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How to Recover Fabric Chairs

Learning how to recover fabric chairs has always been on my DIY bucket list. I’ve read scores of articles on how to tackle the project and finally decided this weekend to take it on. Of course having four chairs in desperate need might have nudged me a bit.

These past few years of eating with toddler boys have left a mess of spills and stains that has gotten out of hand. Cue the embarrassed face when anybody comes for dinner.

Messy and Stained Before ChairA few months ago I bought fabric for the chairs and it has sat in a closet just waiting for the big moment. My friend and fellow DIYer, Angie was over and I strong armed her into helping me while our kids ran wild outside. True friends ignore their kids whacking each other with light sabers to help on a DIY. Just sayin’.

After we talked out just how to recover fabric chairs, we gathered the supplies. This included the fabric, drill, staple gun and staples, and a good pair of scissors. For the fabric I spent a little more on a grey stain resistant fabric (fingers crossed!) that has a durable linen texture. It was also easy to line up straight on the seat. Seeing as this was my first rodeo, I didn’t want to choose a fabric with a complicated pattern to line up just so.

Screws in Seat

I used an electric drill to unscrew the screws on each corner the seat. I was then able to give it a nudge upward and pop the seat out. After some careful consideration and a quick test, I decided not to uncover the existing fabric on the seat. Most directions recommend that you first uncover the old fabric from the seat. It would allow you to use the original as a pattern and also ensure that there is enough room for the new fabric within the frame. In my particular case, I was afraid that these chairs were so old that removing the old fabric would lead to needing a whole new seat. I did a quick test to make sure that it would fit the frame and decided to move on. This also saved a TON of time!

Cutting Fabric

Next, I laid the seat face down on the fabric and cut a pattern that would allow a few inches on each side wrapped. I then cut three more of these for the other chairs.

Next I made sure the fabric lines were straight, and pulled it tight and firm. I used my staple gun and placed a staple in the middle and then moved on to do the same in the center of each side. Once satisfied that the seat fabric was pulled and placed nicely, I started to staple each side. I placed a staple every few inches and worked my way around the seat. Finally I folded each corner in the middle and tightly and gave it a few staples.

I then used my scissors to trim the excess fabric as needed.

Wrapped Fabric Seat

To finish I placed my newly covered seat into the chair frame and screwed the original screws back in. Using the electric drill allowed this step to take mere seconds.

Completed recovered fabric chairThis whole project was really easy. Once I knew that the first one worked and looked great, I moved on and finished the other three in about an hour. I’d say it was two hours well spent and I’m so glad I took the time to lean how to recover fabric chairs. It has transformed these chairs from completely gross and drab to sharp and most importantly, clean!
How to recover fabric chairsI think these side by side comparison’s speak for themselves. Wow! Before and After chairs side by sideHave you ever recovered chairs or tackled a new DIY? I just love when they turn out easy, great and inexpensive. This one was a total win!


  1. HEIDI says

    I did this recently for our chairs that we got years ago from Ikea! It breathed whole new life into them and only took me about an hour to do! These look great!!

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