How to Re-Upholster a Chair

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How to Re-Upholster a Chair

Staff Writer · Apr 1, 2010

That favorite chair may have good shape and structure left to it but the upholstery has seen better days. Learn to re upholster a chair yourself to give that old favorite a new look. Or maybe you are in need of some new furniture and find some great items at a garage sale or thrift store that just need some new fabric. Reupholstering a chair is a great way to make an old piece of furniture look new again and save money in the process. It is a frugal design idea that is an easy project to do yourself and that you can be proud of. You will need a pair of pliers, a staple gun and scissors.

Step One: Choose Your Fabric

Upholstery fabric does not need to be used necessarily, any durable fabric can be used. Choose something that will match the remainder of the room the chair will be used in. Measure the area of the chair that you will be covering to see how much fabric you will need to purchase. Remember to add on a few inches on each side to attach to the chair.

Step Two: Remove the Old Fabric

If you are reupholstering the fabric for a seat cushion you will need to unscrew the seat from the chair before you can remove the old fabric. If the chair has fabric on the back, that will be removed as well. Most dining room type chairs work this way with a base covered in fabric that can be removed. Other living room style wing chairs do not have a base that is removed, instead the fabric is attached under the chair. In this case there may be many pieces of fabric to remove, try to remove them all without tearing them. Use the pliers to pull out all the staples holding the fabric on. Remove the old fabric from the chair and check the batting to see if it needs to be replaced. Batting can be purchased at a craft store as well if more cushion needs to be added to the seat cushion.

Step Three: Cutting the New Fabric

Dining room chairs will have a wooden base once you have removed the fabric. Living room style chairs will have many pieces of fabric once you have stripped it down. Take all the pieces of fabric you removed from the chair and lay on top of your new fabric. Trace the pieces of old fabric on to the new fabric so that you know it is the size and shape that you need. Cut out the patterns traced on the new fabric. Attach any batting to the seat of the chair.

Step Four: Putting on the New Fabric

Once all the pieces are cut out and new batting attached start attaching the new fabric. Simple dining chairs are easy and the fabric can be stapled onto the wood base and then screwed back in to the chair. Larger chairs covered in fabric will take more time. Attach all the fabric pieces like you are putting together a puzzle. Use the staple gun to attach the fabric underneath and behind the chair.

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