How to reupholster a chair cushion


If you've got some chairs that could use a makeover, here's a quick and easy way to do it. Grab a staple gun and watch Bruce Littlefield, author of Garage Sale America as he re-covers some chairs that have seen better days.

How to reupholster a chair cushion

If you would like to give your kitchen or dining room chairs a fresh, new look without spending a lot of money, you may consider reupholstering them. Here are some simple, easy tips to help you.

Chair cushion reupholstering steps:

  1. Turn chair upside down and use screwdriver to remove the cushion you are going to reupholster.
  2. If you would like, you can leave the old upholstery attached to give the chair an extra layer of padding.
  3. Select new covering for your cushion. You can use something as simple as an old tablecloth to recover the chair.
  4. Lay fabric down and place cushion upside-down on top of fabric. Cut fabric out around cushion, leaving enough fabric on each side to fold over onto cushion.
  5. Starting with the front, adhere fabric to the cushion using the staple gun, and staple every few inches across. Repeat with the back of the cushion.
  6. To complete the sides, fold fabric on the sides as you would if you were putting sheets on a bed, forming “hospital corners” to tuck fabric in tightly and neatly. Adhere to the cushion using the staple gun. Repeat for the other side of the cushion.
  7. Neatly trim excess fabric hanging from the stapled edges of the cushion, cutting close to the staples.
  8. Reinforce the corners of the cushion with a few extra staples.
  9. Use screwdriver to attach the reupholstered cushion to the chair.
Transcript Hey there I’m Bruce Littlefield for and today I’m going to show you how to reupholster a chair. Quick and easy. I found this chair at a garage sale, actually a set of these for ten bucks. You can see why I found them for ten bucks; they’re in bad shape. The upholstery is in a little bad shape, but guess what, all you have to do with a few things; a staple gun, short staples make sure that you use short staples, five-sixteenths not one inch because you don’t want somebody sitting in your chair, and a screwdriver.

Unscrew the top off. All right, I actually leave the upholstery on because it gives it a little extra padding. You could take the upholstery off. If you have a dinner guests coming and you need the chairs quick, so, I’ll show you how to do it quickly. This is actually an old tablecloth, and I have enough obviously to do all four of my chairs. Make sure you have enough to fold over. And then you take your scissors and it literally doesn’t have to be neat. You can just sort of cut around it, just make sure you have enough fabric to do the fold over.

All right, start with your front, front of the chair. Flip that over and get your staple gun, and use good force to get them down there. Okay, take the fabric and do the back. And then your sides make a neat fold as if you’re doing the sheets in the bedroom. So, make it taught, and get that over. Some people call that a hospital corner. My dad who went to military college calls it a military corner. And then before you get to the other side, the finishing point, again make sure that the corner is nice and tight. Tuck that in, we’re going to finish this off last. Nice, now one of the things you might do so that is doesn’t hang down below the chair, go ahead and finish off the fabric as close to the staples as you can get, and as neatly as possible. Those are good sharp scissors.

We’re going to finish off the corners by making it tight. It forms a tight bond to the shape of the chair. And then really hit that with your staple gun as tightly as possible. So there we have nice neat corners, and we put that back onto our chair. We left the screws in place. Again, make sure you don’t loose your screws. And, so as it screws in it will tighten down on the fabric, actually go through the fabric. It will just pierce it, it won’t hurt it. Do the same on all four corners, tighten the last screw down, flip your chair over, and your done your ready for seating. So ten dollars I bought the four chairs, a few bucks I got the fabric, and a little bit of time. How easy can it be? For I’m Bruce Littlefield.
meet theexpert
  • Bruce Littlefield

    Bruce Littlefield Design and Lifestyle Guru Bruce Littlefield is a New York-based designer, writer, and restaurateur. Hailed as a "design and lifestyle guru" by Publisher's Weekly, he is the author of the recently published Merry Christmas, America!: Megawatt Displays Across the U.S.A. (HarperCollins 2007), Garage Sale America and Airstream Living (HarperCollins 2007), and co-writer of the best-selling Use What You've Got and Other Business Lessons I learned from My Mom (Penguin Group) with real-estate magnate Barbara Corcoran. The Today more about this expert »

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