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How to Recover Dining Chairs

Learn to recover dining chairs and give your dining set (or one that you find that has potential) a whole new life with these instructions.

We found the dining set in these photos on the side of the road for free! Yes, the dark green paint job was poorly done and the current upholstery was terrible to begin with and stained on top of it. However, they were sturdy and solid wood. Not to mention free. Hard to beat! We also painted our dining chairs for a full transformation!

The upholstery fabric we found was also a thrifty find, we bought a vintage Marimekko remnant of fabric for these. Much cheaper to buy remnants (just be sure on how much you need) and search places like eBay or Etsy for sources. Many fabric stores will have a remnant section which is very affordable. There was no way I was going to spend $40 a yard. I spent less than that for this entire project!

To figure out how much fabric you need to recover dining chairs, measure all three sides of the seat (length, width & depth) and add three times the depth to the length and the width. For example, if the seat is 12" x 14" x 2" then you add three times the depth (2 x 3 = 6) to the length and width which would give you (12 + 6 = 18) and (14 + 6 = 20) so for each chair you'll need 18" by 20" of fabric.

dining chairs before recover dining chairs after

Supplies: You'll need upholstery fabric, scissors, staple gun and staples. You'll also need a screwdriver to remove the screws underneath your seat to remove the seat from the chair base.

recover dining chairs supplies

Lay your cushion down (face down) on the fabric, make sure you have enough fabric to wrap around the sides. It is much, much easier to recover dining chairs if you leave on the existing fabric and just layer over it.

dining chair reupholstery

If you must remove the existing fabric the following steps are the same, it just might be trickier with the interior foam being loose.

dining chair upholstery

The method I like to use it to staple the center of one side a few times and then staple the center of the opposite side and moving out from the center. Once I get both sides nearly finished (leaving space at the corners) I do the same on the two other sides.

dining chair corners dining chair covering

The corners are the hardest part, but with a little pulling and folding you can get them just right. I do my corners "gift wrapping style" which means I simply fold them and staple down as shown above on the right. When you are doing your corners, it helps to flip your cushion over to check that your right side is all smoothed out. Remember, you can always pull out the staples and re-staple as a last resort, so no need to be afraid!

diy chair upholstery screw chair pads on

Finally, the moment of truth arrives...the fun part! Place your new chair pad on your chair and if you are happy with it, flip over the chair and screw it in place!

diy chairs after diy dining chair set

Happy recovering! By the way, you can also see how we stripped, painted & sealed this dining chair set for even more diy decorating instructions!

After all, it's your might as well love it!

PS - This post is part of DIY Day over at A Soft Place to Land!



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