Entries Tagged as 'Furniture'

How to Upholster a Chair (Part 1)




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.


I wanted to add a lot of pictures to help you visualize how to upholster a chair seat. I’m breaking it up into tow posts so I really go into detail without (hopefully) making your eyes glaze over. This time we’ll cover how to add new foam and batting to your seats, basically the guts of the chair. Next time we’ll go over how to do the fabric.

For any upholstery project here are the materials I like to use.

  • Upholstery tacks
  • Decorative nail head tacks
  • Tack hammer
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun and staples
  • 2 inch foam (you can get thicker or thinner foam depending on the seat)
  • Burlap
  • Spray adhesive
  • Dacron batting


Strip your chair frame by turning it upside down and removing all of the fabric and staples. There’s no real finesse here other than a lot of pulling yanking and plain old elbow grease. I also try and save my fabric to use as a pattern later. If the staples are really stubborn try prying a Ray Ban outlet flat head screw driver underneath and use a little leverage to help loosen things up a bit. Pliers are also your best friend at this step, they’ll help you to yank on the fabric and pull out stubborn staples where need be. Make sure you remove ALL of the staples. It’s my least favorite, kinda tedious but crucial step and will make a big difference in the end.

If your chair has a wood frame like mine and you want to paint, now is the time to do it. Lightly sand, prime and paint the frame. Even though the paint is dry to the touch in a few hours it really take a few days for it to become totally cured and more durable. Set it aside and wait for a couple of days. You’ll be turning the frame upside-down and you don’t want to ruin your brand new paint job by moving to quick.


When I I stripped my chair down I didn’t remove burlap that was covering the springs, it was in nice shape so I left it. If you need remove everything all the way to the springs springs start by stapling a layer of burlap over the top and stapling all around the top edge to completely cover the springs.


Next take your 2 inch thick piece of foam. Attach four wide strips of burlap using spray adhesive to each side. Make sure the strips are stuck good and tight and spray the adhesive outside. A word of warning, everything the spray adhesive touches will become tacky, it’s stinky and tends to fly everywhere. defiantly spray it outside in a well ventilated area.

How-to-Upholster-a-Chair-3 Once the burlap has had a chance to adhere to the foam it’s time to put your foam onto the seat. You can cut the foam with a serrated bread knife to the exact size of the chair of it’s big enough.  In this case my foam wasn’t quite large enough for that, so I stuffed batting tightly all along the edges. It worked just as well.


Now that the foam is on top of your seat you’ll need to cut out an opening for the legs of the chair so that the burlap will fit around nicely. Start by folding your burlap close to the chair leg. Then cut a “Y” shape into so that the two points of the “Y” just touch the outside corners of the leg.


Here’s a little drawing to help you visualize how the cut should go. Make sure you go slow and not cut too much. Sometimes I’ll even draw the Y right onto the fabric so I know where to cut. Then pull the burlap through and tuck it around the legs


When you have all four of the leg holes cut out you can start stapling the burlap. Start in the center and put a few staples, then move to the opposite side’s center, pull tight and staple a few more.


Keep going back and forth pulling tight and even until the burlap is secured all the way around the chair.


This will help shape the chair seat and give you a nice crown to the seat. Once the burlap is all secure nice and tight it’s time for a layer of batting.


Cut a generous size piece of batting and lay it onto your seat. Cut the same “Y” shape around each leg as you did with the burlap. You can see here that I drew the Y right onto the piece of batting. You’ll never see it and it’s very helpful. Also it makes good practice for when you’ll need to do this step with your fabric.


Now here’s were stapling the batting differs from the previous step. Batting is made up of multiple layers you’ll need to pull to separate your the top layer of batting from the bottom.

How-to-Upholster-a-Chair-9 Staple only the bottom layer to the chair but not the top, the same way you did with the burlap. Don’t tug as tightly on the batting as you did the burlap, since the burlap should be holding it’s the foam in place. You want the batting to be smooth and free of bumps. How-to-Upholster-a-Chair-10

Once your finished let the top part of the batting fall down around the chair. At this point if you have too much batting you can trim the excess so it only just falls below your chair line.

Now it’s time for the top fabric which I’ll be covering later in the week!

PS: Yes I always reupholster chairs in my living room. Especially when it’s too cold to go outside. 😉

Update: Check out part 2 of our How to Upholster a Chair tutorial here.

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before and After Party

Our New Secretary



Last week I mentioned that we were hoping to score a great deal on craigslist. It all happened while I was browsing for nothing in particular. We had just sold the buffet piece we recently refinished and I was on the lookout for the next project. My favorite categories to browse for furniture are “Furniture by Owner” and “Antiques” because  a lot of people post interchangeably in those two places. I was just casually looking while on the phone doing 100 hundred other things.


I found a beautiful secretary at an unbeatable price and jumped on the opportunity. I emailed the seller and held my breath that we’d be one of the first ones that would contact her. She called me back almost immediately and I asked her a few questions. After chatting with her for a few minutes I learned that her and her husband were remodeling cheap oakley sunglasses their house and looking for a change of decor. She loved the piece but was looking for a fresh start so she was selling off some of her old pieces.

I asked if she would be willing to wait until that evening (I needed Bryan to get home from work so we could go look at it together). She was OK with that so I set up a time to meet that night at 7:30.


When I saw the posting I originally intended to fix it up and resell it. I thought that if the finish wasn’t that great I could paint it kind of like this piece. But when we got there the piece was even more beautiful in person than in the listing. I think it’s too nice as is to paint it. The finish and color are just beautiful.

The secretary comes apart in 2 pieces and there are a few scratches on the top from where the piece has been slid on and off over the years. They scratches are mostly hidden. I have a few ideas on how to fix it without refinishing the whole piece but I may just leave it since they’re not that noticeable.


When we got it home I couldn’t resist adding some pretty stuff to the top shelves. I’m really loving how it looks in the room and the height is right. That wall needed a nice tall piece to help balance it out visually. I still need to take a few pictures of it in the whole room. But since the living room is a disaster of toys right now that will have to wait for another day.

Secretary-Collage-2I have to giggle because I put the decanters and Jack Daniels in the secretary for no other reason than I thought they looked pretty. It’s rather convenient though, have a hard day at work? why not know back a few? Haha, I’m kidding..sort of.

It’s so pretty I may just end up keeping this piece for myself.


Hmmm, decisions…

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