Chair Fabric Replacement

What You'll Need
Heavy duty staple gun and staples
Tape measure
Replacement foam or batting for the padding
Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Chair fabric replacement is an extremely easy do it yourself project and you can get really good, professional looking results with your first attempt. Take your time and follow each step and the fabric on your chairs will be fresh and new in no time. You will need a few simple tools, most of which you probably have around the house already.

Step 1: Remove the Old Fabric

Place your chair on a table top or workbench so you don't have to bend over to work. This sounds simple but you'll be happy you did it later, especially if you have an entire set of dining room chairs to do. Turn the chair over and on the bottom of the seat you will see screws, nails or some other fastener that is holding the seat on. Remove these so the seat will fall off. Don't throw these away as you will use the screws or nails to re attach the seat. If you have a fabric covered backrest you will follow the same procedure or cut the fabric loose at the seam which is usually on the bottom. Don't throw the fabric away as this will be used to make a pattern for cutting the new fabric.

Step 2: Refinish and Replace

If the foam or cotton padding needs to be removed, do so now. If you want to paint or refinish the chair, now is the time to do that job also, including a varnish coating if you want it protected. Cut your foam or cotton padding using the old piece as a pattern or guide. Apply it to the wooden seat with staples or hot glue.

Step 3:

Lay your new fabric that you are going to use to replace your chair fabric and smooth or iron out all wrinkles. Using the old seat and back as a pattern, cut out the new pieces. Be sure to cut on the grain of fabric. This simply means to be aware of the direction the vertical and horizontal threads of your fabric go and lay the pieces on them straight. If you cut on a bias or cross wise on your new fabric, it can cause stretching and bagging with use. Lay your cut out seat piece face down on a hard surface and then lay the chair seat piece face down on top of it. Pull opposite sides up and staple first, stretching to make it tight and even. Check the right side occasionally to make sure you're not distorting the pattern by pulling too tightly. Repeat for the opposite sides. Position your chair seat back onto the chair frame and using the original fasteners that you removed, attach it to the chair. Follow the same procedure for the back of the chair.

Helpful Hints

  • You may want to spray a fabric protector on your fabric chair seats and backs if they get heavy use such as dining room chairs or in a child's room.
  • Buy extra fabric to make throw pillows for your sofa to match if the chair is going in a living room or family room. Also consider making matching valances or draperies for a custom look.