How to Recover Dining Room Chairs

Updated April 17, 2017

Everyday wear and tear on dining room chairs adds up making recovering your chairs an eventual necessity. You don’t have to haul them off to professional upholsterer to have them redone. With a few simple tools, an air compressor and sewing machine you can update the look of almost any dining room chair. The project is so uncomplicated that it can be accomplished in a weekend. Also, if you have access to wholesale fabric stores or catch the fabric on sale, the project can be reasonably inexpensive.

Take the seat covers off the frame by unscrewing the chairs from the bottom.

With a flat screwdriver and pliers, remove the staple by first inserting the flat screwdriver under a staple and turning the end up. This will loosen the staple and allow you to grasp the top of the staple with the pliers and pull it out.

Take the fabric on the chair seat and make a pattern using the old cover or by using the chair seat to draw out a pattern. To draw a pattern, place the chair seat upside down and trace around the shape. Add the depth of the chair seat plus one inch for an overlap that will be stapled.

Use the pattern to determine the yardage you will need. Purchase that amount plus half a yard extra.

Cut the upholstery fabric using the pattern for each chair. Make sure if there are stripes or a pattern that all chair seat covers are laid out straight and match. Finish the edge of the seat cover with a serger or by using a zigzag stitch.

Lay the chair seat out on top of the fabric, cushion down in the centre. Start stapling at the back centre of the chair by pulling the fabric up over the edge. Pull the fabric firm, but not tight. Staple three times--in the centre and on each side. Repeat this process on the front of the chair, then at the sides.

Starting at the back of the chair seat, staple the fabric all across the back of the chair. Repeat this process on all sides.

To finish, mitre the corners and staple them in place. Trim the fabric if necessary and screw the chair seat back in place.


Always wear goggles when using a staple gun.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Thread to match
  • Newsprint
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Air compressor and staple gun
  • Staples
  • Eye goggles
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Pliers
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About the Author

Ruth Eshbaugh is a freelance graphic designer, writer, artist and photographer who has been writing for eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM and other websites since 2008. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Eshbaugh is a published haiku author.