Poofy Cheeks: How to Reupholster Chair Seats

March 9, 2011

How to Reupholster Chair Seats

As you may or may not know – I am in the process of redoing my living room. A few days ago I decided to head to Joann’s on a fabric hunt. I wanted some fabric to cover my dining room chairs, make some pillows, and who knows what else!

We bought our dining room table at the Habitat for Humanity store last summer. We bought it with the intention of sanding it down and refinishing it – but that hasn’t quite happened yet. In the meantime I though it was time to recover the already ugly – and then stained seat cushions.

So here is what you will need:

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Drill/screw diver

If you have ever stretched a canvas before than this will be easy for you. I take the same approach to recovering seat cushions. First things first – use your drill or screwdriver to remove the screws holding the seat cushion on.

Next, measure your cushions (at the widest parts) from one side to the other. Make sure you take into account the width of the cushion in your measurements and then add 5-6 inches so you have enough to wrap around the bottom.

*At this point you can remove the old seat cover completely or just cover over it. I usually only remove them completely if I need to add more padding to the chair cushion. I decided to just cover over the old one this time.*

Now lay your fabric right side down and put your seat cushion centered on top of it. If you are using a polka-dot or striped fabric make sure the edges of the cushion are perfectly aligned with the pattern.

Time to whip out your staple gun. Spin it on your finger like a woman from the wild west, and get to work. In order to make sure the fabric is stretched evenly and tight across the cushion you want to start by stapling two sides at a time. See the picture for the order..

Keep alternating sides until you get to the ends. Then fold over the fabric on two opposite ends. Tuck and pull tight so you only have one fold. Then staple it in place.

After that – continue stapling on alternate sides until you reach the other corner.

Finally – tuck the last two corners and you are ready to reattach the seat to the chair.



  1. Thank you for these instructions! I followed them to reupholster two seats this weekend!

  2. Thanks going to do this tonight, easy, fool proof directions. And your after product looks great

  3. Thank you so much for these wonderful, easy-to-follow directions! I recovered six chairs today quite successfully. I'd never done anything like it before and was surprised how well they turned out! I used outdoor material for durability, and will stain guard the cushions before they get much use.

    For others, here are a few things I figured out as I went along:

    1. Make sure your fabric isn't see-through. I put a layer of white felt underneath, but I imagine batting would work, too.
    2. To screw the seat back into the chair frame, put the seat upside down on another chair or a table. Then, put the chair on top of that. Place screws and reattach. (This probably seems obvious, but I had a few minutes of stupidity before I figured it out.)
    3. The seats I used were kind of shaped like a filled-in "U". It was much easier to start on the sides, then do the back/front. Since the sides were relatively parallel, it was a lot easier to make sure the pattern on the fabric stayed on straight.


Your comments make me smile!