How to Reupholster a Fabric Reclining Chair for Your Living Room

Reupholstering a reclining chair can be turned into a DIY project. It is relatively easy to do regardless of your experience. A reclining chair’s upholstery is made of snug fit material covering it. Replacing the upholstery means you will replace the fabric that is covering the chair. This includes stitching and padding if existent. The job will require you to have a few tools handy. Along with the tools you’ll need to follow a few steps and you’ll be reupholstering your living room’s fabric reclining chair in no time.

Tools and Materials

  • Fabric
  • Heavy duty stapler
  • Upholstery shears
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Pins
  • Foam or batting stuffing (optional)

Step 1: Buying the Fabric

You can use a variety of fabrics to cover the reclining chair. This is more a matter of personal preference. It is a wise idea to buy a fabric that is tear and stain-resistant. Take measurements of the chair to determine how much fabric you are going to need. Buy a little more fabric than what you have measured. You’ll need the extra material for tucking in and this way you will be covered if you make any mistakes.

Step 2: Working with the Old Upholstery

Start working on removing the old upholstery from the bottom up. Strip the old fabric from the reclining chair by making cuts through the seams and not through the material. Strip the fabric from all the areas, including armrests and the foot area. Keep all the upholstery and separate different parts. The stuffing will be made of foam or batting. If it is in good condition you can decide to keep and reuse it. Otherwise remove it and throw it away.

Step 3: Cutting the New Upholstery

Use the old upholstery from the reclining chair and separate into pieces to trace the material on the new fabric. Use the shears to cut the fabric according to the trace. When tracing and cutting the new fabric, lay it on a surface facing down. This way the traces will be made on the non-showing part of the fabric. If the old upholstery is worn or stretched out then use the tape measure to take measurements of the chair and cut accordingly.

Step 4: Attaching the Upholstery

The backrest part of the reclining chair upholstery will be like a pillowcase. Sew the sides together using a sewing machine. Before laying down the fabric, place the stuffing in position on the chair. If you’ve decided to buy new stuffing choose high-density foam or cotton batting. Once you have the stuffing in position place the fabric on the chair and use pins to keep it in place. Smooth the fabric over across the chair. Turn the edges inside then tuck in any excess fabric. Use the stapler to attach it to the chair. Use multiple, closely placed staples across the entire chair bottom panel. The backrest won’t require any staples because the upholstery should have a snug fit. Use staples for the arm and footrests and make sure you mask them by positioning them underneath.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

In order to have a snug fit you will have to stretch the fabric as you’re pulling it over the chair and stuffing. You’ll want to pull hard enough to remove any creases but not to the point where it shows signs of stress. Once you are done, reattach all the panels and handles to your reclining chair.