Reupholstering old worn dining chairs is fairly simple. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Foam or batting (if padding needs to be replaced)
- Fabric (enough to cover each chair and wrap around at least 4-5 inches on each side – more if you’ll be adding super thick padding)
- Staple gun
Here are the chairs I started with. Notice the fabric is dirty and torn. The padding is looking a little flat as well. I found the two cane backed chairs at an estate sale and the other two at the Goodwill Outlet. Total cost: $15.
Step #1: Turn chairs upside down and remove screws on each corner holding the seat pad in place. For some reason I didn’t take pictures of this step. Sorry. But it’s pretty self explanatory.
Step#2: Take your pliers and pull the staples pinning the old fabric to the underside of the seat. If some staples are too deep to get a grip on you can gently grab the fabric with the pliers and pull. This should pop the old staples right out.
Step #3: Next, cut your foam/batting and fabric to fit your seat. I laid the wood seat right on my foam and traced a line about 1 1/2 inches beyond the edge of the seat all the way around. That way the padding would wrap around the edges of the wood seat. Then I repeated the process on the fabric, allowing 5 inches extra around the edges of the wood seat (to have enough fabric to wrap around the edge and staple to the bottom). I tried to reuse whatever padding I could, but I ended up adding more to each seat. No one wants a hard seat, you know.
Step #4: Lay your fabric, right side down, on the floor. Center foam on fabric and center wood seat on foam. If your fabric has a pattern, make sure it’s lined up straight.
Step #5: Starting in the center of one side, pull fabric around and staple to bottom of seat with your staple gun. Next, pull center of opposite side around (make sure it’s nice and tight) and staple to wood. Continue on other two sides.
Step #6: Now, starting at the center staple point, work your way out on each side to the corners. Make sure you’re pulling fabric tight.
Step #7: Now it’s time to staple the corners. Tuck the sides under and fold the corner straight over (like wrapping a present). Pull tight and staple. Make sure you aren’t stapling over the screw hole. You’ll need that accessible for reattaching the seat to the chair frame.
Step #8: Turn your seats over and admire.
Step #9: Using your screwdriver and the existing hardware you removed in step #1, reattach seats to chairs.
I chose to paint my chairs and use use a different fabric on each seat. The great thing about this process is that it’s so relatively easy and quick the fabric could be changed when I get tired of this look (or, more likely, when a child spills spaghetti sauce or grinds play dough in to one of the seats).
Time to head to a garage sale, estate sale or thrift store and find your own chairs to reupholster!