Re-inventing an old chair is one of the easiest furniture makeovers, and it is so rewarding to create a one-of-a-kind gem like this!
When I debuted my Queen Anne chair makeover, I provided some tips for painting. Today, I’ll cover the basics of reupholstering a chair seat. I had also mentioned in the earlier post that I had discovered a great fabric choice for seats, so let’s start there.
The secret is that this beautiful fabric, with its bold graphic pattern and textured weave, is not a standard decorator upholstery fabric but an outdoor fabric! It won’t stain, fade, or wear out. You can wipe or even scrub it clean! These days, the options for colors, patterns, and textures in outdoor fabrics are immense. I’ve used outdoor fabrics on several projects, and the results have been great!
I bought the Lake Paradise and Muse fabrics from fabricguru.com. This is definitely my favorite source for online fabric shopping. They have good prices and selection, and they make it easy to search, which can be overwhelming with some of the other sites. I bought the Sunbrella Dupione from a marine supply store online.
A couple of caveats: the polyester outdoor fabrics are stiffer than cotton upholstery fabric, so they don’t feel as soft or wrap as neatly around corners as a cotton. Also, while fine for the upholstery, they would feel stiff on a cushion, so if you want to create coordinating pillows or other items, you might want to look for the same print in a regular decorator cotton. I found the acrylic was much softer to the touch, though I did not do the sewing on those fabulous bench cushions. I also have noticed some slight piling on our dining chairs, but it’s very minor, and I am sure that they would be in much worse shape by now, if I had used a standard cotton fabric, because we eat there every day.
Upholstering a Seat:
You will need:
- flat head screwdriver and pliers
- sheet of foam (unless you are reusing the existing seat cushion)
- upholstery fabric
- staple gun and staples
1. Use a flat head screwdriver and pliers to remove all the old staples. Argh! Look at all those staples. This took a long time!
2. If you aren’t reusing the old foam, cut a new cushion from a sheet of foam from the craft store. I used two pieces of 1/2″ foam, one cut to fit the seat exactly and the other a bit wider, to wrap around the outside of the seat.
3. Center the fabric under the foam and seat bottom. For a large print, like the “Muse” on my Queen Anne chairs, pin the fabric in place, to make sure the pattern is centered.
4. Using the staple gun, tack the fabric onto the seat bottom on the center of each side. (Apparently, I forgot to take a picture of this!)
5. Next, staple from the center of each side towards the corners, stopping about two inches from the corner. Fold up the fabric at the corner and tack it to the bottom of the seat:
6. Now finish stapling the fabric on the sides. Depending on the angle, sometimes you need an extra fold in the fabric.
7. Repeat for all sides and corners, and you’re done!
Let me know if you have any questions!