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How do I Reupholster a Dining Chair?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated: Feb 19, 2024

Reupholstering dining chairs is a fairly simple project if you have a staple gun tool. To reupholster a dining chair effectively, it's not always necessary to remove all of the old materials such as the padding. If there is any sign of mold or damage to the materials, it is important to remove and replace them. Other than a staple gun, staples and upholstery fabric, you may want to use extra padding when you reupholster a dining chair set.

When you've gathered your materials and are ready to begin, the fabric should be placed right side down onto the floor or tabletop. You should use enough fabric to allow yourself to reupholster a dining chair by folding the edges up several times before you staple them onto the wooden underside of the seat. Remember that you'll need extra fabric if you're adding a layer of padding.

Adding foam padding is easy. If you measure the dining chair seat, or bring it in to a shop that sells foam for mattress and cushions, you can get padding cut to size. Adding the foam padding is just a matter of placing it between the new fabric and the chair seat before stapling. The one thing to be cautious of as you reupholster a dining chair with a foam pad added is that the fabric is pulled smoothly across the padding as you staple. The foam may have a tendency to slip, especially if you're using a silky fabric.

Too silky or thin of a fabric isn't recommended, as it may become easily torn, snagged or soiled; upholstery material is the best choice for reupholstering dining chairs. If you're only going to reupholster one or two chairs, you may find inexpensive remnants of upholstery material in sale bins at fabric stores. If you're planning to reupholster a dining chair set, be sure to buy enough fabric by carefully measuring what you need. Any excess fabric could be used to create a dining room accessory piece such as a table runner.

The only really challenging part about reupholstering a dining chair is making sure that the fabric is completely smooth. Whether you use extra padding or not, it can be difficult to do since the right side of the material isn't facing you. A good tip, if it's possible for you to do, is to place the fabric and seat section onto a glass-topped table. This way, you can have a look up from the table's underside at the right side of your fabric to make sure it's completely smooth before you staple it into place.

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Discussion Comments
By Heavanet — On May 15, 2014

@spotich5- I also reupholster my dining room chairs every year or so, and I have found that leaving the old material on makes the chairs have thicker cushioning. Unless the old fabric is heavily stained or soiled, I don't think there is any reason to remove it first.

By Spotiche5 — On May 14, 2014

Reupholstering dining room chairs is a great way to change the looks and decor of your dining room without spending a lot of money. I like to replace the fabric on my dining room chairs every few years to keep them looking fresh and updated.

If you like the idea of reupholstering your dining room chairs yourself, you will find that is it an easy job when you follow the directions provided in this article.

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