Monday, January 3, 2011

How to Cover a Dining Room Chair

Recovering dining room chairs is a simple, inexpensive and quick way to update any dining room décor. Using only basic tools and about 3/4 yards of fabric per chair, this easy project can be completed by even the most inexperienced DIYer.

Staple gun and staples
Foam or seat cushions
Electric knife or serrated knife

Please read through all instructions before beginning project.

Remove fabric, staples and old padding from chair seat if necessary. (In many cases, to remove the chair seat you will need to unscrew the seat from the chair bottom.)

Gather supplies
To determine the amount of batting and fabric needed, measure the length and width of your chair seat at the widest points. Add 8 or more inches to each dimension and then multiply by the number of chairs.

NOTE: The amount of fabric needed depends on the size of the chair and the pattern of the fabric. When finished, each chair should be identical. Thus, you may need more fabric in order to center the fabric design than just the amount it takes to cover the chair.

To determine the amount of foam needed, measure the outside dimensions of the chair bottom and then multiply by the number of chairs. (I always add a few extra inches to guarantee I have enough.)

If your chair foam is in good condition and does not need to be replaced, skip to “Covering Seat with Fabric.” If you need to replace the foam, there are two choices - purchase pre-cut chair cushions or create your own cushions from foam. My chairs were not a standard size, so I purchased 1” foam.

Use the seat bottom to make a template. Place the seat bottom wrong side up on top of the foam.

Using a marker, trace around outside edge of seat bottom.

Cut foam using an electric knife or serrated knife.

Batting is used to create a smooth edge and provide additional cushioning.

Place seat bottom on top of batting and cut about 4 inches wider than the outside edge of the seat bottom. Place foam right side down in the center of the batting. Place seat bottom right side down on top of foam.

Pull center point of batting on one side to back side of seat bottom. Use the staple gun to secure. Repeat on other three sides, securing each side with one staple in center.

Working from the center out, continue pulling and securing batting with staples until you reach the corners on all four sides. Pull batting tight around the corners and staple,

Trim excess batting.

Covering Seat with Fabric
This process is pretty much identical to covering the seat bottom with batting.

In order to center the fabric design in the middle of the chair seat, place chair seat right side up on flat surface. Lay fabric over top, centering design. Carefully, flip chair seat over.

Pull center point of fabric on one side to back of seat bottom. Use the staple gun to secure. Repeat on other three sides, securing each side with one staple in center. At this point it is a good idea to turn the chair seat right side up to make sure the fabric pattern is centered and pulled evenly. If not remove staples and try again. If everything looks even, turn seat back to right side down and continue stapling as above.

Trim excess fabric.

Place chair seat on chair and attach with screws.

Enjoy your new chairs!

19 comments: said...

What's better than being able to change out your chair seats? Instant updating for not a lot of investment. This is a great tutorial. I love the fabric you used. And the beauty of it is, when you get tired of it, you can easily change it. Love it!

BigBearswife said...

oo it looks great!! its so wonderful to beable to re-do things instead of having to buy new chairs!! Great Job!

Samantha said...

What beautiful fabric you used! It looks fabulous with the rug.

Green Door Girl said...

beautiful fabric - thanks for the tutorial - I have always wanted to try this!

Michael - Innkeeper said...

looks great!

love the blue ikat fabric too! thanks for the great tutorial.

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Great tutorial.
This is something I need to do. Especially now that the GRANDS have destroyed the present seat covers!
Lil' Cherubs... they don't mean to.

Upscale Downhome said...

I am going to be doing this same project in my dining room with a Waverly black and white ticking stripe. I love the blue Ikat fabric you chose. Any hints for getting the corners nice? Yours look really good. Thanks for the post!

michelle said...

What kind of batting did you use? I have my fabric ready to go, but was hesitating on what type of batting to purchase.

Your chairs look great with the run! said...

Gorgeous! Thanks so much for the how-to, I'll be linking.

Red Door Home said...

Thanks for the question Michelle. I used a quilting batting which was purchased at JoAnn Fabrics.

Red Door Home said...

Another great question -
Getting the corners to not pucker takes a little bit of practice and patience. After I have stapled all the sides fairly close to the corners (about an inch or so) I then pull the middle part of the corner and then the sides. I usually flip the seat over a few times to make sure the fabric looks good on the front. Once I have it right I then secure the corner all at once, rather than stapling as go. Hope this helps.


Upscale Downhome said...

Thanks for the tips on the corners and for visiting my site. :)

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

They look so much better - love the fabric you use!

Amy of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie said...

Love the step-by-step! I have a set of chairs that need some seats. You've inspired me to make it happen!

Cassie {Hi Sugarplum!} said...

these chairs look great! what about creating covering the seats of chairs that don't currently have a removable, built-in cushion bottom? I'd like an alternative to tie-on chair cushions.

MiniBinoy said...

Great tutorial!! Infact i have been thinking of redoing my chairs..thanx a lot for the tutorial:)

Bree@ 700sqftDesign said...

Love the fabric, love this post, you just got yourself another follower...great design stuff on here!

KelliB said...

Love, Love, Love the fabric!!


A Muse said...

Wow! thank you, thank you, thank you!

I've recovered chair seats in the past, but used the original foam. My friend just purchased a wonderful used dining room table & chairs set. After picking it up, she discovered the chair seats smelled awful! I had already promised her I'd recover the seats for her, but once I looked at the old foam, I didn't know how to best cut the new foam & ensure the seat edges would be neatly shaped. Answer, an electric knife & quilt batting! This article with photos is a lifesaver! So easy. Thank you again! Keep up the good work!!

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