How To Reupholster Dining Chairs

I’m going to show you how to give your dining chairs a fresh look by reupholstering the seat cushion. Many dining chairs have a cushion that can be easily detached, which makes reupholstering a simple project. When choosing a fabric for you chair, keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a heavy upholstery fabric like this. You can also use a medium weight drapery fabric, especially if the chair isn’t going to be heavily used. And you can always reupholster it any time you want.

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Instructions

Step 1: Remove the old fabric

First take off the cushion. It may be screwed in to the bottom.

Step 1: Remove the old fabric

Turn the cushion over and detach the dust cover. Remove all the staples or tacks that are attaching the dust cover and upholstery fabric, I’m using a C.S. Osborne Combination Tool to do this.

Step 1: Remove the old fabric
Step 1: Remove the old fabric

Continue to take off any other layers of fabric and remove all the tacks or staples. If your chair is newer, you may not have to replace the cushion, but this turn of the century chair has a cushion made up of straw and batting, so I’m going to replace it with foam. Strip the seat down to the wooden frame if you’re adding new foam. Your chair may have webbing instead, or a solid plywood base.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 1: Remove the old fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 1: Remove the old fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 1: Remove the old fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 1: Remove the old fabric

For this chair, I’m attaching a piece of the cambric below the foam so it doesn’t sag.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 1: Remove the old fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 1: Remove the old fabric

Step 2: Add foam and padding

Place the frame on the foam and trace around it. Cut the foam out with an electric or serrated knife.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding

Place the foam and frame face down on the padding. Cut the padding so it wraps onto the bottom about 2” all around.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding

With the staple gun, staple the padding in the middle of all four sides to hold it in place. Work your way out from the center staple leaving a little space at the corners. Then repeat on the other sides, pulling the padding taut as you go.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding

For the corners, pull the padding towards the center of the frame and staple. Then staple down the loose padding on either side of the corner. Repeat for the rest of the corners.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 2: Add foam and padding

Trim off all the excess padding.

Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric

Lay the fabric out face down. This upholstery fabric is woven, so you’ll see a pattern on both sides, but this predominately teal side is meant to be the front.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric

Place the cushion face down on top of it. Cut the fabric so there’s an extra 3 or 4 inches to wrap around the back, make sure the pattern is running straight.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric

Place a staple in the middle of all 4 sides. On each side, work your way out from the center towards the corners. Leave a few inches at the corners. Run your hand over the front as you go to tighten the fabric.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric

For the corners, pull the center of the corner towards the middle and staple. Fold over one edge and staple to form a pleat. Then fold over the other side to form a second pleat. Repeat for all the corners.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric

Trim off all the excess fabric.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 3: Attach the upholstery fabric

Step 4: Attach the dust cover

Finally, I’m going to attach the cambric dust cover. This isn’t a necessary step, but it finishes off the bottom nicely. Cut the cambric to the same size as the frame. Fold under the edges and staple.

How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 4: Attach the dust cover
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 4: Attach the dust cover
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 4: Attach the dust cover
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial - Step 4: Attach the dust cover
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial
How to Reupholster Dining Chairs - DIY Tutorial
Q & A
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Browse 5 questions Browse 5 questions and 4 answers
How thick is the dacron you are using?
A shopper on Jun 17, 2018
BEST ANSWER: We used the 1/2" dacron padding.
1/2
1/2" White Dacron Upholstery Deck Padding
CHAIR SEAT MEASURE 201/2 AT ITS WIDEST POINT HAVE 8 SEATS TO COVER HOW MUCH FABRIC IS NEEDED?
A shopper on Apr 27, 2018
BEST ANSWER: This article explains how to figure our how many yards you need: www.onlinefabricstore.net/makersmill/how-to-measure-dining-room-chairs-for-upholstery-fabric/
Approximately, how many yards of fabric will be needed, on average?
A shopper on Dec 7, 2017
BEST ANSWER: For this type of chair, you can usually fit 2 in the width (standard 54" fabric). For more information see this post: www.onlinefabricstore.net/makersmill/how-to-measure-dining-room-chairs-for-upholstery-fabric/
What size staples would be best?
A shopper on Nov 10, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Whichever size is recommended for your staple gun.
Is there an advantage to using the rubberized horse hair over foam? (The cushions I have taken apart had horsehair).
A shopper on Apr 9, 2018