How To ~ Recover A Chair

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One of the easiest ways to update the look of a room is with the addition of new furniture.

One of the most expensive ways to update the look of a room is with the addition of new furniture.

In this blog post, I will show you how to update to look of a chair with new upholstery by recovering the chair yourself. You will have to forgive my photos in this post. I forgot to grab my camera as I went out the door to my friend Rachel's house, and I only had my iPhone. Better than nothing! We will start with a chair that Rachel found at a secondhand store for $20. She liked it so much she bought two.

The first step was to disassemble the seat and the back of the chair. This was easily accomplished with the use of a power screwdriver.

Next, we laid out the fabric with the "correct" or "pretty" side facing the floor. Rachel purchased 4 yards for this project, but that was without measuring to see how much she would need. Turns out she only needed 2 yards, and 2 1/2 would have given her wiggle room. An example of measure twice, cut once! To Rachel's credit, she is NOT a crafty person (that is why I was called in to help) and she just made an educated guess. Now she has extra fabric to do her only little project!! She paid $5 per yard, so it wasn't THAT big of a deal.

Once the fabric was straight, we laid the seat bottom on the fabric. Their fabric was wide enough that there was enough fabric to envelop the seat with one continuous piece of fabric. Cut the fabric so there is enough fabric to wrap around the sides and onto the underside.

The condition of the seat and back of the chair was good. No real wear marks or stains that would show through, and the padding was in good condition, so we left it alone. Less work for us, because we didn't have to strip down the seat bottom to get to the bones of the seat.

Use a staple gun(NOT a stapler) to attach the fabric to the chair bottom. This bottom had a wooden frame, so we were able to staple the fabric directly to the wooden frame. Be sure that there is enough fabric to wrap around the front edge of the bottom seat cushion. (*see top of photo) Next, we continued to wrap the bottom of the chair with the length of fabric.

Think of folding a blanket. (There is no photo!) Just imagine the fabric at the bottom of the photo pulled up and over to cover the black part of the old seat bottom. When you do this, be sure to keep your edges tucked under, your fabric taut, flush and neat. Secure with more staples but be sure to place the staples where they won't be seen. We placed our staples along the edge where the seat will rest on the rail of the chair.

Now to finish the front edge. Pull the fabric around and secure with staples. Trim any excess fabric from the large wrap-around piece and make a neat folded edge that both covers the raw edge of the front wrap-around and will be hidden by the wooden support bar.

This is the seat back. This piece we are going to take apart. With the thickness of the fabric combined with the thickness of the fabric already on the piece, it would be more frustrating (if not impossible) to recover this without taking it apart. I suggest taking lots of pictures as you go along. This way you can go back and see the steps it took to undo the cover so that you can redo it nicely.

Note how the fabric was folded over and the seam was hidden by the wooden support piece of the back of the chair?

Note the lovely tucked corner. We are going to try and duplicate this.

Starting to take it apart. We found a flat head screwdriver to pry and a pair of pliers to pull the staples worked well. Be warned this part can be frustrating and dangerous with sharp edges.

The original was 2 separate pieces. We did the same wrap-around technique that we did with the seat.

This is the bottom of the seat back. Note how they stapled in the groove of the wooden seat back. We will be duplicating this. It is the the same technique as the seat bottom. Lay out, cut, staple, fold and tuck, and end with a neat edge stapled in the bottom of the seat back. I would have photos of the process, but it is basically the same as the seat bottom. Besides, we had 3 kids under 3 running around, and we can only do so many things at the same time! Taking photos slipped our creative minds!

Here is the finished chair. Just re-screw the seat and the back into place, and you are good to go! $40 for 2 chairs, $20 for 4 yards of fabric = 2 recovered chairs for the living room. How much did you pay for your last set of chairs?


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