How to Restore Old Upholstered Bar Stools

  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Staple remover, ice pick, or screwdriver
New fabric or vinyl
Staples and staple gun
Extra batting (optional)
Sandpaper, paint, and paint brush for wooden stools
Spray paint or metal cleaner for metal stools
Drop cloth

Upholstered bar stools are nice because they can match the décor in your kitchen very nicely and tie in curtains, tablecloths, and other decoration elements. The downside of upholstered bar stools comes when it’s time to redecorate your kitchen. How do you make old upholstered bar stools look like new?

Step 1- Decide to Remove Current Upholstery

The first step in making your upholstered bar stools look like new is deciding whether you want to remove the upholstery that is currently on the stool or if you want to upholster over the existing upholstery. If you want to replace any batting that is in the bar stool, you might want to remove the upholstery. A staple remover attached to an electric handheld tool or an ice pick or screwdriver can be used to pry out the current staples. You might need a screwdriver to remove the seat from the rest of the stool, or to remove the back of the stool if it has one. If you decide to upholster over the existing upholstery, skip this step.

Step 2- Prepare Your Upholstered Bar Stool

Remove the seat from the rest of the bar stool if at all possible. This way you can finish and paint the legs. If the upholstered bar stool has metal legs, wipe them clean and scrape away any chipping paint. If the stool has wooden legs, use sandpaper to finish and smooth down the surface of the legs and to remove any unwanted paint. If you decided to remove the upholstering of the seat, add extra batting to each seat at your discretion.

Step 3- Fix the Stool Legs

If you have metal upholstered bar stool legs, use a metal cleaner, unless you want to finish them with a coat of paint. You can buy a number of different kinds of metal spray paints from your local hardware or home improvement store. There are a number of colors and finishes available. If you have a wooden stool you can stain or paint the legs of the stool. Whether you have metal or wooden bar stools, place them on a drop cloth before painting. Cover your face with a mask and use proper ventilation.

Step 4- Reupholster the Bar Stool Seat

The last step in making your upholstered bar stool look like new is to attach the new fabric to the seat of the bar stool. Cut the fabric or vinyl to fit each seat. Gather it around the seat of the bar stool and secure it with a staple gun and staples. Make sure the fabric or vinyl is always pulled tautly so it doesn’t bunch and leave creases.