Upholster a Simple Chair

Have you ever found the best old chair that simply has the most horrible upholstery ever made? Or had your kids spill yet one more cup of red punch on your nice dining room chair? Well, it’s easy to fix all that with re-upholstering! This is a simple fix that anyone who can use a screw driver can do. Upholstery fabric can be bought in most stores that sell fabric at all, just pick out one you like. Unless you are detail-oriented, try to steer clear of stripes.

First, turn your chair upside-down. Most basic upholstered dining chairs have a wooden seat attached via corner brackets and screws. This is especially true of older chairs. You want to remove the screws so the seat can come off the chair frame.


Now, remove the old upholstery fabric, as well as any staples and nails that you can get off.


If you want to put extra cushioning in, cut batting or foam (or in my case an old futon cushion) into the shape of the wooden seat base.

Place the cushioning on the seat base and lay your upholstery fabric over the top. Cut out the shape with enough extra fabric around the edges to fold over and attach to the bottom of the seat. In general, this will be 2-4 inches extra.


Carefully turn the whole seat over, holding the layers together. Choose one end, and starting in the middle fold the fabric so the edge is tucked inside and using a staple gun or upholstery tacks, attach the fabric to the wooden seat base. Continue across the edge, attaching the fabric every 2-3 inches.


Now go to the opposite side and do the same thing, pulling the fabric taught as you go, but not so taught that the fabric is stressed out of shape.

See, both ends done, now for the sides.

Now do the same thing on the other 2 edges, carefully folding the corners in so they are covered with fabric and no raw edges are visible.


Do any repairs to your chair frame, tightening joints as needed with wood glue, then position your seat on the frame and re-attach with the screws.

Ta-da! Your done, and you have a lovely “new” chair!

About nigerianmeadows

I am a homeschooling mother of 2 autistic children and cook gluten-free, I homestead on 2.5 acre and raise goats and chickens for dairy and eggs, I garden, cook, quilt, and take photographs. I build, paint, scrub, and dance on tables. I am the ultimate WOMAN!!! Oh, yeah, and I like my husband a whole lot (he is the one that makes all this possible, and he loves me like no other!)
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4 Responses to Upholster a Simple Chair

  1. laura little says:

    What a wonderful tutorial. Even knowing all the steps in advance, I would now feel empowered to go do it myself…If I had any upholstered chairs…. :O(
    How’s the moving going, Chiquita?

  2. Thanks, friend 🙂 The move is going slow but steady. We are going to be adding deer processing to the schedule as well, so it should be interesting. I have sold a bunch of furniture and am filling the living room with boxes that are ready to go 🙂

  3. LindaG says:

    You are brilliant!
    I bookmarked this. :o)
    I found a steel chair for $5 at a thrift shop, but the seat was a little torn. I would have just used duct tape on it, haha, since it comes in so many colors now; but hubby didn’t want me to buy it.
    If we go back there again, I’ll have to look and see if the seat could be recovered. Maybe then he’d let me get it.
    Thank you so much! Have a blessed week. ❤

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