How to Reupholster Bar Stools

Bar stools at a counter.
  • 5-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-3,500
What You'll Need
Furniture foam
Foam glue
Cloth, vinyl or other fabric
Staple gun
Paper and pencil

It’s surprisingly easy to reupholster bar stools. You might have been shopping around, looking for new barstools to replace the ones you are using. Maybe you’ve been dissatisfied with the quality or color choices, or you’ve been turned off by the price. Now you can learn how to reupholster the bar stools that you've already been using and enjoying. Whether you want to use a light, bright cloth fabric, sturdy, easy-to-clean vinyl, or durable leather, the following steps will help save you a lot of hassle and money.

Remove Staples and Existing Fabric

Take the first stool and turn it upside down. Use a screwdriver and hammer to remove any staples or nails that have been keeping the existing fabric in place. When you’ve loosened everything up, pull the fabric off.

Stools at a bar.

Make a Pattern

Now that you have the existing fabric in hand, lay it on top of a very large piece of paper (using a flat surface, of course). Now, take your pencil and slowly trace the diameter of the fabric. Now you have a way to measure out your new fabric.

Remove and Replace Existing Foam

Look over the existing foam and remove what is no longer useful. You may need to take off the entire foam pad. Cut a piece of foam that will replace what you’ve removed; you can use the old foam to measure the new foam. Now, using foam glue, meld the new foam to the top of the stool. Press firmly to hold it in place. Then, turn the chair upside down. The weight of the stool will help the foam dry in place.

Wait for the Foam to Dry

Wait at least one hour before applying the new upholstery fabric to ensure the foam is completely attached to the stool. If the foam is not completely attached to the stool, then you risk breaking off foam pieces while trying to attach the replacement fabric, which would make for a frustrating experience.

Bar stools.

Apply the Fabric

Place the pattern that you’ve cut out of your new upholstery fabric on a flat surface. Take the stool and place the foam-coated side onto the new material. Start tacking or stapling the new fabric to the stool. Use a small area on each side of the stool to anchor the fabric, then go around and secure all of the edges. If you encounter an excess fabric, you may want to trim it down after you’ve tightly secured it to the stool.

Now you have finished reupholstering your first bar stool. You just need to repeat the process with the remaining stools, and you will have what looks like brand new stools.