t say the same for its upholstery, having it re-covered is a smart choice that will save you money, but there’s a catch. Reupholstering furniture isn’t a trivial task. It’s something that takes a fair amount of time, patience, and skill.

Before you begin, the real question is: Are you sure you want to dive into this as a hobby?

For a solid majority of people, the answer to that question winds up being no, and we totally understand that. Reupholstering furniture isn’t going to be for everyone. Our advice is the same no matter what type of chair or another piece of furniture you’re talking about: Take it to a professional and pay to have someone else do it.

The rest of this article will be for those readers who want to know how to reupholster chairs yourself. If it’s something you’re interested in and passionate about, you’ll find tons of great resources here to help you reupholster your favorite chair or another piece of furniture to give it a new lease on life.

Before we jump into specifics, we should say a few words about how this article is organized. Most readers will have a specific type of furniture in mind that they want to reupholster, and this piece is designed with that philosophy in mind.

In another article on this site related to cleaning your furniture, the organization centered around the specific type of upholstery to be cleaned. That’s sub-optimal for this piece, though. Although the process is broadly similar, many styles or types of furniture add wrinkles to the equation that need to be accounted for, while the specific type of upholstery you’re using doesn’t really change the equation all that much. This document has been structured with that fact very much in mind.

Reupholstering Basics

Regardless of the type of furniture you’re planning to reupholster or the material you plan to use when doing so, broadly speaking, the reupholstering process falls into three basic categories: Removing the old material, refinishing the visible wooden sections of the furniture, if any, and then the actual reupholstering process itself.

Removing Old Upholstery

Removing the aging upholstery is, or can be a time-consuming and tedious process that includes removing the material itself, the stuffing beneath, and any nails, screws or staples that are holding it in place.

Refinishing Wooden Sections

Refinishing the visible wood of the piece of furniture in question involves sanding and re-staining, then covering with one or more protective coats of polyurethane and allowing all of that to dry completely before moving onto the rest of the job.

Reupholstering

Reupholstering involves selecting the material you want to use, re-padding the chair, and attaching the new upholstery, then putting the furniture back together if and as needed so that it’s ready for use.

All of that sounds pretty simple and straightforward when it exists in a few typed lines of text, but the process can be, depending on who you are, either maddening or incredibly satisfying.

In any case, it’s almost always a much bigger and more involved job than most people realize. It pays to check in with yourself one last time before starting the job to be sure you’re ready to see it through to completion. Assuming you are, let’s take a closer look at how your choice of materials adds variation to the process.

How to Reupholster Bar Chairs

Many bar chairs and bar stools are made entirely of wood, so it’s not so much about reupholstering as it is about refinishing in those cases. The process of reupholstering bar chairs will depend on what material you choose to reupholster with.

Here are two great video tutorials that step you through the process:

Looking for a simple and beginner-friendly way to spruce up your dining room table and bring new life to one of the most important rooms in your home? How about re-covering your chair seats with faux leather or vinyl fabric? This fun DIY project will freshen up your dining room in a quick and easy way!

Re-covering chair seats doesn’t have to be an expensive project. We’ll show you the three different tools you can use to cut the foam for your new seats. The Sailrite ® Foam Saw with Carrying Case is a high-quality saw that features dual blades for smooth, clean cuts. But you can also use an electric kitchen knife or scissors to cut the foam. These alternatives result in less professional-looking cuts, but are good enough for re-covering a dining room chair and are tools you probably already have on hand. We’ll also show you a great trick for saving money on costly foam by gluing sections of foam together.

Let us take the guesswork out of figuring out how much fabric and foam you’ll need. We’ll do the math for you and show you how to calculate the measurement requirements for your fabric and foam so you don’t buy too much or not enough supplies. We chose to re-cover our chair with Ultraleather ® — a luxury faux leather fabric that is ideal for upholstery projects. It is easy to clean, has an extremely supple hand, is incredibly durable, and has the look and feel of genuine leather. Not only is Ultraleather ideal for dining room chair upholstery, but it’s also great for automobile seats, yacht interiors and RV interiors, making it the perfect indoor upholstery fabric.

In this video, we will show you how to remove your existing chair seats, how to measure and cut new foam if needed, and how to attach your new fabric to your chair seat.

My husband and I found a dining room set (for cheeeaaap) right before we got married. The table was great, but I was less enthusiastic about the chairs… and my hatred for the pleather has grown since that day. Since moving into our home our “to-do” list is neverending, but nonetheless, I stuck “reupholster dining chairs” to the end of it. I finally got around to it in early May and since it took me a full day to find the best method, I thought I’d share with you how I reupholstered our dining chairs.

Most dining chair seats sit INTO the chair and recovering them is super simple (like this ). However, our seats pretty much make up the chairs which made reupholstering them much more involved.

I took apart the first chair and it took me about 30 attempts to find the right method. From my research, it appears we have Parsons chair seats, so I looked at several tutorials featuring full Parsons Chairs to find the method that worked best for me. Once I found it, though, it wasn’t super difficult and the rest of the chairs came together easily. Below is a photo of our ugly “before” chair.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Supplies

    • Staple Gun (this one has a fabulous remover tool which will save you so much grief!)
    • Added foam padding (if necessary)
    • Needle Nose Pliers
    • Fabric Scissors
    • Fabric Pins
    • Sewing Machine / Needle and Thread
    • Fabric of Choice (

    3/4 of a yard for each chair for 54″+ bolt fabric)

  • Allen Wrench Set (imperial and metric sets are great to keep around the house!)

Step 1 | Dismantle Chair

Before you remove the old upholstery, you’ll need to dismantle the chair. Of course, all chairs are a little bit different. Mine was held together with 10 bolts. I removed the bolts with my allen wrench set and then I was able to remove the seat from the back of the chair.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 2 | Remove Old Upholstery

Next, you’ll take the old upholstery off of the seat. Once again, chairs will vary. However, I removed strips of velcro from the perimeter of the bottom of the seat first with pliers (the easy way is to grab hold of a corner and twist if you don’t have a staple puller).

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Then, instead of removing all the staples from the seat, I removed the easy staples and for the rest I took a box cutter and cut on both sides of each staple. Finally, I just pushed back the old fabric and slid it off the seat. This was the most labor intensive step for me. So. Many. Staples. Next time, I’ll invest in a staple puller .

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 3 | Measure For New Upholstery Fabric

Let me preface this by saying – if you’re SUPER type A, this method probably won’t work for you. You’ll want to bust out your tape measure. Due to the 3-dimensional property of my seats, I decided to skip measuring and just go with the eye-ball effect. Place your seat under the fabric and bring it in (like you’re doing a loose cover for each seat). Make sure you have a few inches of buffer fabric and cut around the seat.

Note: If you’re adding padding to your seats, be sure you do this PRIOR to cutting the fabric. Just a little padding can be cause for a little more fabric per seat. You don’t want to be short when you’re putting them together later.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 4 | Sewing Box Corners

Technically, I’m not 100% positive that these are “box corners” but that’s the best descriptor I could come up with. When your seats are thick and square, it’s so important to make the front of them look nice and neat. I despise puckering and if you don’t sew pleats down the front, it’s likely you will have puckering with your final product.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

To do this, I turned the fabric right-side down onto the cushion. I double checked that all sides would reach the bottom of the chair comfortably for staples. Then, at the front of the cushion, I made a triangle at both corners. I turned the corners over and with a pencil, I made a line inside the corner. Then, I pinned the corners and sewed along the lines. This graphic might help you visualize this step better:

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Step 5 | Assemble Fabric onto Cushion

Now that the corners were sewn, I flipped the fabric right-side-out and slide the corners onto the front of the cushion. With a partner’s help, I pulled the fabric tightly and secured the fabric on the opposite side (the rear side of cushion) with 1 or 2 staples in the middle.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Then, I folded the fabric on the rear side of the cushion in an “envelope flap style” and stapled it as I pulled tightly on the fabric. Next, I stapled both sides of the seat cushion and the front while pulling tightly against the fabric to make sure no wrinkles occurred.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Trim all the excess fabric!

Step 6 | Reassemble Dining Chairs

Now put the chairs back together as they were originally. The chairs are finished!!

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

My fabric covered the bolt holes, so I had to go in with very sharp small scissors and cut small holes to get the bolts back through. Depending on how your chairs are designed, this may or may not apply.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Overall, I am so proud of how these chairs turned out. No more “swampy butt” from sitting on the pleather (seriously… so many reasons to hate that fabric) and the style goes with the overall feel of our home a lot more. Plus, I basically got new dining room chairs for just about $60. Sure beats spending several hundred PER chair, doesn’t it?

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

The cost to reupholster a dining chair

As we’re sure you can appreciate, the cost to reupholster a dining chair varies considerably based on the design of your chair. We’d like to take you through the process of obtaining a quote and give you some examples so you know what sort of costs you could be looking at.

Providing your written quotation

As a Which? Trusted Trader, part of our responsibility is to provide you with a written quotation which is as accurate as possible. We’ll do our very best to assess your dining chairs, but even the most experienced upholsterer can’t see through fabric! If we find extra work is required, we will always call you and talk you through the work before proceeding.

We can provide these quotations in a few different ways:

• Using our contact form – This is the quickest way to to find out the cost to reupholster a dining chair of yours, as we aim to reply with a quotation within 24 hours
• In store – Bring a photo, dimensions, or the chair itself to get an idea of the cost
• Home visit – If you have a number of dining chairs or are considering changing their design, we can arrange a free, no obligation home visit if you are in the Bristol/Bath area

Dining chair upholstery costs

To give you an idea of the costs involved we have included a number of case studies below. As a basic guide, when using material from our standard range and simply stripping and recovering, you can expect to pay:

from £43.00 for base only in fabric
from £146.00 for separate back and base in fabric
from £202.00 for attached back and base in fabric on a high back

Examples of previous jobs

Mrs S wanted to freshen up her six dining chair bases from a faded terracotta to a fabulous blue. She fell in love with a fabric she had spotted elsewhere, so we advised how many metres she required and checked it was compliant with our fire regulations. With new foams and reupholstered, these dining chair bases cost just over £33.00 each, plus fabric – well worth doing!

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Put down the needle and thread; back away from your sewing machine. DIY upholstery, a simple technique that will have you re-covering chairs, benches, headboards, and even box springs with your own two hands, requires only one tool, and it’s a staple gun. The method is not unlike wrapping a present, and the results are more professional-looking than you can imagine. We spoke with Ana Verdi, the designer at Thompson Fine Home Renovation, to learn what crafty beginners should know before tackling their first DIY upholstery project.

Verdi’s rule of thumb: “Anything with straight lines” can probably be upholstered successfully by a beginner. (Side note: Here’s how to know if you’re out of your league.) “Once you get into any sort of curved arm, the process can be trickier if you’re not confident making a pleat,” she explains. The square seat of a dining room chair or a rectangular bench top are the obvious contenders for a first project, but Verdi says bigger isn’t necessarily more complex: “You can upholster a box spring and screw legs onto it so it looks like an upholstered bed.”

  • Fabric: Upholstery-weight will work best for any high-wear situations like seating, though Verdi says that you can get around that by having a less durable fabric backed by a seamstress, or by laying down a piece of canvas or muslin underneath it.
  • Batting: Inexpensive, puffy sheets of cotton wadding that create the cushy puff under the fabric.
  • Staple Gun: A hand staple gun will get the job done, though investing in a pneumatic model (not too much pricier) will save you quite a bit of labor.
  • Hammer: For tapping in flourishes like nailheads or grommets. “An easy trick is to wrap your hammer with batting and secure that with a rubber band,” says Verdi, which will protect those accents you’re hammering in from scratching.
  • Upholstery Tack Strip: Essentially a long, skinny strip of double-stick cardboard, tack strip is used to create a clean finished seam on straight-edged upholstery. Here’s how you use it.

The basic process for DIY upholstery is this: First, remove the piece you’re upholstering—by flipping over a chair and unscrewing and removing the seat, for instance. Cut a piece of batting to the size and shape of the seat and lay it right on top. Lay a large piece of fabric over that, so that there’s plenty of overhang, and then flip over the whole seat-batting-fabric quesadilla. Pull those loose edges of the fabric taut and staple them to the backside of the surface to trap the batting inside. There are endless tutorials on YouTube for this process; here’s a simple, straightforward one.

In many cases, this stapled side can be left messy—you won’t see it on the underside of a chair seat or a bench—but if you want to cover it neatly, reach for the upholstery tack strip, another piece of fabric, and your staple gun.

A rectangular bench top would be simple to DIY upholster, too.

When reupholstering an old piece, Verdi says, you might be able to salvage the old batting if it’s been kept in a temperate, dry location (like your parents’ house). So long as the old fabric isn’t darker than your new fabric, you can even upholster right over it. But “if you found something at a flea market, where it might have been left in the rain at some point, you probably want to strip it down to the wood and replace the batting,” she says — as there would be nothing worse than going to all this trouble only to realize your chair is molding from the inside out.

Written by: Tanya Brody

Written on: July 14, 2020

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Many people look at an old chair and feel that it needs to be discarded because of the fabric, when really all they need to do is reupholster it. Upholstery is a lot easier than many people think, because much of it involves stapling or nailing instead of sewing.

And if you examine the chair itself, it will tell you how to reupholster it by looking at its many components. Replacing the cushion on a fixed-seat chair is an afternoon’s project.

Estimate how much fabric you will need to recover your fixed seat cushion. Many places that sell upholstery have charts that help with this estimation.

Consider the wear and tear on your fixed seat cushion. Do you have children or pets? Is your chair used a great deal? How long do you want this fabric cushion to last? Heavier upholstery fabric will last longer and is usually more stain-resistant but will be harder to manoeuvre when reupholstering the chair. Lighter fabrics are easier to work with but will show signs of wear much sooner.

  • Many people look at an old chair and feel that it needs to be discarded because of the fabric, when really all they need to do is reupholster it.
  • And if you examine the chair itself, it will tell you how to reupholster it by looking at its many components.

Purchase the appropriate amount of fabric and welting (cloth that is used to trim the edges of your chair) or trim.

Remove the trim or welting from around the base of the upholstered part of the chair.

Remove the staples or tacks holding the upholstery to the chair with the needle-nose pliers. Try not to rip the fabric, as this will become your pattern piece.

Lay the old piece of upholstery out, right side down, on a flat surface. Remove any stitching in the upholstery so that the piece can be laid entirely flat. Set this piece aside.

  • Purchase the appropriate amount of fabric and welting (cloth that is used to trim the edges of your chair) or trim.
  • Remove the trim or welting from around the base of the upholstered part of the chair.

Lay out the new upholstery fabric, right side down, on a flat surface.

Lay the old piece of upholstery on top of the new upholstery, right side down.

Trace around the old piece of upholstery fabric, using it as a pattern. Mark any places that have been folded or any notches that will need to be stitched.

Cut out the new piece of upholstery fabric.

Sew any corners or darts that need to be stitched. Trim any excess seam allowance, if necessary.

  • Lay out the new upholstery fabric, right side down, on a flat surface.
  • Trace around the old piece of upholstery fabric, using it as a pattern.

Replace the batting or foam on the seat of the chair.

Slide the new cushion cover over the batting and settle it onto the framework so that it can be attached to the frame. Check all corners to make sure they line up correctly.

Staple or tack the new cushion cover onto the frame of the chair. Pull evenly on opposite sides of the new cushion cover to avoid wrinkles. Trim excess fabric away from underneath the staples

Run a bead of hot melt glue around the stapled area.

  • Replace the batting or foam on the seat of the chair.
  • Slide the new cushion cover over the batting and settle it onto the framework so that it can be attached to the frame.

Press the welting or trim onto the hot melt glue to secure the trim, and cover the raw edge of the fabric and staples.

By Robin Gagnon | Updated on 02/20/2018

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair SeatMy daughter is one messy little character, and she has been doing a lot of her in-home ABA therapy at our dining table, thus the upholstery on my chairs has been taking a lot of abuse. I am refreshing the double parlour where the table is with new paint this week, so it seemed the perfect time to reupholster my dining chairs as well. It is an inexpensive and easy DIY project, so if yours are looking a bit shabby too, don’t be shy about reupholstering them.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair SeatThis is what the chairs looked like before. The material on the edges was starting to show some wear, and the pretty gold fabric that I had picked, prior to having my daughter, wasn’t cleaning up so well anymore. I needed something more durable, and less apt to show every little stain. I guess we could say, I needed kid friendly fabric.

What You Need to Reupholster Dining Chairs

Upholstery Fabric ( 2 to 2 1/4 yards of 54″ fabric should cover 6 seats, if you have a pattern that requires particular alignment you will need more)

Staple Gun and staples (I used 3/8″)

Phillips head Screwdriver

Flat Head Screwdriver or staple puller

Money saving tip: Rather than going straight to the large rolls of decorator fabric, shop the remnant section for upholstery. This project does not require a large amount of fabric, pieces of premium material the size we need can be found there at a small fraction of regular price.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair SeatFlip the chair over, and unscrew the padded seat from the chair frame. If manufacturer upholstery is not bulky, you can probably reupholster right over it, if not, or like I have here, the seat has been reupholstered post-production, you will need to remove the old covering. Hopefully, the last upholstery job wasn’t done by a crazy staple-happy broad like me. As you can see, I was perhaps a little over-zealous in my usage of the staple gun, when I did these last time…lol. Just take a staple puller or flat head screw driver and lift out the staples. Holding a finger over the staple, while you wiggle your tool under it, will avoid one side popping up and leaving the other stuck. If that should happen, just tug it out with pliers.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair SeatTake the padded seat and line it up on your fabric, cut out a piece with ample room to staple. Put a couple staples in the center of one side, then pull fabric taught and put a few in the center of the opposite side. Work back and forth, until most of those two sides are done, but leave a few inches on the ends. Repeat the process on the other two sides.How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat
I have found that rather than folding a large chunk of fabric at the corners, making smaller pleats, and pulling them nice and taught makes for nicer looking corners. It also creates a little less bulk, which makes reattaching the seats to frames easier.How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat
I then simply trim away excess material, leaving some room so it won’t unravel. This won’t be visible once chair is reassembled, so I leave them like this. If it bothers you, you can line it with muslin or inexpensive lining fabric. Cut the seat shape, iron edges under, glue on and put a few staples.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Give the frame a quick wash down while cushion is off, then line the seat up, and screw it back on from underneath. That’s it, your done.

Now I am ready to repaint the room. From orange to orange…lol. I am going with a richer shade this time though.

Transform your furniture in an afternoon.

Of all the DIY projects out there, there are few that can make quite as big an impact as reupholstery. The only catch? Upholstery can often be outside the realm of the average DIYer, with complicated pleats, tufting, seams, and finishes best left to the capable hands of professionals who have mastered the craft. But fear not, eager crafters: Recovering a chair seat is one upholstery project that’s surprisingly easy—no sewing required. “It’s one of the simplest things you can do that really changes the experience of a space,” says Ella Hall, founder of Stitchroom, a custom upholstery studio in New York.

Read on to see how you can transform a chair in one afternoon—and get Hall’s tips for achieving a pro-level look!

You’ll Need:

  • Chair with removable seat
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Upholstery-weight fabric
  • Thin fabric for dust cover
  • Batting (optional)

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Recover a Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

1. Turn your chair upside down and unscrew any screws that are holding the seat in place. (Use a power drill to really speed things up!) Remove the seat.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

2. Turn the seat over and remove the existing fabric, using a flat screwdriver to pry the staples out. Most professionally upholstered chairs will have a thin piece of fabric on the back called a dust cover; if yours does, remove this first, then remove the seat fabric.

Tip: If the batting under the seat fabric is old or worn out, this is the time to replace it. If the seat is in good shape, you can also recover it without removing the existing fabric, says Hall; just add another layer of batting between the old and new fabrics to keep them from rubbing together, which could cause damage over time.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

3. Use the old fabric as a template to cut the new fabric, adding a few inches on every side to ensure that the piece is large enough.

Tip: Make sure to choose a fabric that’s upholstery-weight. We used a performance velvet by Vern Yip for Trend, which is resistant to spills and stains. When determining yardage, allow about 4 additional inches on each side of your seat. If your seat is raised, be sure to include the height of the side in your measurements.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

4. Turn the seat right-side up and place the fabric on top, adjusting until it’s centered. Carefully turn over without moving the fabric and loosely tack down the four corners. (You can remove these staples later; they’re just there to keep the fabric from shifting while you’re stapling it in place.)

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

5. Start stapling! For best results, says Hall, you’ll want to begin from the center of each side, working out toward the corners, keeping the fabric pulled taut. Never do one full side at a time—instead, insert one or two staples per side, then the opposite side, then the other two sides. This keeps the fabric evenly distributed.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

6. The corners are where things tend to get a little tricky. Depending on the fabric (and your personal preference), you might need to make one or multiple folds; your best bet is to experiment until it looks right, says Hall, then staple into place.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

7. Trim the excess fabric, leaving about an inch or two of overhang.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

8. Using the old dust cover as a template, cut a new piece of lightweight, solid fabric, then staple over the exposed back of the seat to cover any messy edges.

Tip: While a dust cover isn’t necessary, it’ll make the piece look more finished. Hall suggests using landscaping material—a thin, black poly fabric that you can find cheaply on Amazon or at hardware stores.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

9. Reattach the seat to the chair. For extra credit, pass a steamer or iron (at the appropriate heat setting) over the seat to help the fabric conform. And that’s it—sit back and enjoy your chair’s new look!

Flea Market Makeover Tips

Looking for a seat to reupholster? Head to the flea market, tag sale or antiques fair. They’re the best places to score furniture to recover, as super scuffed or torn ones are sold on the cheap.

For a super-easy reupholster, you’ll want an item whose upholstered parts is separate from its base or frame and is a rectangle, square, or trapezoid shape. Think benches with upholstered tops, chairs with fabric seats, or ottomans with wood or metal frames. A good way to tell off the bat if an item will be a good candidate is to flip it over and look for staples where the fabric is secured underneath—or the edges of the fabric itself. Some pieces may have a paper or cardboard covering over the fabric edges, so if you see that but the upholstered part is removable, you should be good to go.

Click through the gallery below to see how HB editor Hadley Keller totally transformed a $15 tag sale find using leftover fabric!

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Typical Range: $50 – $2 000

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Chair Reupholstery Costs

The cost to reupholster a chair ranges from $50 to $2,000, or $800 on average. This includes labor at $40 to $100 per hour and $50 to $70 per yard in fabric.

Reupholstering a chair can be a wonderful way to get a custom piece that still feels like home. Before you make a choice, think about these common cost factors.

On This Page:

Average Cost to Reupholster a Chair

Average Cost $50
High Cost $2,000
Low Cost $800

Average Cost to Reupholster a Chair by Type

Recliner $400-$1,500
Dining $50-$250
Wingback $1,000-$2,000
Armchair $800-$1,500
Leather $100-$2,000
Office $200-$700
La-Z-Boy $600-$1,500
Parsons $150-$500
Outdoor Chair Cushions $50-$500
Tub/Barrel $400-$800
Bar Stool $50-$500

Cost to Reupholster a Recliner

Reupholstering a recliner costs $400 to $1,500, related to the style and size. Pillow tops or tufting run higher.

Compare Quotes to Reupholster a Chair

Reupholster Dining Chair Cost

The cost to reupholster dining chairs ranges from $50 to $250, depending on the amount of fabric and its price. You may be able to do multiple pieces per yard.

Cost to Reupholster a Wingback Chair

Reupholstering a wingback chair costs $1,000 to $2,000. You’ll pay more for loose cushions or a skirt.

Reupholster Armchair Cost

The cost to reupholster an armchair ranges from $800 to $1,500. Roll arms or pillow tops add to the amount of fabric needed, which increases the price.

Leather Chair Reupholstering Cost

The price to reupholster a chair in leather runs $100 to $2,000. Leather costs $30 to $60 per yard, but may come in smaller pieces.

Price to Reupholster Office Chair

Reupholstering an office chair costs $200 to $700, depending on your fabric choice and how much you need.

La-Z-Boy Recliner Reupholstery Cost

The cost to reupholster a La-Z-Boy recliner comes to $600 to $1,500. Semi-attached cushions and larger sizes tend to run more.

Upholster Parsons Chair

Upholstering a parsons chair costs $150 to $500. Since this style usually requires 1 to 2 yards of fabric, material prices are the primary factor in the total.

Reupholster Outdoor Chair Cushions

The cost to reupholster outdoor chair cushions ranges from $50 to $500. Fabric type, cushion depth and the number you need affect the price.

Find a Local Chair Reupholstery Pro

Reupholster Tub Chair

Reupholstering a tub or barrel chair costs $400 to $800. This type is popular for its compact size and footprint.

Bar Stools

Bar stools cost $50 to $500 to reupholster. Like dining chairs and individual cushions, the price depends mostly on the amount of fabric you need.

Factors that Impact the Cost to Recover a Chair

Several factors affect the cost to recover a chair:

  • Fabric Price: $10 to $200 per yard
  • Material Choice: Patterns increase labor total by 10 to 20 percent
  • Frame Repairs: $250
  • Pickup and Delivery: $100 to $300 per trip
  • Extra Features (Tufting, Cording): Raises total by 20 to 30 percent

Reupholstering a Chair vs. Buying New

With a range of $50 to $2,000, reupholstering a chair often meets or exceeds the cost of buying new. Here are a few tips to help you make a decision.

When to Reupholster a Chair

  • It’s a family heirloom or antique
  • You’re fond of it
  • It has a sturdy frame and doesn’t need repair

When to Buy New

Buying a new chair costs $50 to $500 for many styles. You may want to replace the piece if:

  • It needs 9+ yards of fabric
  • You’re on a tight budget
  • You need the chair within a week
Talk to Chair Reupholstery Pros Near You

Can I DIY chair upholstery?

DIY chair upholstery is possible, but it’s difficult and time-consuming. To save yourself the hassle, check out furniture upholstery services near you.

How much does it cost to reupholster 6 dining chair seats?

Reupholstering six dining chair seats costs $300 to $1,500. The price depends mostly on the amount of fabric needed.

How much does it cost to reupholster a chair and ottoman?

The cost to reupholster furniture like an ottoman runs $300 to $700. With a chair, the total range comes to $350 to $2,700.

How much is it to upholster a couch?

Reupholstering a couch costs $600 to $4,000. You’ll pay closer to $600 for a small loveseat and $2,000 to $4,000 for a sectional.

How much does chair repair or refinishing cost?

  • Chair refinishing costs: $350 to $900
  • Furniture repair prices: $125 to $275

Where to get a chair reupholstered?

You’ll need to hire a professional upholsterer to put new fabric and padding on your chair.

How much fabric to reupholster a chair?

Upholstery materials cost $50 to $70 per yard on average. Chairs require 1 to 10 yards, depending on the piece. For example, you’ll need 6 to 10 yards of fabric for wing chairs.

How long does it take to reupholster a chair?

Reupholstering a chair can take 1 to 10 hours. If you take it to a pro, you may have to wait a few weeks for completion.

Last Updated: 11th February, 2020

STEP 1 Remove your seat frame from the chair and, if necessary, completely strip any existing upholstery then place the seat frame right side up on a sturdy work surface.

  1. Scissors.
  2. Tack hammer. You can use an ordinary hammer.
  3. Web strainer/stretcher (optional).
  4. Staple gun.
  5. Electric knife (optional).

Regarding this, how do you reupholster a non removable chair seat?

How to Upholster a Non-Removable Chair Seat

  1. Remove the old cover using a small pry bar, flat screwdriver and pliers.
  2. Center the new fabric over the cushion material.
  3. Trim the batting along the edge of the wood using a sharp utility knife.
  4. Tack or staple the center of each side the same way.
  5. Cut the fabric carefully along the wood edge and away from the tacks.

Subsequently, question is, how do you reupholster a foaming dining room chair? Tutorial

  1. Remove your seat from the chair.
  2. Gather your supplies.
  3. Cut your fabric.
  4. Cut your foam.
  5. Staple down your fabric.
  6. Reattach your newly reupholstered seats to your chairs.

Subsequently, question is, is it hard to reupholster a chair?

The process may seem daunting, but it really is not too difficult, especially after watching this video. Every step will be clearly shown, so if you can do a little sewing and use a staple gun. Chances are you can also reupholster a chair. This tutorial video will show reupholstering the frame with new fabric.

Can you reupholster over existing fabric?

When reupholstering an old piece, Verdi says, you might be able to salvage the old batting if it’s been kept in a temperate, dry location (like your parents’ house). So long as the old fabric isn’t darker than your new fabric, you can even upholster right over it.

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

So you found a fabulous chair by the dumpster. It’s unique, solid, and the price was right. What a find! The only problem is that you need to rebuild the entire chair seat, jute webbing and all.

Where do you begin? This is fairly simple if you can see how it breaks down in three parts.

1. Re-web the seat

2. Add a piece of burlap

3. Cut and add the foam

You’ll need:

a web stretcher

electric or pneumatic stapler

The Webbing:

1. Staple one cut end of jute webbing to the chair frame starting in the center

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

2. Pull the webbing across the other side of the chair frame, poke the web stretcher cleats through the underneath side of the webbing, tighten the webbing by bracing the butt end of the handle against the chair frame and roll it towards you until the webbing is taut. Staple the webbing securely on the top edge of the chair. Cut the webbing leaving 2″, fold it over and staple again

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

3. Repeat Step 2 on both sides of the first web strap

4. Begin weaving the jute webbing across the chair seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

The Burlap:

1. Cut a piece of burlap that is 1″ larger than the seat all the way around, pull firmly and staple it on the chair edge

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

2. Fold over the edges and staple again

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

The Foam:

1. Make a paper template of the seat deck

2. Trace the seat shape on a piece of foam and cut it out with an electric knife

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

3. Spray the burlap with adhesive and place the cut foam on top

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

How to Reupholster a Dining Chair Seat

Now you’re ready to add a layer of cotton or dacron batting all around.

See the remainder of the reupholstery of this chair at: