Reupholster A Chair

Let us show you how easy it to reupholster a chair.

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Matt Anderson's Take
The easiest way to breathe new life into an old chair is to reupholster it. I had some dining room chairs that had a fake leather material on the seat cushion that was peeling off. Reupholstering the chairs was the obvious solution.


Stuff You'll Need



  • Fabric / material

  • Staple gun with staples

  • Scissors

  • Screw driver

  • Safety glasses


When purchasing fabric, buy a little extra to be safe. You may even want an extra couple of yards to keep on hand. This will let you re-do a chair down the road if needed without having to find the same fabric to buy again.

Step By Step DIY Instructions For Reupholstering A Chair

Before we start put on your safety glasses. You are now likely wondering if you should remove the old fabric first. That's completely up to you. If the old fabric is torn up then you need to remove it or you'll see and feel the old tears and holes. If the old fabric isn't torn you can cover right over it.


If you choose to remove the old fabric just use a small flat head screw driver or pair of needle nose pliers and pull each staple out. Once done the fabric should come off.

Step 1

Start by removing a seat cushion from your chair. This is usually easy to do and involves flipping the chair over and finding the screws that hold the seat on. I suggest just working on a single seat cushion at a time. That way you won't mix them up. If you do mix them up they may not easily screw back into place.

Step 2

Place your seat cushion with the bottom side up over your fabric. You want about 6 inches of extra fabric on all sides of your cushion. Use your scissors and cut the fabric out.

Step 3

Starting in the middle of any side, simply fold the fabric over the bottom side of the seat. Place a staple about 1-2 inches in from the edge. This will hold the fabric in place now.

Step 4
Moving out from the middle, you'll add a staple every 1-2 apart and continue 1-2 inches in from the edge. As you move along, you'll want to pull the fabric tight. Don't get close to the corners yet, stay 2 inches away. As you finish one side, do the opposite but keep avoiding the corners.

Step 5

After all sides are done it's time to do the corners. I like get the first staple right in the middle of the corner, about an inch in from the edge. Make sure you have the fabric stretched tight to avoid wrinkles.


Now put staples on either side of the middle, again pull fabric tight. You want to avoid wrinkles and the fabric doubling up on itself on the side you sit on. On the back side, it will fold up and double up in parts which is fine. Avoid creating unnessary thickness here as it may impact how your cushion fits back on.

Step 6

Trim the excess fabric off with scissors. Trim to within 1/2 of an inch away from the staples.


This isn't too critical because nobody will be looking under your chairs.

Step 7

Reassemble the seat cushion back onto the chair it came from. Match up all of the existing screw holes and snug things up (but don't over tighten). You're done!
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