Monday, August 3, 2009

How to: Reupholster a Chair

I found 2 of these accent chairs in my neighbor's yard for Big Trash Day. It just so happened that I was in the market for a pair of accent chairs in my living room, so I couldn't resist the urge, and I snatched them up!

I was not a fan of the fabric choice or color... and they smelled kind of funky.

I decided they would be the perfect guinea pig for my first attempt at reupholstering something more complex than a dining room chair seat cover.


Screwdriver (flat head)
Needle nose pliers
Rubber mallet (or cover a hammer head with cloth so it does not damage & leave marks on the fabric)
Paint/stain stripper
Staple gun & staples (lots of them!)
Upholstery nails


1. Remove the original fabric.

It is very important to remember where each piece went and in what order it was removed. It's even more important to keep each piece in tact - as these serve as templates for the new fabric pieces.

I used a Sharpie to label each piece so I would not forget where each piece went.

Be sure to save the foam padding as well. You will want to a) reuse them if they are in good condition or b) use them as templates for new foam inserts. Most of the foam in my chairs was in good condition, so I was able to reuse it.

2. Strip & re-stain wood.

I did not like the light colored stain currently on the chairs, so I stripped the finish and re-stained it a darker color that would better compliment my fabric choice.

I used Citristrip to remove the finish and it worked great. No harsh smells & it worked in 30 minutes.

3. Sew fabric & attach to chair frame.

Using the old fabric as templates - sew the arms, back, and seat cushions.
Stuff with foam & batting and attach to frame in the proper order using staple gun.

4. Add some homemade throw pillows, and Voila!

The hardest part of this whole process was actually finding a fabric that I liked. I wanted a color that would "pop" with my white walls and darn brown floor. I spent an entire Saturday driving around Oklahoma City to different fabric stores, but all I found were fabrics in darker greens. Finally at the seventh store I went to (I was about to give up at this point), I found the perfect shade of green! (Thank you, Fabric Factory!) I asked for 5 1/2 yards and that's exactly what was left on the roll! After cutting the templates for the 1st chair, I was so worried that I wouldn't have enough for the 2nd chair, but as luck would have it, it came out to be just enough. I literally had slivers of fabric left!

Here are the chairs in their new home:

I am in desperate need of some curtains! How incredibly bare does that wall look?!

Any suggestions on curtain colors?


Beth said...

Yay chairs! Looks good Abby! I could never do something like that. Now we gotta come over and check out your house!

Tiffany said...

wow, those look so great! awesome job.

Anonymous said...

I'm so impressed!! They look awesome. Use bold colors for the curtains. Like the colors in the red-ish pillow. Or use sheers and make a valance or side swept second layer...i love curtains...

Anonymous said...

Abby you are easily one of the most interesting people I know. I never could have figured the Reupholstery thing out.