Reupholster a chair

This step-by-step project shows you how to recover a dining or other chair. You can easily tackle this do-it-yourself project with basic skills and tools.



Staple remover or needle-nose pliers
Tape measure, chalk and scissors
Bosch Tacker and staples (or staple gun)
Upholstery pins or tacks






1. To remove the seat turn chair upside down and place on a flat work area (like a table or the floor). Unscrew the seat, making sure to keep the screws in a safe place for later.

2. If the seat cushion feels sturdy (its inner padding doesn't feel worn or ripped), you can simply cover the old upholstery with new fabric. Spread fabric out face down on a table and place seat upside down on top. Measure 10cm beyond the seat on all sides and mark with chalk. Cut your fabric along these lines.

DIY Tip:
If the seat padding is very worn, replace it with foam. Take off the old fabric (a staple remover or pliers will help) and remove the padding. Using the seat frame as a template, cut a piece of foam to fit.

3. Centre the seat upside down on the face-down fabric. (Make sure the pattern isn't crooked; with a pattern like the one shown here, set a stripe flush with the front edge of the seat.)

Fold fabric up and over front edge and, starting in the centre, use a Bosch Tacker to staple it to the underside of the seat, working out to the corners at 2cm intervals. End 6-8cm from each corner.

Turn seat right side up and pull fabric tightly toward the opposite edge, smoothing over the top so the pattern is straight and the fabric is wrinkle-free. Flip over, staple down that edge, then repeat on remaining sides.

4. Fold fabric up around the corners, making small overlapping pleats. Smooth pleats and staple (or, for bulky fabrics, use canvas tacks).

5. Fit the newly covered chair seat back into the chair frame and replace the screws.