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how do you upholster a chair

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Upholstering a chair is a great way to give an old piece of furniture new life or to add a personal touch to a piece you have just acquired. Upholstering a chair involves changing its appearance by adding a padded layer to the entire surface, including the backrest, seat, and armrest. The process of upholstering may seem intimidating, but with the proper tools and a bit of patience, anyone can learn how to upholster a chair. In this article, we will go step-by-step and explain how to upholster a chair.

Step One: Choose Your Fabric and Tools

The first and most crucial step in upholstering a chair is selecting the appropriate fabric and tools. The fabric that you choose should be durable and easy to clean, as it will be exposed to wear and tear on a daily basis. There are countless upholstery textiles to choose from, from cotton to leather, so take your time in selecting the one that is right for you. As for tools, you will need a pair of scissors, a staple gun, a screwdriver, and pliers. Once you have these items, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step Two: Disassemble the Chair

Before you can start upholstering, you need to disassemble the chair. This means removing any upholstery that is already on the chair. Turn the chair upside down and unscrew or pry off any fasteners, such as staples or screws. Use pliers to remove any tacks or nails that secure the fabric to the chair. Once all of these items have been removed, you should have a bare chair frame.

Step Three: Cut the Fabric

Now that you have the chair frame, it is time to start cutting your new fabric. Lay the old fabric on top of your new fabric and cut around it, leaving about two or three inches of excess all the way around. Then, using your scissors, cut the fabric to the appropriate shape for each piece. For example, for the backrest, you will want to cut your fabric in the shape of the backrest in such a way that you have about an inch of excess around the entire perimeter.

Step Four: Upholster the Chair

Now for the fun part - it's time to upholster the chair! Start with the seat of the chair and lay your cut fabric over it, smoothing out any wrinkles. Using your staple gun, staple the fabric to the underside of the seat, pulling tightly as you go. Work from the center out to ensure that the fabric stays taut. Then move on to the backrest, repeating the process. Finally, work on the armrests, stapling the fabric in place.

Step Five: Reassemble the Chair

With the upholstery complete, it's time to reassemble the chair. Reattach any fasteners, screws, or tacks that you removed in step two. When attaching screws, be sure not to overtighten them, as this can damage both the screw and the chair frame. Once you have assembled your chair, it is time to enjoy your newly upholstered piece of furniture.


Upholstering a chair may seem daunting, but with a bit of patience and the right tools, it can be a fun and rewarding process. Start by selecting the right fabric and tools, then carefully disassemble the chair, cut your new fabric, and finally, upholster the chair. Reassemble the chair and enjoy your beautiful new piece of furniture. Whether you're an experienced DIYer or a beginner, this project is an excellent way to learn new skills while also creating something beautiful and functional.


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