How to Reupholster Kitchen Chairs
When I first got married and we purchased our kitchen table set, I was clearly a young and naive woman. After all, who in their right mind buys chairs with white seats knowing that you will eventually have children? Ah, but ignorance is bliss. Fast forward 15 years and two preschoolers later and you have a need to reupholster those kitchen seats. Since the chairs were still solid and in the quest to save more than just a few dollars, I decided that it would be much more economical to change the fabric on the seats rather than purchase a whole new table and set of chairs.
Don't think that you need to be a professional to take on this project. With a few simple tools and a little ambition, you can complete this project very easily. (This was the first time I had ever tried this!) So let me show you how easy it really is by taking you through the steps to update the look of your kitchen dining set.
Steps to Remove the Fabric
- Selecting the fabric is the first step that you will need to take to complete your project. Take accurate measurements of the seat and then multiply by the number of chairs that you will be re-covering. When you select the fabric, be sure that you use fabric that is specific for upholstery or all purpose fabric. Otherwise your the fabric will wear out very quickly.
- When you are ready to start the project, the first thing that you want to do is to make sure that you have all of your tools handy as well as a container to keep your nuts and bolts in once you remove the cushion from the chair frame.
- Then flip the seat over to remove all of the staples from the wood. Be sure that you get all of them so that it does not prevent the new staples from getting into the wood.
- Wipe down the wood with a dry or slightly damp cloth. Mine was very dusty and I needed to remove the dust before attaching the new fabric.
- Check the foam. Make sure that it is still in good condition to be used again, free of rips or holes. Don't worry about stains. As long as the fabric is dry, the stains will be covered by the new material.
- Once the staples are removed, set aside and cut your fabric to the dimensions of your chair seat. I cut all of my fabric at the same time so that I was finishing one step and would not have to interrupt the flow of my work for each chair. Kind of like an assembly line.
- After the fabric is cut, take one piece and set the rest aside. Place the fabric on a flat working surface. The kitchen table worked great for me. *Important! Place the fabric wrong side up! If you place the fabric right side up you will be hiding the design that you have chosen for your recovered chairs. Once you staple your fabric to the wood, you will not be able to change it without risking ripping the fabric. Check and double check!
- Regular screwdriver
- Allen Wrench
- Multi-purpose or upholstery fabric (Measure to determine the amount you need.)
- Staple gun
- 3/8 inch staples
Removing the Old FabricClick thumbnail to view full-size
Steps to Attach the Fabric
- Once you have your material correctly placed on your work surface, place the cushion face down in the center of the material and put the wood on top of it. Be sure that you have lined up the holes in the wood and foam.
- Now you are ready to attach the fabric. Although this may be easier to do with two people, it is very doable for one person. Start at the end of one edge and pull the fabric tight. While pulling the fabric tight, staple the fabric about a 1/2-3/4 of an inch from the edge. Continue this along the edge with about an inch of space between each staple. Repeat this process on the opposite side first. By doing this, you will be able to tuck the corners evenly on the other two sides.
- To staple the corners down, fold them in like you are making a bed or wrapping a present. The photos and video will help guide you through this. Be sure that whatever way you decide to fold the fabric down, it is consistent with the other four corners. You want to have a uniform look to your chair.
- Once all of the sides are stapled down, use scissors to cut away the extra material beyond the staples. You need to be sure to expose the holes in order to reassemble the seat to the chair frame.
Step by Step Photos to Attach the New FabricClick thumbnail to view full-size
How much did this cost?
I purchased enough fabric to reupholster five kitchen chairs. I had the staple gun and the other tools so there was not an expense there. I used a 40% off coupon for my local fabric store so the fabric cost about $60 total. I did need to purchase new staples. They were about $6. So in total I spent less than $70 on this project. That's about $14 per chair. Much cheaper than a new table and set of chairs!
Before and AfterClick thumbnail to view full-size
As you wrap up your do it yourself project, here are some final suggestions. Make sure that before you change the rest of the seat covers, check the layout of your fabric pattern. If you have a certain layout of the design, be certain that the remaining chairs follow the same layout, unless of course you would like them each to be a little different. For my chairs, I needed to be sure that the dark brown spots ran in a vertical line for each chair. Remember that once you attach the fabric. It will be much more difficult to fix.
If you have kids, and your chairs look anything like mine did, you will probably want to take advantage of wiping down the chair frame with a damp cloth. There was "stuff" stuck in places that I never knew could get stuck! It is well worth the extra few minutes.
To reattach the seat, simply turn the chair frame up side down with the seat in position. Put the nuts and bolts in place and tighten them down. You will be amazed at how a small touch like this will transform your kitchen set.