Dining Room Chair Reupholstery

After owning our dining room set for nearly 3 years, my wife decided she wanted to reupholster the chairs, which was a project that was long overdue.  So I set out to tackle this project, which anyone can do!  I’ll show you step-by-step how to do it.

We scored big on Craigslist before we moved into our current house and bought this

Before, we had a very drab velvet-like fabric that was stained from the previous owners.
Before, we had a very drab velvet-like fabric that was stained from the previous owners.

great Thomasville dining room set (table, two leaves, 6 chairs, and a China Cabinet) for about $400 bucks.  The chairs had been covered in this velvet-like fabric which was stained with paint, markers, and other things from the previous owner’s kids.  We knew the chairs needed to be re-done, but we waited a while, so our kids wouldn’t make the new stuff just as bad!

You can always easily start over if you wish.

This is an EASY project that almost ANYONE can do.  If you can use scissors and a staple gun, you can do it.  Don’t have any fear about messing up.  You can always easily start over if you wish.  Fabric is cheap, so you can buy a bit extra if you want that peace of mind.

The Mrs. picked out a teal and cream printed fabric, and I got to work.

Follow along with me as I show you how I did it.  It took me about 2 hours from start to finish of 6 chairs, excluding the drying time of the Scotchgard.

You'll need a screwdriver or drill/driver (not pictured), a staple gun, and a pair of scissors.
You’ll need a screwdriver or drill/driver (not pictured), a staple gun, and a pair of scissors.

Steps:

Involve the kids! Oliver helped carry the cushions from the dining room to the living room.
Involve the kids! Oliver helped carry the cushions from the dining room to the living room.
  • Before buying the fabric, unscrew and remove the cushions from the chairs, and using masking tape, put a number on the chair and the cushion that goes with it so you can match them up when you put them back on.  I forgot this step and had to make new holes in the last seat.  Don’t make my mistake.  If you do, it’s not a huge deal, just not ideal.
  • Put the screws in a safe place where they won’t get lost.
  • Pull the fabric off, and remove the staples from the old fabric.
  • Take the old material with you to the store so you know how many yards of new fabric you need to buy.
  • Lay the new material out and use the old piece as a cutting template, and cut your new fabric.
  • Center the cushion on the fabric and fold the fabric to make a small hem and staple in the back of the seat.  Pull taut as you work to each side of the back and add a staple in the back right and left corners.  Flip the cushion around and again, pull taut and add a staple in the front middle.  Work to each corner and staple.
Unscrew Cushion
Pull Old Fabric
Cut Template

I tried different techniques to get the corners to look good without any folds showing or bunching, and didn’t come up with one single magic technique, so just play with it and get it as good as you can, but always pull it taut.  Add extra staples to get it to hold right where you want it.  Do the front corners first, then the back corners.  This way, if you have extra material that creates a bunch or a fold, you can hide it on the back corner where it will be less noticeable with the frame of the chair.  If you don’t like it, pull the staples out and start over again!

Load Staples
Staple
Scotchgard
Tested
  • Once all corners are secured, add more staples all the way around, making sure to still pull as you staple.
  • Make sure you don’t cover the screw holes with staples.  Find the screw holes and add a staple right in front of it, and then cut and remove the fabric that covers the hole.
  • Repeat for all remaining cushions.

I highly recommend using Scotchgard on the cushions to help protect them from spills and stains.

  • Lay the cushions out in the garage where overspray won’t cause any damage, and follow the directions.  Spray two light coats and allow to dry.
  • Cut off any extra bunched up fabric in the corners, then match up the chairs with their proper cushions, and line up the existing screw holes (if you didn’t remove the excess fabric covering the holes earlier, do that now).  Use a drill/driver with the clutch properly set and drive the screws into the cushion.  See my post here on how to use the clutch of your drill.

Now you have a fresh look for your dining room set!

Dining Room Chair reupholstery
After!

1 Comment for “Dining Room Chair Reupholstery”

Jeremy Bardet

says:

Great writeup! I feel like I could definitely take this on after reading this. I’ll wait for a week where I’m at a brownie point deficit and then go for it. Thanks!

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