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How to Recover a Chair

Recovering chairs is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways to update your kitchen or dining room. My kitchen table and chairs came with our home and, while they looked perfectly fine on their own, they majorly clashed with my decor style and had felt out of place since we moved in.

Here's a look at what the chairs looked like originally.

While my mom was visiting, she painted the chairs and table base black for me which helped a lot, but that bold, blue fabric still wasn't working.

I headed to good ol' Joann Fabrics in search of the perfect neutral to replace the blue. I knew these wouldn't be my "forever" chairs so I didn't want to pick something I absolutely loved. I know I'll be parting with them in the next couple years, but I still want to like them while I have them. I found this great, textured, durable, striped fabric for about $10 per yard and knew immediately it was the one! Pretty, neutral, and inexpensive! But nothing I can't part with someday.

Like I said, recovering a chair is really easy. Here's a list of all the tools you'll need to recover a chair:

  • Fabric (probably about 1-1.5 yards)

  • A soft tape measurer (you can use a regular tape measurer too, but soft is better so it can bend. I lost my fabric measuring tape so I just used a regular one.)

  • Fabric scissors

  • Something to mark your fabric with (choose something that wont bleed through)

  • A staple gun and extra staples

  • Tools to remove and reattach your seat cushion from the chair base

If you plan to remove the old fabric from your chairs, you'll also need tools to do that. This will most likely be a pliers, hammer, screwdriver, etc. depending on how your old fabric is attached. I skipped this step and just put the new fabric over the old.

Start by removing and measuring your seat cushion. Add about three inches to your measurements so your fabric can wrap around the bottom of your chair easily. If you do remove your old fabric, you can just use that as a measurement guide.

Cut the fabric and position it on your cushion exactly how you want it to look in the end. Once you have your fabric in position, flip your cushion over (carefully so the fabric stays put) and place staples in the middle of the front and back of the chair.

I like to secure my corners next. The corners are the most important part looks-wise in my opinion and there's lots of ways you can make your corners. It's all about folding and maneuvering the fabric until it lies how you want. There's really no right or wrong way as long as you like how it looks.

Once you have your corner looking how you want, staple it so it's secure. Use however many staples you need for this step. Do the same for the rest of your corners. As you go, be sure to adjust your fabric as needed to ensure it stays in place and is taut, but not too tight. If you pull your fabric too tight across your cushion, it wont be able to stretch with normal use and could tear over time.

Once your front, back, and corners are secured, staple the rest of the fabric every couple inches or so until it is completely fastened to the cushion. Again, use however many staples you're comfortable with for this step. Here's a look at the finished bottom of my chair so you can get an idea of where I placed my staples and how many I used.

Hold your cushion level to see if any fabric or strings hang down. If they do, you can cut the extras off or staple them to the bottom of your chair.

When you've finished stapling, all that's left to do is reattach your cushion to your chair base!

That's all there is to it! It's such a simple change that can make such a huge impact in a space and if you find the right fabric, it's a super inexpensive project too!

I am so happy with the change and definitely feel like these chairs match our space and decor better than they did before. They still aren't my "forever" chairs, but I know I will enjoy them and my space so much more until I do find those perfect chairs someday!

I even have quite a bit of fabric leftover so maybe I'll make some pillow covers next!


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