Google+ House Revivals: How to Reupholster Your Dining Chairs

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How to Reupholster Your Dining Chairs

The first time I reupholstered a set of dining chairs, we were stationed at Ft, Riley, Kansas, and were using quartermaster furniture. The chairs had great lines, but the cracked white vinyl seats were uncomfortable, and well... ugly.

I soon discovered that it was okay to reupholster the seats, so I dug through my stash and found some fabric to give the chairs a face lift. Ever since then, no dining chair has been safe from my staple gun!

I found an Ethan Allen dining set on craigslist that had the perfect dimensions to fit the dining area in our latest pied a terre (aka "the city crashpad"). Since, we never know when we'll find a different crash pad to buy, I'm not always willing to shell out the cash for high quality new furniture that may not fit in the next condo. This Ethan Allen set has classic lines and extra leaves, but the chair upholstery was looking a bit worn and dated, so I decided to recover the seats.

Reupholstering dining chairs is super easy. My chair seats had more than one layer of fabric on them, so I removed the fabric to get rid of bulk. If your chairs only have one layer of fabric, you can probably just cover right over the top of what is already there.

As we prepare to head into the holiday season in just a few short weeks, now is a great time to update your own dining chairs. You should be able to recover all your chairs in a couple of afternoons.


  1. Using a screwdriver, remove the screws from the underside of the chair seat and set aside. Remove the seat.
  2. Remove old cover, if necessary.
  3. Use the old cover  as a "yardage guide", and cut out pieces of fabric slightly larger than you think you need (you can always trim away excess later). 
  4. Lay out your fabric, wrong side up, and place your chair seat on top. 
  5. Snugly wrap one side, and then the other, around the seat and secure the center sides with a staple.
  6. Do the same with the front and back.
  7. Now, continue stapling the fabric around the back of the chair seat. You really need a staple gun for this, as a regular staple gun will kill your wrist, plus, office staples aren't as strong and staple gun staples.
  8. Do your best to make the corners look nice and consistent, but don't beat yourself up if your corners don't look as perfect as something a professional upholsterer would do. I guarantee your chair will still look wonderful, and you will be the only person who notices any imperfections.
  9. Using the screws you set aside earlier, reinstall the newly covered chair seats.
  10. Congratulate yourself for completing a beautiful DIY project, getting exactly what you want, and saving lots of money!

To see before pictures of this crashpad, click here.

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