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How to Reupholster a Chair: Step-by-Step Guide

Are you tired of your old, worn-out chair but don’t want to spend money on buying a new one? Reupholstering might just be the solution for you. Learning how to reupholster a chair is a great way to revive your furniture and save money in the process. In this article, we will go through the steps to help you reupholster your chair like a pro. Let’s get started.

Tools and Materials Needed

When it comes to giving that old chair a fresh new look, reupholstering is a great option that not only saves you money, but also gives you the opportunity to show off your creativity and DIY skills. Before you dive into this exciting project, it is important to gather all the necessary tools and materials that you will need to get the job done. Here is a comprehensive list of everything you will need to ensure a successful and smooth reupholstering project.


When it comes to reupholstering a chair, having the right tools is essential for a successful project. Here is a list of tools you’ll need to gather before starting:

  • Staple Gun
  • Staple Remover
  • Needle nose Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure
  • Air Compressor or Vacuum Cleaner
  • Sewing Machine
  • Glue Gun
  • Hammer
  • Aside from the essential tools, you’ll also need to gather materials to complete the project. Here are the main materials you’ll need to reupholster a chair:

    • Fabric
    • Batting or Foam
    • Webbing
    • Dust Cover
    • Trim
    • Upholstery Tacks or Buttons
    • Thread
    • Materials

      To reupholster a chair, you will need various materials for the proper functioning of the process. These materials should be made of good quality to ensure the end result is long-lasting and visually appealing. Here are the materials to consider:

      • Fabric: Choose a fabric that suits not only your style preferences but also your lifestyle. You can go for cotton, linen, vinyl, or even leather.
      • Batting: Use batting to cover any lumps that may appear under the new upholstery.
      • Webbing: It is used to reinforce the seat area and keep it strong.
      • Thread: Choose a thread that blends with the fabric you have selected.
      • Staple gun and staples: Use a staple gun to secure the new fabric and batting in place.
      • Scissors: You will need scissors to measure and cut the fabric.
      • Sewing machine: If you need to sew some parts together, use a sewing machine for a neater finish.
      • Foam: You will require some foam to cover the seat and make it comfortable.
      • Preparing the Chair for Reupholstering

        Preparing the chair for reupholstering is a crucial step in the process of giving new life to old furniture. It involves removing old upholstery, padding, and preparing the chair frame. Taking the time to properly prepare the chair will ensure a smooth and successful reupholstering project. In this section, we will go over the steps needed to effectively prepare your chair for the reupholstering process.

        Removing the Old Upholstery and Padding

        Before beginning the reupholstering process, it is important to remove all old upholstery and padding. Here are the steps to follow:

        1. Remove the seat cushion and backrest cushion from the chair.
        2. Using pliers, remove all staples holding the old fabric to the chair frame. Be sure to remove all staples, as they can damage the new fabric if left in place.
        3. Carefully remove the old fabric and padding from the chair. Pay close attention to any seams or areas that may require extra care or attention.
        4. Inspect the chair frame for any damage or repairs that may need to be made before continuing with the reupholstering process.
        5. Once all old upholstery and padding has been removed from the chair, you can begin preparing the frame for the new fabric.

          Preparing the Chair Frame

          Before reupholstering a chair, remove the old fabric and padding to inspect the chair frame for damages. Check the joints and screws for looseness or damage. Tighten screws, and repair any damage. Once you have ensured the chair is stable and safe to use, move on to the next step.

          To make sure the new padding sits evenly and smoothly against the chair’s frame, remove any excess staples, and sand down any rough areas. Refinish the wood, if necessary, to ensure the chair looks its best. Once you have removed the old upholstery and prepped the frame, you are ready to move to the next step.

          Here is a list of materials and tools you’ll need for preparing the chair frame:

          • Needle-nose pliers
          • Flat-head screwdriver
          • Hammer
          • Pliers
          • Sanding block
          • Using these tools, you’ll be able to remove the old upholstery with ease and have a smooth surface to work with. Remember to take your time when preparing the chair frame, as it will ensure the rest of the reupholstering process goes smoothly.

            Measuring and Cutting the New Fabric

            Now that you have successfully removed the old upholstery and padding from your chair and prepared the frame, it’s time to measure and cut the new fabric. This may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, you’ll be upholstering like a pro in no time. We’ll walk you through the process step by step, so grab your measuring tape, fabric scissors, and let’s get started.

            Measuring the Chair

            Before cutting the new fabric, it is important to measure the chair properly to ensure an accurate fit. Here are the steps to follow:

            1. Measure the length and width of each cushion or seat area, taking note of any irregularities or curves.
            2. Measure the length and width of the backrest and arms of the chair, including any curves or angles.
            3. Measure the thickness of the padding to determine the amount of new padding required.
            4. Add extra fabric allowance to each measurement to ensure a secure fit. It is recommended to add at least 2 inches to each measurement.
            5. By taking accurate measurements, the new fabric will fit snugly and securely over the chair, resulting in a professional-looking finished product.

              Cutting the Fabric

              Cutting the new fabric for the chair upholstery is a critical step. It is important to measure the area multiple times and double-check the measurements before making any cuts.

              To begin, lay the new fabric on a flat surface and mark the measurements onto the fabric using a fabric pencil or chalk. Be sure to add extra fabric allowance of at least 2 inches to each measurement for a secure fit. Use a ruler or straightedge to draw straight lines for cutting.

              Use sharp scissors to cut the fabric along the marks you have made, being careful not to cut too close to the marks. Remember to cut a piece of fabric for each cushion, armrest, and backrest area.

              Once all the pieces of fabric are cut, match them up to the corresponding areas of the chair, being sure to place them correctly. Tuck them tightly into the crevices and corners of the chair.

              List of items needed for cutting the fabric:

              • Fabric pencil or chalk
              • Ruler or straightedge
              • Sharp scissors

              Attaching the New Upholstery and Padding

              Now that you have removed the old upholstery and padding and cut the new fabric, it’s time to begin attaching the new upholstery and padding to the chair. This stage of the reupholstering process requires a steady hand and attention to detail. Adding new padding and attaching the new fabric requires proper techniques to ensure a professional-looking finished product. In this section, we will guide you through the steps of attaching the new upholstery and padding, as well as adding finishing touches to your reupholstered chair.

              Adding New Padding

              Adding new padding to a chair is an essential part of the reupholstering process. The padding provides extra comfort and support while also hiding any imperfections in the chair frame. Here are the steps to follow when adding new padding to a chair:

              1. Measure and cut foam padding to fit the cushion area of the chair. Use a serrated knife for a clean cut.
              2. Place the foam on top of the cushion area and smooth out any wrinkles or bumps in the foam.
              3. Cover the foam with batting material to provide extra cushioning and prevent the foam from slipping. Cut the batting material to fit the cushion area and staple it to the chair frame using a staple gun.
              4. Once the new padding is in place, the chair will feel much more comfortable and look new again. It is important to take your time with this step to ensure the padding is placed properly and securely attached to the chair frame.

                Attaching the New Fabric

                To attach the new upholstery fabric to the chair, first lay it down over the cushion or seat area and smooth it out to avoid wrinkles or bubbles. Once it is properly aligned, use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the chair frame. Start at the center of the area and work your way outwards towards the edges.

                Use a flathead screwdriver or a staple remover to remove any uneven staples. Continue attaching the fabric, pulling it tightly but not too taut, keeping it smooth and aligned. Trim away the excess fabric and tuck the edges of the fabric neatly into the crevices of the chair frame.

                Now, attach the fabric to the backrest and arms of the chair in the same manner. Make sure to line up any patterns on the fabric for a professional-looking finished look. Double-check for any wrinkles or lumps before proceeding.

                Once all the fabric is attached securely, replace any cushions or padding previously removed and reattach them to the chair. Finally, inspect the chair for any staples or loose fabric and make a final touchup if necessary.

                Here is a list of steps for attaching the new fabric:

                • Lay down the new fabric over the cushion or seat area.
                • Smooth out the fabric to avoid wrinkles.
                • Staple the fabric in the center of the area and work your way outwards.
                • Remove any uneven staples with a screwdriver or staple remover.
                • Pull the fabric tightly but not too taut and trim the excess fabric.
                • Tuck the edges of the fabric neatly into the chair frame crevices.
                • Repeat the process for the backrest and arms of the chair.
                • Double-check for wrinkles or lumps before proceeding.
                • Replace any cushions or padding previously removed.
                • Inspect the chair for any staples or loose fabric and make a final touchup if necessary.

                Finishing Touches

                After the hard work of removing old material, cutting new fabric, and attaching padding, the final step in reupholstering a chair is adding the finishing touches. These added details elevate the project from a simple makeover to furniture that looks brand new and unique to your personal style. Finishing touches can be as simple as adding trim or as complex as replacing buttons and tufting. It’s important to take your time and pay attention to detail for a professional-looking finish that will impress anyone who sees your newly reupholstered chair.

                Adding Trim

                Adding Trim:

                Trimming is an easy way to add more character to your newly reupholstered chair. There are a variety of trims available in the market, such as cording, tassels, fringes, and braids, to name a few. Adding trim to the edges of the chair can create a polished and finished look.

                To add trim to the chair, you will need a hot glue gun and the trim of your choice. Follow these simple steps to add trim to your chair:

                1. Measure the length of the area where you want to add trim.

                2. Cut the trim to the correct length, accounting for excess.

                3. Apply a small amount of hot glue to the back of the trim at one end.

                4. Press the glued end of the trim onto the edge of the chair.

                5. Starting from the glued end, work your way along the length of the chair, applying small amounts of glue and pressing the trim down as you go.

                6. Finish by gluing and pressing the final end of the trim onto the chair.

                Trim adds a touch of elegance and personality to any chair, so experiment with various designs and colors to find the perfect fit for your chair’s new look.

                List of tools and supplies needed to add trim:

                • Hot glue gun
                • Glue sticks
                • Scissors
                • Trim of your choice

                Replacing Buttons and Tufting

                Replacing buttons and tufting can add sophistication and character to your reupholstered chair. Here are the steps to follow.

                1. Cut a piece of foam to match the size of the button you’ll be replacing.

                2. Cover the foam with a piece of fabric and tie a knot in the middle.

                3. Using a needle and thread, tightly sew the fabric-covered button onto the chair’s cushion or backrest.

                4. If you’re adding tufting, mark the spots where you want the buttons to be placed using a fabric pencil or chalk.

                5. Using a long needle and thread, sew the buttons onto the chair through the cushion or backrest.

                6. Pull the thread tightly to create tufting and knot it securely on the underside of the cushion or backrest.

                Don’t be afraid to add your own unique touches to your reupholstered chair, including the addition of buttons or tufting. With these simple steps, you can elevate the style of your furniture and make it truly your own.


                Can you reupholster a chair by yourself?

                Yes, you can reupholster a chair by yourself with the right tools, materials, and skills. It may take some time and patience, but there are various tutorials and videos available online to help guide you through the process. However, if you are a beginner, it may be helpful to start with a simpler project, such as a pillow or cushion, before attempting to reupholster an entire chair. Additionally, make sure to thoroughly research the necessary materials and safety precautions before getting started.

                Can a beginner reupholster a chair?

                Yes, a beginner can reupholster a chair. However, it is important to start with a simple chair and follow step-by-step instructions or tutorials. Practice on a smaller scale with basic sewing skills before tackling a larger project. With patience and attention to details, even a beginner can achieve successful results in reupholstering a chair.

                Can you reupholster chair over existing fabric?

                Yes, you can reupholster a chair over existing fabric. However, it is important to make sure that the existing fabric is in good condition and not too thick or bulky. If the existing fabric is in poor condition or too thick, it may affect the final look and comfort of the newly upholstered chair. It is also important to make sure that the new fabric is properly secured to prevent wrinkling or shifting. If you are unsure about whether or not to remove the existing fabric, it is best to consult a professional upholsterer.

                Is it cheaper to reupholster a chair or buy a new one?

                It depends on the individual situation. Generally speaking, reupholstering a chair can be less expensive than purchasing a new one, especially if the chair has sentimental value or is of higher quality. However, if the chair is in poor condition or the cost of reupholstering is more than the cost of a new chair, then it may make more sense to replace it. To determine the most cost-effective option, it is best to get quotes for both reupholstering and purchasing a new chair and compare the costs.


                In conclusion, reupholstering a chair is a great way to update your furniture and give it new life. With the right tools and materials, preparing the chair for reupholstering, measuring and cutting the new fabric, attaching the new upholstery and padding, and adding finishing touches can all be accomplished in a few simple steps. By following the instructions and paying attention to detail, even a beginner can achieve a professional-looking finish. So, if you’re looking for a DIY project that saves you money and allows for personal creativity, give reupholstering a chair a try with the help of our guide – How to Reupholster a Chair.

                In summary, How to Reupholster a Chair entails gathering the necessary tools and materials, preparing and measuring the chair, cutting the new fabric, attaching the new upholstery and padding, and adding finishing touches. While it may seem like a daunting task, with a little patience and attention to detail, anyone can reupholster their own chair and save money on buying new furniture. Remember to choose high-quality materials for longevity, take time to properly prepare the chair, and add your personal touch to truly make it your own. With these tips, anyone can successfully reupholster a chair.