Antique dining chairs are not only beautiful; they can be valuable, too--especially if they belonged to a loved one who handed them down to you. If you want to put your chair on display but the seat is worn or stained, then reupholstering the seat is the answer. Check with an antique dealer first if you are concerned with the value, because changing the antique sometimes brings its value down. However, if you just want it to look better, this is an easy project that anyone can do in about an hour.
Remove the old seat. If the seat was glued onto the frame, carefully cut the glue with a utility knife between the seat and the frame. Do this from the underside of the chair so you don't nick the wood on the outside. If the chair was nailed together, push the seat out from the bottom or tap the underside with a hammer to release the nails.
Take the old material and foam or stuffing off the base of the seat. If the base is damaged, use it as a pattern to cut a new one out of thin plywood.
Cut a foam piece the size of the seat base. Cut an antique-looking piece of fabric 3 inches larger than the base all the way around.
Put the foam over the base and centre the fabric over the foam.Flip the assembly upside down.
Put glue on one side; fold the fabric over and stick down. Put one staple in the centre to hold it tightly while you work on the other side. Put glue on the other side, and pull the fabric over tightly; stick on the glue. Put a staple in the middle of that piece. Do the same for the top and bottom pieces, folding the corners neatly over. Now work staples all the way around so the fabric is held tightly.
Glue the seat onto the chair by placing glue all the way around where the seat comes in contact with the frame. Clamp the seat tightly to the frame until the glue dries. Wipe away any glue that oozed out.