Tag Archives: upholstery

How to Reupholster a Chair

4 Apr

I decided I needed to recover my dining room chairs because some of them had sustained a little sun damage and were unraveling at the corners.

The chair before:



The chair after:


Now, wasn’t that quick and painless?  Oh my little fabric elves are amazing.  But seriously, the process took a lot longer than that.  And when I say a lot I mean a lot.

Step 1: Browse for and buy fabric

This involved scouting out internet sales and hemming and hawing over the fabric for way to long, asking my husbands opinion, and then saying screw it I’m buying it anyway.  Fabric.com was having a big sale on upholstery fabric, especially fabric they weren’t going to be stocking any more like this Robert Allen damask.  I fell in love with the photo online and after some internal debate and an email sent to my husband I ordered some.  I ordered 4 yards of it, which turned out to be waaaay too much.  I could have gotten away with ordering 2 yards, since this is 60″ wide fabric.

Step 2: Wait for said fabric to arrive

I can’t remember how long this step took, maybe 3 days?

Step 3: Fawning over fabric and trying to come up with a Plan

Since this is a damask, each side is the complete opposite of the other (so where you see brown on one side you see white on the other),  so this fabric has a darker side and a lighter side.  I spent a week or two deciding which side I liked the best.  At first I liked the lighter side best and dutifully covered one cushion before standing back and deciding I didn’t like it.  I’m a woman.  I’m allowed to change my mind, right? So then I had to rip it all out and start again.  Sigh.

Step 4: Actually cover the cushions

It probably took me about 45 minutes to do each chair.  So I guess, in theory this would have taken me 3 hours to cover all 4 dining room chairs.  I, however, only had the energy to cover one chair a night, with several nights in there thrown in for procrastination’s sake.  So yeah, this step probably took me a week to.

Here’s what I did:

First, remove all the screws that hold the cushion to the chair frame.


I had 4 of them.  These screws were a little difficult to get out because they were so tight in there, but I muscled my way through.

Then lift the chair cushion off of the frame.


It helps to have an inquisitive puppy to do the heavy lifting for you.

Then, center your cushion over a square of fabric (I made sure before hand that the square would indeed cover the cushion and cut out all four squares at once).


You can see that this is the “lighter” side, which I deemed the “back” after much debate.

Next you should staple the front and the back down, being sure to stretch it tight.  I used 1/4″ staples for the sides and 1/2″ staples for the corners (which I had to run out and buy because I originally only had 1/4″ staples, and they weren’t long enough to go through the folds you have to make at corners).  Add another day to process.



woo.. staples

Do the same thing to the sides and add a staple near each of the corners.  Sorry this picture is a little fuzzy.  I thought it was clear when I took it, and I’m not undoing my hard work to take another one.


Then you’ll want to take the excess fabric by the corners, fold it, and stretch it over the corner trying to make it as flat as possible



And then once you’re happy with it, staple it down.


Then I cut off the excess with pinking shears to prevent fraying.


And there you have it, a newly recovered dining room chair.


And here it is on the chair, again.


So unlike those other blogs that will tell you it will only take you 3 hours to cover your chairs.  I’m here to tell you the truth.

Time to cover dining room chairs: 18 days-25 days

I lost count.

Yep.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it’s just going to take 3 hours.  They’re liars.