How to reupholster your chairs

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Have some old chairs that need an upgrade? Learn how to reupholster, to transform faded old chairs into fabulous pieces of furniture. In this article we will show you, step by step, how to reupholster your chairs.

The first thing to do is remove the seats, backs and elbow-rests of the chairs you are going to reupholster. Removing the existing upholstery is optional. It is time consuming to remove each staple with a screwdriver and pliers. Remove the base layer of fabric only if there’s some unpleasant odor or padding has escaped the cushions. It is trickier to recover bear pads and may require a few additional steps, like replacing decaying cushions.

reupholster the old chairs

To determine the size of the fabric you will need to reupholster a single seat, measure the width, length and depth of the seat. If it is rounded or curved, measure the longest and the widest parts. Add three times the depth to the length and the width, and this is the size of the fabric you need to reupholster a single seat. For example, if the seat is 10’’ x 12’’ x 2’’, then you will need a piece of fabric that is 16’’ x 18’’. When you go out to purchase the fabric, look for upholstery fabric, that will endure daily use.

Place the fabric with the back side up on a flat surface. Then place the seat you are going to reupholster with the side you sit on against the back side of the fabric. If necessary, align the seat with the pattern on the fabric. This is especially important if there are stripes. Trim the fabric, so that there is enough all the way around to fold over the egdes. You can save any leftover reupholstery fabric for other projects.

chair transformation

Fold a flap of fabric along the straightest side of the seat and start stapling from the center, working your way out towards the corners. Make sure the fabric is smooth and tight, and there are no bunches between the staples. Do the same with the oposide side of the seat you reupholster. Pull firmly against the first row of staples, to make sure there are no wrinkles. Again, start stapling from the center, towards the corners. When you encounter curves, fold the fabric underneath and make sure the bunching is not visible from the top. Secure the folds with staples. If you make a mistake, you can always pull out the staples and start over. Continue along the sides, pulling firmly, to make sure the reupholstery fabric is tight over th etop of the seat.

Point the corners down, towards the center of the seat, along the diagonal. Fold the sides down, so that the folded edges run along the diagonal. You should now have a pleat along the diagonal. Staple the corners. Trim any excess fabric and hammer down any staples that aren’t even. You may want to strain protect the seats. Put them on some support structure and spray according to the package directions. Let them dry overnight in a well-ventilated area. You may put them on your porch or in the garage, which will protect you from the vapors. After that, return the seats to the chairs and screw the bases back in.

seat reupholstery

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to refurnish your home, you can find some treasures in a thrift store and reupholster them to make them usable again. Alternatively, you can refresh and upgrade any old chairs you may have laying around the house. Reupholster the old chairs to make them a fabulous new set for your dining or living room.

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