This is a tutorial on how to refresh a chair by reupholster the chair cushion. With some basic tools, some fabric, and a little bit of time, you can revive a old, tired chair to almost new.
I have a office chair that had a faux leather fabric seat cushion. After a few years, the leather started peeling away leaving a pretty worn out seat. Instead of throwing it out, I decided to try to restore the seat cushion by reupholstering it.
Reupholstering a chair cushion is actually really easy once you learn the basic technique. It allows you to replace cracked or split seat cushions, or update stained, worn, or faded fabric for very little money.
Tools and Supplies needed:
- small flat head screwdriver
- heavy duty staple gun
- fabric large enough for the seat plus a few inches on each side
How to Reupholster a Chair Cushion:
Step 1: Remove the Chair Cushion
Flip the chair over and find the screw holes that fasten the chair cushion to the chair. These are usually located around the perimeter of the chair. Unscrew all the screws and put the screws aside.
Step 2: Remove the staples and old fabric
Place the chair cushion upside down on a table. You should see a bunch of staples along the edge of the seat.
Using the flat head screwdriver and pliers, remove all the staples to release the fabric.
Step 3: Lay out the new fabric cover
Lay out the fabric on a flat table with the wrong side facing upward. Centre the seat cushion on top of the fabric. Cut the fabric so that it can wrap over the edge of the seat cushion with at least 1-2″ of overlap.
Step 4: Staple the fabric onto the seat cushion
The way I approached attaching the fabric for this chair cushion is to staple the flat edge first. In this case, it was the bottom edge of the seat. This helped anchor the fabric for the rest of the edges.
After the first edge is stapled, I pull the fabric firmly on the opposite (top edge) and staple a few times. After that, I worked on the sides, from the bottom edge to the top. This way, if there happen to be any puckering in the fabric, it would be closer to the back of the chair and not as visible.
For the corners, I stapled the edges up to the corners and then folded the corners and stapled again to hold the fabric together.
For this particular chair cushion, there are notches in the seat for the back rest that can be a bit tricky to reupholster. The original seat cover had extra pieces sewn to the shape of the notch. To keep things simple, I decided to cut the fabric in a Y shape for the notch. I pulled the remaining fabric tight and stapled it to the seat.
Step 5: Reattach chair cushion to chair
Trim any excess fabric that is not needed. To make reattaching the cushion easier, find the screw holes and make sure they are not covered by the fabric.
Reattached the seat cushion to chair using the screws that were saved from Step 1.
There you have it. A chair cushion restored to new condition, or if you chose a different pattern, a fresh new look in your room.
I hope this tutorial encourages you to try your hand at reupholstering your seat cushion before kicking it to the curb.