Reupholstering Dining Chairs!

8:00 AM

I am ridiculously proud of my first reupholstery project! The super-long (nine-foot!!) table was a freebie from my boyfriend's office (It was their conference room table where they interviewed him.) and I needed chairs to match. I picked up this set of chairs from a thrift store for $35, but the scratchy oatmeal-colored fabric on the seats had to go. 

Here's what they looked like before:

I'd never reupholstered anything before, so I looked up some tips before starting. One thing all the pros have in common: they own staple guns. I guess some sort of staple-shooting device would be pretty handy if you wanted to tightly fasten cloth to wood in mere minutes. But anyone who has witnessed my level of coordination in any sporting event knows I'm not be trusted with devices that shoot metal bits, no matter how small.

So I set out to rehab these chairs sans staple gun. Here's my process:

Step 1: Round up your supplies.


  • 2 yards of fabric (I used navy microsuede.)
  • 2 yards of foam (I used 1-inch foam, but you can used 2-inch if you want to be fancy like that.)
  • wood glue
  • flat tacks
  • pliers
  • flathead screwdriver
I purchased what I needed online because my doctor prescribed rest after I had a concussion. My definition of "rest" includes reupholstering furniture. Let's continue.

Step 2: Remove the old cushion.

Unscrew the seat and remove all the nasty old cushioning. In my case this meant using pliers to peel out two layers of staples. Dust and fabric particles flew through the air. Depending on how old the chairs are, might I suggest a wearing a mask. It's a good idea to mark which side is the top of the seat so you don't get confused.

Step 3: Prep your cushion materials.

Trace and cut a piece of foam to be a half inch larger than the seat on all sides. Then trace and cut the fabric to be three inches larger than the seat on all sides.

Step 4: Putting the cushion together.

Making sure the fabric beneath the seat is smooth (and that the top side of the seat and fabric is down facing your work surface), pull one side of the fabric taut so that it pulls in the foam. Use the wood glue to glue the fabric onto the wood, making sure not to block any screw holes. Then tack the fabric in place and let dry.

I did the sides first, let them dry, then repositioned the tacks to do the corners.

Step 5: Reattach the cushion.

Once everything dries, you can take out all the tacks (or leave them in) and screw the seat back into the chair. It helps to lay the chair down as shown below so that any extra bulk in the back of the seat is crushed, making it easy to line up the screws with the holes.

And viola! If you have cats, one will immediately claim the chair as her own and you'll know it's a truly successful project. Now maybe I can add tassels to these or host a sushi party! The possibilities are endless.

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