how much fabric to cover a dining chair seat

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When it comes to furniture, dining chairs are an essential part of a home's interior. They're both functional and decorative pieces of furniture that can add style, comfort, and personality to any home. However, over time, dining chair seats can become worn, stained, or just outdated, leading homeowners to reupholster them. But a common question that arises during this process is how much fabric is needed to recover a dining chair seat. In this article, we'll explore the factors that influence the amount of fabric required, as well as offer some tips to help you estimate the amount you'll need.

The Factors That Affect How Much Fabric You'll Need

The amount of fabric you need to cover your dining chair seat can vary depending on several factors. Here are four that are the most significant:

1. Chair Size

The larger the chair, the more fabric you'll need. This includes both the size of the seat and the height and shape of the back. If you have an oversized chair or a chair with a high back, you may need two or more yards of fabric to cover it completely.

2. Pattern Repeat

Some fabrics have a repeating pattern that can make it difficult to calculate the amount needed correctly. The larger the pattern repeat, the more fabric you'll need. If you're working with a patterned fabric, be sure to factor in extra fabric for matching up the pattern.

3. Directional Prints

If you're working with a fabric that has a directional print, you will need more fabric than if it doesn't. A directional print has a specific orientation, which means you have to cut the fabric in the right direction, or it won't look right. To ensure you've got enough fabric to do this, add ten to twenty percent of extra fabric to your total.

4. Upholstery Technique

Finally, the upholstery technique you use can also impact the amount of fabric required. If you're using a simple technique like stapling, you'll need less fabric than if you use a more complicated technique like tufting.

Estimating The Amount of Fabric You'll Need

Once you've taken all the factors into account, you can begin estimating the amount of fabric you'll need for your dining chair project. Here's a suggested process:

1. Measure The Seat

Measure the width and length of the seat, including any overhang or tuck under. Add two inches to each measurement to have enough fabric to tuck under and staple. For example, if your chair seat measures 18 inches by 20 inches, add two inches to arrive at 20 inches by 22 inches.

2. Add Seat Height and Overhang

Once you have the seat measurements, add in the height of the seat, including any overhang. For example, if your seat height is two inches and the overhang is one inch, your total would be 23 inches by 22 inches.

3. Multiply By The Number of Seats

Next, determine the number of chairs you'll be recovering, and multiply your measurements in step 2 by that number.

4. Factor in Extra Fabric For Repeats and Pattern Matching

If you're working with a patterned fabric, add an extra ten to twenty percent for each direction of the repeat. Also, consider adding extra fabric to match up the pattern on each seat, particularly if you're working with more than one chair.


While the amount of fabric you'll need to cover a dining chair seat can vary depending on several factors, taking careful measurements and factoring in pattern repeats and upholstery techniques can help you arrive at a close estimate. When shopping for fabric, it's always wise to purchase a bit more than you think you'll need, as this will give you some room for error if things don't go quite according to plan. With these tips in mind, you'll be ready to tackle your next DIY upholstery project with confidence.


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