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How to reupholster an armchair

Updated April 17, 2017

If you have an old armchair that is beginning to look worn and you are considering a new look for the room anyway, you want to know your options before you start thumbing through furniture catalogues looking for a replacement. Before you purchase an expensive new armchair to replace that old worn one, take a trip to your local fabric store and see if you can find an upholstery fabric that you could reupholster the chair with. Reupholstering an old armchair can save you hundreds of dollars over replacing it and, if you take your time, the reupholstered chair can look just as good as a new one.

Remove all the staples from the chair using needle nose pliers.

Remove all the fabric and batting from your chair without ripping your fabric.

Place the old pieces of fabric on the new fabric, leaving room for 2 to 3 inches extra on each side of each piece. Cut the new pieces of fabric, using the old pieces as a template.

Place new battling on the chair, stapling it in place with a staple gun.

Drape new fabric over the back of the chair and tuck through the sides and to the back. Staple the fabric to the back of the frame of the chair on the top. Pull the fabric taunt at the bottom of the chair. Next pull up the back of the chair and staple in place.

Pull the fabric taunt along the back of the chair and staple in place.

Place the new fabric over the seat of the chair and push the extra fabric through the sides of the seat to the bottom of the chair. Pull the fabric taunt on the underside of the seat and staple into place. If the seat of the chair is curved at the corners create pleats around the corner and then staple into place.

Lay the new fabric over each arm of the chair and fold a third of the fabric from the back of each arm forward.

Pull the fabric on the chair arms taunt on either side and staple it into place.

Cut a slit along the centre of the fold from the beginning to the end of the fold that you made in step 8. Wrap the end of the new fabric around the arms.

Use a glue gun to add trim to the chair if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Armchair
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Rubber mallet
  • Fabric scissors
  • Trim (optional)
  • Glue gun (optional)
  • Cotton batting
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About the Author

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.