Design & DIY

How to reupholster a chair


Sure, it has potential, but your flea-market find needs a bit of love. Luckily, it’s easy and cheap to update an upholstered dining room or kitchen chair. Start by stripping the old fabric and padding, and then replace the plywood seat, if necessary. If you take the board with you when you go fabric shopping, you can see how a pattern will look positioned on the seat.



What you’ll need:

  • Upholstery fabric (cut 3″ larger than the plywood on all sides)
  • Batting, 1″ thick (cotton or polyester; cut 2″ larger than the plywood on all sides)
  • High-density foam (cut 1″ larger than the plywood on all sides)
  • Spray adhesive (suitable for fabric; check the label)
  • Staple gun





1. Centre the fabric, batting, and foam on your work surface. Using spray adhesive, glue the plywood to the foam. Pull the fabric over the plywood in the middle of each side and staple in place.

Step 1: Centre

2. Staple the fabric to the board, working from the centre out towards the corners, making sure that the fabric is consistently taut. Work a little at a time, matching your progress on all four sides.

Step 2: Staple

3. Fasten each corner by pulling it towards the centre and stapling. With scissors, trim excess corner fabric above the staple.

Step 3: Fasten

4. Fold the sides of each corner in, almost like making a hospital corner on a bedsheet, and staple. Check the top of the cushion to make sure the fabric is even; if it’s too loose or too tight in any one place, remove a staple or two and refasten.

Step 4: Fold