How to Reupholster Dining Room Chairs

The other month I posted about how I stained and polished our older dining table.


We decided the chairs also needed a face lift, so we decided to reupholster dining room chairs as well. I had never tried to reupholster dining room chairs before, so I gave it my best shot to see what I could do.

Chair reupholstered

Things you’ll need to reupholster dining room chairs:
– Screwdriver
– Staple gun
– Fabric
– Fabric scissors
– Upholstery staples – I used these:

3 staple-pack

BEFORE STARTING THE PROJECT: You will need to purchase the fabric you want to reupholster with. To get enough fabric, you will need to measure the height and length (and depth) of the chair seats. Allow an extra 2″ on each side to give you enough fabric.

(An easy short cut is to give the dimensions to the clerk at the fabric store and they will ensure you have enough fabric! This was my method…)

*Note: check all your chairs to make sure they aren’t different sizes. My chairs had 3 different sizes out of the 6 chairs, which luckily we caught ahead of time.)


1. Turn your chair over and you should see a set of screws on each of the corners.

4 bottom-of-dining-room-chair

2. Unscrew the screws and separate the bottom of the seat from the chair.

5 Screw-on-bottom-of-chair

3. At this point you can remove the old fabric if you desire; however, I just decided to put the new fabric over the old — saved some time and elbow grease.

4. Take your seat, place it on the fabric, and make sure you have about 2″ of overlap to cover the edges of the seat.

6 Lining-up-fabric-on-seat

THIS is the fabric I used – Whimsy Paisley Mardi Gras by Covington – I LOVE IT!

6 Covington Whimsy Paisley Mardi Gras Fabric

5. Begin stapling the fabric to the chair. Start from the middle of opposite sides. (It is important to ensure there are no gaps between staples.) As you staple, keep the fabric smooth and staples close together.

Chair reupholstered

Stop stapling a couple inches from the corners, as there is a separate process for doing the corners.

Chair reupholstered

6. Once you have completed stapling the sides, it’s time to move on to the corners. The process is called pleating and will give you smooth corners that are not bunched.

7. Take the corner, pull the fabric towards the center of the chair and staple.

Chair reupholstered


8. Then take the remaining sides of the corner and fold them into the center of the chair — making sure the fabric stays smooth — then staple. [Please excuse the un-manicured hands!]

Chair reupholstered

Chair reupholstered

Chair reupholstered

Chair reupholstered

9. Turn the seat over and look at the corner to make sure it looks appropriate. If not, then pull out the staple and try again.

10. Repeat with the rest of the corners to finish out the seat.

Chair reupholstered

Chair reupholstered

11. Inspect the seat once all the staples have been completed. If there are any areas that have gaps, you can usually pull the fabric together or over and staple it on the back.

12. Once the fabric is done, reattach the seat by screwing in the bottom of the seat to the chair.

13. Flip the chair over and you have your newly finished chair!

Chair reupholstered

14. Repeat these steps with the rest of the chairs, and you’ll have yourself a new, fresher looking dining room table! I did not know the process would be so easy to reupholster dining room chairs, but it was. And it was so worth it!

Chair reupholstered

  • Dawn

    Beautiful! I’m going to pin for future reference.

    • Lindsey Bridges

      Hope it works out. For minimal investment of time and money, you can totally give a new look to your dining room and furniture!