After our recent kitchen update, I noticed that the old kitchen chair seat covers looked washed out. The seats had been recovered only two years before, but against the new white paint they didn’t stand a chance. So it was time for another face-lift. Recovering dining chairs is a project that I have done too many times to count over the years, but I still et that same thrill when I turn the newly covered chair over and see how good it looks. I hope you will feel that way too!
If you want to recover your own chairs, you will need a few supplies –
- new upholstery fabric and lining fabric (optional) in enough quantity to cover the seats with 6 inch overhang on each side – I recommend at least medium weight cotton or upholstery fabric.
- Staple gun and staples – I used an Arrow T-150 light duty stapler
- staple remover (optional)
- screwdriver or drill to remove and replace the seat cushions screws
- tape measure
- iron (optional)
To cover my chairs, I used an old curtain panel. If you choose fabric with a pattern, be sure that the pattern is going the same way on all of the chairs.
This is my seat cushion. I decided to leave the old seat covering on, since the fabric was clean and not torn or ripped. If your fabric is heavily soiled, ripped or has a heavy texture like corduroy, you will want to remove it before recovering. This will require that the old staples be removed, or you can cut the old fabric away, leaving just the stapled on fabric on the underside of the seat. Plan for plenty of extra time to do this step.
I cut my fabric into four squares of equal size, making sure the pattern was going in the same direction on each fabric square. If your fabric is wrinkled, you will want to iron it before you start stapling. My plan was to work on them like an assembly line. When one was done, I would just set another on top to finish.
Set your chair seat in the middle of your pre-cut fabric. Start by pulling up one side of the fabric tight, and stapling it in the middle. Then pull the opposite side up tight in the middle and staple. Do this on all four sides, then check underneath to make sure that there are no lines or wrinkles in the fabric. If there are, pull out two opposite staples, straighten the fabric and continue. Keep pulling up fabric on one side, staple it, then do the opposite side until you have worked your way around the entire seat. You should have at least 8-9 staples per side.
The corners will require a little more work. First, pull up the excess fabric at the corners, and cut off the “point”.
The amount of fabric at the farthest point out should be about the same length as the fabric on the sides.
Find the center of the corner fabric and fold in, making “butterfly” wings on each side. Staple down the center of the fabric.
Now, gather the wings and staple those down flat against the center fabric.
This will make a nice, flat corner for the fabric that will look nice when you re-attach the chair seat. Cut away any excess fabric under the chair seat before re-attaching. For a neater look ( I did not do this) you may want to purchase additional fabric to attach in a solid piece to the seat bottom to hide the cut edges of the new fabric.
Once you have completed covering the seats, re-attach them using the same screws. To do this, set your newly covered seat upside down on the table edge, and place the chair upside down on top of it. Line it up, then replace the screws that hold the seat to the chair frame. My new fabric was covering the original holes so I could not see them. So I used a drill to replace the seat screws and attach the seats. I did not make new holes, but the drill was able to re-attach the screws easily thru the new fabric.
So that’s all there is to it. Good luck and leave me a comment if you have any questions!