- Remove the old cover using a small pry bar, flat screwdriver and pliers. …
- Center the new fabric over the cushion material. …
- Trim the batting along the edge of the wood using a sharp utility knife. …
- Tack or staple the center of each side the same way.
A little DIY know-how and a few supplies and tools can transform a ho-hum dining chair into a seat of distinction. Here’s how to recover a chair seat cushion and breathe new life into your decor.
By Kat Hodgins and Jennifer Noonan | Updated Jan 25, 2022 12:27 PM
It’s only a matter of time: Sooner or later, your chairs with upholstered seats become worn, dirty, or dated. When you decide those chairs have gotten too worn to keep around, weigh your options. Your instinct may be to donate the chairs or throw them away, but if the chair’s frame remains in good condition, why not consider reupholstering the furniture?
While you can hire a professional for these sorts of repairs, it can be much easier—and yet equally transformative—to recover the chairs yourself, replacing their seat covers with new fabric. Even a novice DIYer can do this project in an afternoon and get great results.
Whether you’d like to learn how to reupholster a dining chair cushion or your favorite heirloom entry bench’s cushion, this guide will teach you how to recover chair seats for a fresh new look.
Here are a few things to know before you get started, including a list of supplies, and the step-by-step instructions for how to reupholster a chair seat.Tools & Materials
Now for the seat.
Ok, most people will remove the seat the same way I removed the top/back of the chair and use the existing fabric as a template for the new fabric. That’s a great idea and if it’s easy for you, then you should do it. However, my chair seat was not going to budge easily, and I started removing the fabric but it was taking a hundred years to pry each staple out.
I finally decided it would be a whole lot easier to just leave it as is and cover it. The first chair was a nightmare. It was trial and error, with an emphasis on error. The hardest part is getting the fabric to fit smoothly and carefully cutting it to fit around the parts where the back/sides meet the seat. (I didn’t have the existing fabric to use as a template, remember.)
It was bunching awkwardly and I kept cutting it to the point of butchering it. I finally found that it was best to a) not insert a single staple whatsoever until I have the seat fabric looking perfect and smooth and positioned exactly how I want it, and b) start from the back.
I started pulling and cutting a little bit at a time until I could tuck the fabric around each support (? stick? arm? wooden thing?) where the back/sides meet the seat, then I would move onto each side, and finally the front. Pulling, tucking, cutting. Slowly and carefully. Don’t be too scissor-happy!
When you finally have the fabric looking smooth and tucked just right, then carefully go around with the staple gun and staple it in place.
If you have a pneumatic upholstery stapler, you are awesome. I for one simply used a regular old staple gun and an electric staple gun in some areas. As mentioned above, position your staples inside the little divit in the wood (if there is one on your piece of furniture), and in a straight line.
You can use a small screwdriver or something similar to tuck any excess fabric inside the divit so it doesn’t fall below your staple line/cording. After stapling, trim away your excess fabric, cutting it as close to the staples as possible.
Choose the Right Fabric
Before you go shopping, have an idea of which kind of fabric you need, the budget you’re working with, and if you require extra fabric protection, so you can select material that suits your aesthetic and lifestyle.
Choosing the right upholstery fabric ensures your seats last longer, and offers comfort and style that complements your home. Each type of upholstery fabric has its own charm, perks, and limitations. Here are some natural and synthetic fabric options you might consider when recovering your chairs:
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How do I reupholster a chair cushion?