How to Reupholster a Dining Room Chair

(Daniel Sachs; House Beautiful, October 2010 )

If you happen to have an old dining room chair that could use a makeover, you will be glad to know that reupholstering it is not as hard as you may think. Provided you have the right materials and proper instructions, you can easily reupholster the seat of a dining room chair in very little time. The following tips will help you get a dining room chair looking better than ever.

Getting Started

Before you start your project, you should gather the materials you will need. Obviously you will need new fabric to cover the chair. Pick a fabric that will complement your home’s décor and you should have no regrets. You will also need batting, various screwdrivers, a heavy-duty staple gun and staples, and plywood if you plan on making a new seat.

Remove the Old Upholstery

The first step in reupholstering a dining room chair is to remove the old upholstery from the chair. To do this, you will need to remove the screws that attach the seat of the chair to the frame. Use an adequately-sized screwdriver for this step; otherwise the screws may be difficult to remove, especially if the chair is very old.

Once the seat has been removed, you will want to place the screws in a safe place so you can use them to reattach the seat after it has been reupholstered.

Next, you will want to use a flathead screwdriver to pry off the staples or tacks that attach the fabric to the chair seat. This step may be a bit tedious, as some chairs have more staples or tacks than others.

When all the staples or tacks have been removed from the seat, carefully take off the old fabric.

Examine the seat well and decide if the wood can safely be used again. If not, you will need to cut a piece of plywood that matches the size of the old seat. You can use the old seat as a pattern if need be. Whether you are using the old seat or a new one, you are now ready to begin the reupholstering process.

Reupholster Your Chair

Now that your seat is ready to go, you are ready to proceed with reupholstering your chair.

First, you will want to cut some layers of batting to fit the size of the seat. The number of layers you cut depends on your personal preference and how soft you want your chair’s seat to be.

You can use the staple gun to roughly attach the batting to the seat. Next, you will want to cut your fabric so it leaves an extra 4 or 5 inches on each side of the seat. This will ensure that the fabric fits properly over the batting.

Center the seat with the batting attached upside down on the fabric’s inner side. This means the outer side of the fabric should be facing down on your work surface.

Next you can begin to attach your fabric. Starting with any side you choose, staple the fabric to the middle of the edge, making sure to pull the fabric taut.

When you have attached a staple to the middle of one edge, move to the opposite side. Repeat on the other sides and edges of the seat.

After the fabric is roughly attached on all sides, proceed to staple the fabric outward and in regular intervals, until the fabric is well-secured.

Make sure you keep the corners pulled tightly so the fabric does not bunch. Do not worry too much about appearance, as the bottom of the seat will not be visible once it has been reattached to the chair frame. After the seat has been reupholstered, you are ready to reattach it to your chair.

Reattach the Seat

Gather the screws that you previously removed and reattach your newly reupholstered chair seat. Make sure the seat fits properly and securely. Test out your new chair and be sure it feels and looks right. If so, your reupholstered dining room chair is ready to go.

These tips make it easy to reupholster a dining room chair in no time at all. Once you see how simple the process is and how good your chair looks, you will be so glad you took the time to complete this fun project.

Guest post from Jean Clark.

Designer- Judy Hadlock
Designer Stephen Shubel

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  • Johnavon

    Taking the orvveeiw, this post is first class