How to Upholster a Chair (Part 2)




Ever wonder how to reupholster a chair seat so that it feels cushy and brand new, not saggy or springy? After working on a few chairs and reading tons of tutorials I’ve learned a thing or two about putting together a nice soft seat. Upholstery can be totally daunting and scary if you’ve never done it before. The secret to a nice soft seat is in the layers that cover the support, whether it be coil springs, zig zag springs or no springs at all. This method will add a little cush to the tush and look beautiful in the process.

If you missed the first part of the tutorial be sure to check out part 1 of How to Upholster a Chair Seat here. How-to-upholster-a-chair-pa

Now for the part where it all comes back together and starts to look like a chair again. When last we left off we just finished putting the batting onto the chair seat. The batting is the last step before the your fabric goes on!


Use the old fabric you saved during the removal process as a pattern for your new fabric. If your fabric has a pattern be sure to center it before cutting it out. I like to cut the fabric a touch larger than the pattern so I have a little wiggle room for adjustment. Center your fabric onto the seat and cut around the legs using the  same “Y” method I showed you for the burlap and batting layers. This time it’s VERY important not to cut too far. Be sure to go slow and snip a little at a time.


Here’s where the top layer differs from the previous layers. Around the legs the sides will look something like the picture above. That slit was formed when you cut the “Y shape. Now it’s time to fix that up and make a nice, clean, finished seam.


Start by folding under the raw edges of your fabric that wrap around the legs.


Next cut another piece of cheap oakley sunglasses fabric, this piece will lay underneath the top layer, if you have a pattern be sure to match it up. Fold under your top edge and tack to hold into place with a few staples. Be sure to clip off any excessive amount of fabric so as not to add too much bulk.


Wrap your top layer around tightly and secure with staples or upholstery tacks underneath the chair. The will hold the underneath piece in snugly and it shouldn’t move. See how matching the fabric pattern makes the seam almost disappear? Little details like these all help to achieve professional looking results. Once you’re finished move over to the other side and do it again. You should almost be a professional by now!


Now that the chair legs are taken care of it’s time to move onto the front. Work out from the center and begin stapling, pulling tightly and evenly as you go.


As you get to the corner gently snip up into your fabric. Be careful not to snip too far. You only want to go as high as the finished portion of your leg. Next you’re going to turn under the portion to the left of the scissor in the above photo so clip off any excess that’ll make it too hard to turn under. It’ll make sense in a second.


Now you can staple all the way up to the corner. and roll under that little portion that’s left after you clipped.


Roll under and wrap it around the chair leg, securing with a staple in the corner. This staple will get covered up in a second. Like you’re wrapping a present or making a hospital corner on your bed fold down your fabric from the top. It’ll make a nice neat corner.


You’ll probably notice depending on the weight of the fabric you choose extra bunching underneath. Trim away any excess fabric that won’t be seen. It’ll help your folder lay nice and flat.


Do the same thing as you did before and cut up to the top of the finished portion of the leg and roll under around the chair leg, securing on top with a decorative upholstery nail. Continue working all the way around your chair pulling, folding and tucking as you go.


Before you know it you’ll have a completely reupholstered chair.


Things to remember

  • Go slow it’s easy to get carried away and want to get it done quickly. Slow and steady wins the race in upholstery.
  • Don’t be afraid to pull out a row of staples if something doesn’t feel right.
  • It’s ok to snip away some of the underneath fabric when you make your corners. It helps to remove the excess and lets your corners lay flat in the end.
  • Be sure to center and line up your patterns.

Happy upholstering!

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  • denyse@ Glitter, Glue and Paint

    Maria! I love Your blog. I’m going to have to add this to my reader to keep up with you. Great job on the chair, they are beautiful!!

  • Lourdes gurrea

    maria i just found you!! I think you are my lost twin… I too enjoy doing all kinds of projects and wish I could turn it into a business… but I have a lot to learn. Thank you for posting all those great pictures.

    Happy in Florida

  • Irina

    The chairs look amazing! Thank you so much for posting. I just bought a pair yesterday and I am excited to give them a new life! Btw where did you buy the little accent table? I absolutely love it! Thanks again!!!

  • Cindy

    Nice job on the chairs Maria!
    Did you make the pillows or purchase ? Ive been looking for the exact fabric!
    Thanks : )
    Kenzie Lynn designs

  • Denise Miller

    I love the job done on these chairs. I have the exact same chairs and plan to re-finih/upholster them. How much fabric did you purchase to reupholster your chairs? Thanks for your help!

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