Reupholster Chair 101


My latest project was reupholstering a chair for friend of a friend. The chair is a basic rocker with an upholstered back and seat. As you can see from the photo, it was due for a makeover.


Some of you may be surprised that we left the wood part of the chair as is since the trend nowadays is to paint everything. However, the client and I decided to leave it as was. The wood is a nice warm tone and I like that you can see the wear on the arms. This piece has a past and we wanted to preserve that.

The first thing I had to do was remove the old fabric. I did this part carefully as the old fabric would become my template for measuring and cutting the new fabric that I would be placing on the chair.

No fancy tools required for this part of the job besides this little guy. You can pick one up at any hardware store. Lucky for me, I was able to borrow one from a friend. It took no time at all to remove all those upholstery tacks, staples and nails.TL4C

Once the chair was stripped, here is what it looked like.


The springs and webbing were still in great shape and didn’t require replacing. I did, however, replace the foam with two inch 24×24 medium density foam cut to size. Again, I used the old foam that I removed as my template.


I used fabric that you would find on mattresses as my next layer. I got a yard of it for $3.00.


In the above photo, you can also see that I began on the back. The batting was in great shape so I just repositioned it and started stapling on the fabric. Again, using the old fabric as my template. First, I ironed out any wrinkles/seams from the old fabric, laid it out flat and used it as a template for the new fabric. Since the fabric I was using was patterned, I was mindful of pattern placement on the back of the chair.

Using a nail gun and compressor, we (hubby helped with this part.) stapled it into place. As he stapled, I ensured that the fabric was pulled taut and the placement was good.

My girlfriend sewed the zippered seat cushion for me. That way, the client can remove it for laundering or if she ever wishes to replace the actual cushion. I picked up a 24×24 poly-fill insert at the local fabric store for this part. I love how she boxed out the corners. It’s all about the details 🙂

Once we placed the seat cushion on the chair, I decided to also place the same fabric over the mattress fabric on the chair seat itself to give it a more finished look.


Before I removed any of the upholstery tacks from the back of the chair, I made a note of how many were used. I used the old fabric again as the template for the linen blend we used on the back. Also, when it came time to nail in all 88 upholstery tacks, we wondered how we would ensure proper placement and alignment. Then I remembered the old fabric I removed. You can see where every tack was removed. We simply placed it on the back of the chair and used it as our template for the new tacks. This part, believe it or not, went rather quickly and without incident. I do recommend buying decent tacks so they are not bending on you as you try and nail them in. I picked mine up at Atlantic Fabrics.

Here is how we worked together to get this part done. You can see a faint purple line. I used an erasable fast fade fabric pen to draw our line.


Here is the chair all finished.



One more before and after:



I am really pleased with how it turned out. Even my hubby liked it and went so far as to say, he wished it was ours. Sorry hun, this was already has a home. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for another upholstery project though 😉

For those of you wondering where I sourced the fabric, it is from Tonic Living. All other supplies for this project came from Atlantic Fabrics.

What do you think? Would you tackle such a project on your own?

Linking up with Weekend Retreat Link Party.




2 thoughts on “Reupholster Chair 101

  1. Wow, this looks great! I would love to try it myself, though I will admit I’m a bit intimidated by the idea of upholstery. I am planning on trying a tufted headboard soon, but that sounds easier than what you did!

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