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Re-Upholstery 101


The post was originally posted in May19, 2016 but still people ask me how to re-upholster a simple chair and although I send them to this post, in 2019 people much rather SEE a video than read a blog post so I have added a video that demonstrates the same process. Enjoy!

The first chairs I ever re-upholstered were in my dining room. I'd purchased a house and all of the new furniture from the staging was included which left me with brand new dining room chairs in a fabric I couldn't stand. So I reupholstered them. This was before you could learn to perform open-heart surgery and everything else under the sun on Youtube so I had to simply "figure it out." You have no idea how excited I was much later when I watched a tutorial on the subject and learned that I did it exactly right! So, find yourself a seat...not to sit on but to re-upholster, of course! :)

Let's get started.

Basic tools:

Screwdriver, enough fabric to cover the seat and fold over the sides onto the back, a heavy duty stapler, a staple remover, and any stain/paint to cover the legs (if desired/applicable).

Step 1. Take your unattractive seat and determine how it is put together. In most cases, the cushion screws into the structure from the bottom. Unscrew it.

Step 3. If there are other unappealing parts to the chair that need to be beautified, this is the time to do that. My stool had scratches and dings on the black paint and gold hardware so I gave the entire structure a fresh coat of color.

Let the paint job dry for a few hours or overnight to be safe.

Step 4. In the meantime, the reupholstering happens by removing the old fabric and replacing it with fresh, sturdy fabric that will make your day every time you sit on it! 

In my case, I took a heavy fabric and cut a leather applique of an ambersand, just because an ambersand is cool and I dig the curves. Appliques and/or any adorning of your fabric is totally optional.

Step 5. Place the fabric on a flat surface, right side down, and your cushion right side down in the center of it. Pull one end of the fabric over the side tauntly and staple to the back. A staple every 1-2 inches is sufficient. 

Don't worry about the corners flopping. You can miter them once all four sides have been pulled tauntly and stapled in place. To miter, create a pleat with the corner fabric and staple the center and sides of the pleat so that it is flat. 

Step 6. Now let's re-attach the seat to the dry chair by turn the cushion over, right side up, and putting it in place. Grab your screwdriver again and turn the entire seat (with the cushion on top) upside down. Prop a pillow or books underneath if necessary to hold the seat up while you screw into the holes in bottom of the chair through the fabric and wood on the backside of the cushion.

Step 7. Once secure, turn chair right side up, and admire your handiwork! You have successfully re-upholstered a seat! Go YOU!

diy chair re-upholstering

As promised, here is the video:

Please tag me on IG to show me your re-upholstered chairs! I'd LOVE to see them.


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