Upgrading Chair Upholstery

What You'll Need
Cotton covering
Fabric chalk
Staple lifter
Ruler or measuring tape
3/8-inch staples
Ice pick

Chair upholstery tends to see a lot of wear and sometimes even spills. Moreover, like everything else in your house, it can fall out of fashion. Instead of buying new chairs, you can save money by simply upgrading it yourself.

Step 1 - Get Ready

Most drop-in chair seats generally have a wooden base with foam on top, covered by fabric which can be removed. You must first remove the seat from the chair. If you have antique chairs, keep in mind that they generally have old slot-head screws; mark up the seats with chalk so you can then match up each seat with the respective chair.

Step 2 - Remove the Old Chair Upholstery

Now remove the present seat covers. Turn the seat upside down so that you can see the underside. Properly upholstered seats have a synthetic or cotton covering stapled to the underside. Once you have located the staples, you need to remove them with the help of a staple lifter.

Keep your covering if it is in good shape because it will come in handy for Step 6.

Step 3 - Prepare the New Chair Upholstery

You now need to take accurate measurements of your chair. These are the measurements you will work with in order to cut your new chair upholstery. Place the seat upside down on your new fabric and trace its outline with some fabric chalk. With the help of a ruler or measuring tape, add an extra 2 inches around all the edges for hemming and re-upholstering. You should now cut your fabric. Mark the front and back center of both your new chair upholstery and of the seat. Hem in at least 1 inch of your fabric if it starts fraying.

Step 4 - Upgrade the Chair Upholstery

Before attaching the new fabric to the seat, you must first place the seat upside down on the fabric and line up the center markings. Make sure to stretch the material before stapling so that no sagging will occur. Use the stapler and 3/8-inch staples to attach the fabric to the seat and always stop 2 inches from the corners. Remember to mark the screw holes as you go along so that you won’t have any problems when you re-attach the seat.

Step 5 - Finish the Corners

At this point, you should have the chair upholstery stapled to the seat with the corners yet undone. To remedy this, you need to fold the fabric at the corner so that it is neatly pleated and staple it in place. You should do the same for all four corners.

Step 6 - Re-attach the Covering

Once you have completely attached the new fabric, you should start attaching the cotton fabric covering over the staples of your newly attached chair upholstery. If you have kept the old cotton covering, you should use it. If you are employing new cotton covering, cut it up to the proper measurements. You should now staple the cotton covering to the underside of your seat.

Step 7 - Install the Seats

Use the ice pick to open up the fabric where you marked the screw holes. You are now ready to re-install the seats. If you have antique chairs, remember to use the combined chalk markings done in Step 1.