Let’s be honest – upholstery scares me. I mean, I love the idea of finding a quality piece and updating it with some new fabric. (We in the design biz call this “vintage upholstery”!) With so many cheap, cardboard furniture pieces being manufactured and sold online today, it’s difficult to know for sure if what looks good on a website will really last through the years for your family. That’s why I love to find a quality made piece at a thrift store or even purchase it off a neighbor. You can tell right away that a piece is quality when its made from real wood, has dovetail joints, or has just held up for 30 years and looks like it could go another 30! But a lot of times the pieces found secondhand tend to need a little TLC. And upholstery, webbing, coils, caning…that can all be very intimidating! But today, I am going to show you how easy, yes EASY, it is to reupholster a dining room chair.
I had these great Bernhardt chairs that my mother-in-law left me. Sadly, the caning on the back had been scratched up by our cats. (That’s a project for another day.) But I wanted to give them a little facelift for my Guide My Design Living Room Makeover. So, I decided some new upholstery to replace the tired, stained fabric would do the trick! All I needed was fabric, a few supplies, and I was ready to go.
How to Easily Reupholster a Dining Room Chair:
You’ll need several yards of fabric (I ordered 3 yards for 8 chairs), an upholstery staple gun, and heavy duty staples. I also needed a screwdriver to remove the chair seats from the chair frame.
Disassemble your Chair
Remove the parts of your chair you want to reupholster from the frame. There were a lot of screws under my chair seat, but I only needed to remove four for the seat to come off. The rest were holding the frame together so I left them.
Cut your Fabric to Size
Since I was using a stripe, I laid out my fabric with all the chair pads on them prior to cutting. I wanted to make sure I had ample fabric. I gave myself an additional 4″ around each side of the chair pad so I had enough fabric to wrap the sides and staple on the bottom.
Make sure you measure twice and cut once!
Staple your New Fabric
Once each of my pieces were cut, I laid the chair pad down and started stapling the fabric. I really didn’t see a need to remove the existing fabric since I wasn’t replacing the cushion. The bottom of my chairs were MDF board so it was a little tough to get the staples in. I definitely got my arm work out in that day!
You also need to gather and fold your fabric tightly around the chair pad as you go. To help with this, you can pin your fabric to hold it in place before you start stapling. Or I used a hot glue gun to glue my fabric down snuggly before placing an upholstery staple in it.
Reassemble your Chair
Put your seat pad back on your chair and re-attach it to the frame.
Voila, you’re done! For someone who is looking for an inexpensive update, this is a great project. I recommend it for young couples or first-time home buyers who are facing a lot of expensive furniture purchases. You can find lots of good quality furniture at local thrift stores or even online through Facebook Marketplace. Just be sure to check it out first – look for a maker’s mark or manufacturer, beware of anything that’s cardboard, and of course, check to see if there’s any wobble!