Adding New Upholstery to Old Furniture

What You'll Need
Small hammer
Upholstery nails
Upholstery tacks
Heavy duty staple gun and staples
Sharp scissors or shears
Box knife
Tape measure
New fabric
New stuffing if needed

You can use new upholstery to give life to a favorite old chair you can't bear to throw away or one that you found at a yard sale. Adding new upholstery to old furniture is a good money-saving DIY project that you can accomplish with a little work, planning and thought. It requires use of a few tools, most of which you probably already have.

Step 1 - Prepare

Place your chair on a surface so you don't have to bend over or be down on the floor to work. This will save your back and a lot of aggravation over all. Remove all of the old fabric piece by piece in whole pieces. These will be your patterns for your new pieces. Remove all cording if any and save.

Step 2 - Inspect All Parts of Chair

Inspect your chair for needed repairs on any exposed wood, as now is the time to refinish it or paint it. Inspect the springs if any to see if they may need to be re-tied. Chances are the stuffing needs to be replaced, so do that now. Anchor into place on the bottom side of the frame with heavy duty staples.

Step 3 - Position Fabric

Spread the new fabric out on a large flat surface and lay the old pieces on it as patterns and cut them out. You may want to leave a little extra all the way around each piece as a seam allowance. Be sure the pieces are laid on the grain of the fabric so you won't have bias stretching issues and sagging.

Step 4 - Adhere Fabric

Start applying the fabric to the chair. Do the arms first, the sides and front. Put all remaining fabric on the outside and inside back. Pull it snugly but do not stretch it. Anchor with upholstery tacks and heavy duty staples. Remember, this chair is going to be used, so make sure everything is snug and secure.

Step 5 - Finish Up

If the chair had a ruffled or pleated skirt, now is the time to re-attach it. If you opt to not put one back on it will actually make your job easier as skirts can be difficult, especially if you don't sew. You can take your fabric and measurements to any upholstery fabric store or upholsterer and they will do that for you.

The same thought goes for the seat cushion if its a detachable cushion. You may want to have a professional do that job if you aren't a seamstress. Another alternative is to wrap fabric around the seat cushion, and pin or sew on the backside and miter the corners. It will give it an envelope look and save you all the sewing.

If you wish to add nail head trim or other trim to the chair, that is your last step. That type of trim is available at any good upholstery fabric shop and is applied in strips so they are already evenly spaced.