Thursday, September 29, 2011

How To Reupholster a Chair 101

My very first upholstery project was a chair similar to what you see in this post.  It is a simple chair with an upholstered seat.  Nothing else.  No crazy cushions, no piping, just the seat.  I recommend this is how you start if you want to get into it.  Pretty soon I'll have an upholstery 401 class (or should I say, "upholstery by Kelli 401" since I have zero authority except this is what I've done).

You will need:
a staple gun
upholstery material (I made the mistake of buying thin material)

note: If the cushion is in bad shape, get new foam (but it's expensive so if it just needs to be cleaned, do that).

Before: $5 garage sale purchase


Obviously in the before/after you can see that I painted the chair.  I'm not doing the tutorial on that but I sanded, primed and spray painted.

Step 1:
Take the seat off.  Most seats are screwed on so flip the chair over and unscrew it.

Step 2:
Have your material cut and ready (face down) and place the seat on the material with the cushion down.  You can just upholster over the old upholstery or you can upholster over the cushion and wood if you previously took off the old material.

Step 3:
Fold one side of the material up over the side of the seat and staple in the middle.

Step 4:
Staple on both sides.

Step 5:
Fold the other side up, pull so the material is tight, and staple in the middle.

Step 6:
Then staple the sides.

Step 7:
Fold the edge of the adjacent side in.

Step 8
Fold the material up as though wrapping a gift and staple the corner.

Step 9:
Do the same to the other edge.

Step 10:
Do the other side the same way.  Then staple between all the staples so the material is secure and tight.

Step 11:
Screw the seat back into place and enjoy your "new" chair!

Linking up at the great Linky parties found at the bottom of the blog.  They are where I find most of my inspiration!  Check them out!



  1. Great Tutorial, I love the way the chair turned out especially the contrasting colors.

  2. The chair looks great and the fabric is super fun!

    Tiffany {Living Savvy}

  3. I love that fabric! What a great re-do! :)

  4. Loving it as usual Kelli and super-dooper lovin' the graphic b&w print fab.

    Smiles again from me in NW Illinois,
    From my Dashboard

  5. Great chair makeover! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm following you back :)

  6. I love chair transformations...they are usually pretty simple but have a big impact!

  7. Thanks for the tutorial! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Hi Kelli
    Thanks for the follow - following back.
    I've never really attempted much diy but my fiance and I are hoping to move house in the next 12-18 months, so maybe some of the tips on your site will come in handy then!

  9. Thanks for stopping by love the chair! Following u back

  10. I always wondered how to do this! Thanks for sharing! I'm going to go to my local thrift store tomorrow, and see if I can find a cheap chair to try this on :)!

    Just wanted to stop by to say thanks for joining in this week for Wobble Over Wednesday! I hope you can join in for the weeks to come as well :) I am now following you back.

  11. Hi Kelli

    Thanks so much for stopping by and joining in my blog. You did an awesome job! Lovely transformation...

  12. Thanks for sharing this great craft idea. I'm visiting from Inspiration Friday. I hope you take a visit at my blog if you have time.

  13. I really like the tropical print you chose for the white chair! It's very pretty!

    I am delighted that you linked to Potpourri Friday. I appreciate you and hope to see you again this Friday!

    I just became your friend and follower!

  14. That sure is remarkable. What a great transformation. thanks for sharing with my newbie party.

  15. Another amazing transformation. Love the fabric you chose!

    Coley @

  16. I haven't done this yet. But, I would like to. you make this looks easy! Thank you for linking it to Home Sweet Home!

  17. i love that fabric on this chair- it gives it a fun but modern vibe!

  18. The fabric you picked looks great! I love that it's so graphic!


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