How to Reupholster a Chair Seat

New fabric added and wood painted in Old Ochre.

Changing upholstery on a chair seat is really quite simple, and I've included some basic instructions and photos below.
Here's the chair "before".The fabric was worn and the padding under the fabric was very thin.

Photo of chair before paint and upholstery.

First I turned the chair over to locate the screws holding the seat in place.

Next I Removed the screws and then lifted out the seat.

There were actually two layers of fabric already on this chair. I used pliers and a screw driver to remove the nails and then took the old fabric and padding off.

The nails were snug against the wood, so I first use a screw driver to slightly lift up the nail head.

That gave me enough room to grab the nail with the pliers. . .

 . . . and lift out the nail. Then repeat until all the nails are removed.

I used the measurements from the old fabric to determine the measurements of my new fabric.

I used the seat as a template for a new 2" thick cushion. There wasn't a cushion under the old fabric (only a thin layer of batting). I also added a layer of new batting between the cushion and fabric.

I used a small amount of spray adhesive in the center of the seat to adhere the cushion to the wood. This helps anchor the cushion so it doesn't slip and slide when attaching the fabric.

Next I wrapped the batting and fabric around the seat and used a staple gun to secure it. I pulled the fabric so it was snug and then placed a staple in the center of each side. I filled in the remaining areas with staples while continuing to pull the fabric so it remained snug.

For the corners I tucked and pleated the fabric being careful to not staple over the holes for the screws. I trimmed the excess fabric away on the corners.

At this point you can re-attach the seat to the chair. But since I was going to paint the chair I set the seat aside for the time being.

The chair frame was in good shape and sturdy, but there were a few gouges in the wood that I went ahead and filled in with wood filler.

I gave the entire chair two coats of Old Ochre and then distressed the edges and details. I finished the chair with a coat of clear wax.


Chair painted and re-upholstered.

Decorative details on back of chair.

New fabric on seat of chair.


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