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How To Reupholster Your Dining Room Chairs - Just In Time for The Holidays

Have you been preparing to host your family for the holidays? You’ve got a beautifully planned table display with matching napkins and plates ready for your guests, but what about your dining room chairs? Are your worn and well loved dining chairs becoming a real eye sore in your perfect holiday decor pans? Well we can help.

We have prepared a simple tutorial on how you can reupholster your dining chairs at home… and if you don’t think that you can do it, then come and see us in our office so we can get you on the schedule.

Tools & Materials That you will need:

  1. A pneumatic or manual staple gun w 3/8 inch leg staples
  2. A staple remover
  3. Side cutters or pliers
  4. A razor blade or utility knife
  5. A heat gun or a hair dryer
  6. A steamer (optional)
  7. A measuring tape
  8. Scissors
  9. Chalk
  10. A hammer
  11. Fabric
  12. Dust cover


Step 1: Collect your tools and find a safe place to work

Tools for the job

Tools we used are: pneumatic staple gun, CS Osborne staple remover, side cutters, a razor blade, wagner heat gun, steamer, hammer, & scissors.

Step 2: Remove any decorative nails & other decorative pieces

It is important to first remove any decorative pieces that can prevent the fabric from coming off of the seat cushion with ease. The best way to do this is by prying the decorative nails off with a staple remover.

Step 3: Cut fabric at the base of the seat bottom

To completely release the fabric from the base, you will need to use a razor blade or a utility knife to cut the fabric all the way around the base outside of the staples. Make sure to avoid slicing near the sides near the foam.

Step 4: Remove the fabric that's stuck to the base

Use your pliers or side cutters to rip off the fabric that is stuck to the staples. You may need to use a little bit of elbow grease to do this (which is normal)

Step 5: Remove any loose staples and separate the old fabric from the foam

Remove any staples that have come loose from pulling off the scrap fabric. Once you have done this, you can begin to take the old fabric off of the cushion and set it aside

Step 6: Hammer down the leftover staples

Take a hammer and knock any remaining staples so that they sit flat against the chair base.

Step 7: Steam the foam (optional)

Overtime, the foam from your seat cushions will compress. Steaming the foam gives new life to your furniture by expanding and refreshing the foam without having to spend the extra time and money on replacing it.

Step 8: Measure the cushion

It is important to remember to do this step after you have steamed the foam so that you get an accurate measurement. Position your measuring tape so that your are measuring around the center (or widest) part of the cushion.

When measuring, make sure to add an inch and a half to the length so that you have enough material for stapling.

Step 9: Draw out your pattern

After measuring, we know that we need to have a 24 inch x 24 inch piece of fabric. We measured this square out and made a chalk outline to make the cutting process easier.

Step 10: Cut out your pattern

Use some sharp scissors to cut out your pattern. Dull scissors may create imperfections in the fabric edge

Step 11: Begin to staple on your fabric (following the pattern)

For this step, it is important to follow a specific staple pattern so that your fabric is stretched in the correct way.

Make sure that your first staple is placed in spot 1. Next, slightly stretch the fabric so that it will be tight once you staple in spot 2. Repeat this stretch and staple pattern for all spots 1-8.

8 direction blog

Step 12: Continue to smooth out fabric and staple all the way around the seat cushion

Continue to staple the material around the cushion paying close attention to the way that the fabric is laying on the side of the cushions. You want to make sure that you are stapling the material as flat as you can to get the cleanest outcome possible.

Tip: If recovering with vinyl, use a heat gun to warm up the material. This will give you more stretching abilities and a beautiful edge.

Step 13: Cut off any extra material

Use a razor blade or utility knife to cut all extra fabric from the bottom of the cushion.

Step 14: Attach your dust cover

Cut a piece of dust cover and center it over the bottom of the seat cushion. Staple dust cover by folding material under as shown in the video.

Black seat cushion before


White seat cushion after


Now that you have reached this point you have successfully recovered your dining room chairs! We knew you could do it!

This is such a simple and great starter project into the upholstery trade and we hope that you enjoyed this time we have spent together!