Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to reupholster a dining room chair

Once your chair is upside down, find the screws in each of the 4 corners.  They are usually philips screws.  They usually are all that is holding your cushion on.  Remove those, and your cushion is free.  

Reupholstering dining room chairs is one of those skills that look a lot harder than it actually is.  I've found that most skills are like that... until I see something done and realize it's not so hard, I think it's next to impossible, and am less likely to try it.  My mom always did her chairs when I was growing up, so I was able to see how simple it is.

The way I do it is probably a shortcut, and not totally legit, but it is quick and it works, and that's all I care about.  I recover our chairs about every 3 years, or every time we get a new dining room set.  You'd be surprised how many dining room sets you're offered when you have 5 kids.

In order to decide on the amount of fabric you will need to figure out the width of the fabric off the bolt from the fabric store.  Next, you will remove one of the covers that is already on your chairs and then measure its dimensions.  If yours are too thrashed to deal with, just measure the width and length of the top, adding to those dimensions the height of the cushion plus one and a half inches for and stapling the fabric over the bottom of the cushion.  Next, figure out how many of your cushions will fit in the width of your chosen fabric.  I was barely able to fit two cushions on the width of my fabric.  Next, figure how many yards of that fabric it will take to fit all of your cushions.


a good way to turn your chair upside down

the freed cushion

remove the previous covering, and as many staples as you can.  My 5 year old did the staple removing job.

Remove leftover bits of the old fabric, so the bottom of your cushion is smooth

I had my 5 year old remove any staples that were sticking up.  She had fun!

And that's all you need.  

We were inspired to buy oilcloth to recover the chairs with this time around, after eating at a restaurant in Waikiki, called Duke's with Hawaiian print oilcloth covering their chairs.  Of course they had piping and had sewn seams on the edges and corners, but I think this still gives a similar effect, and comparable durability.  You want to use upholstery fabric, unless you use clear plastic over regular fabric.  I have done both.  I really like using clear plastic.  You can purchase it at your local fabric store in a medium thickness.  Mine held up to 5 homeschooling kids for nearly 3 years before it fell apart.  Reupholstering the chairs was what I did when I was in labor with my 3 year old, in fact!

because this is a pretty view.

all my huge  cushions, arranged just so on my fabric

this is the company I purchased the oilcloth from.  It took forever to come in, but when it came it was in great shape.


After measuring 12  times (it felt like it), being sure to account for the sides and underside, I cut.  After I cut the first one, I used it as a template to cut the rest.

I removed old decorative piping, but left the original fabric on.  The piping removed allowed me a few more millimeters of give for my fabric to fit.



One corner from beneath.  I made sure all the bunching was on the underside, so it would look better from the side and above.  You just have to keep stretching and holding the fabric in place as you staple.

view of front corner from above

completed cushion

I folded the back corners, because they were up against the back of the chair and not visible.  

Completed cushion from beneath



1 comment:

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