How to recover dining chair seat covers

Updated July 12, 2018

Updating a dining room doesn't have to be a big, expensive undertaking. Before you invest in new furniture, consider the big impact a very small change can make--like simply making new seat covers. It's not hard to recover dining chairs, and it only takes about an hour per chair to replace your old chair fabric or put new seat covers right over the old ones.

Unscrew and remove the seats from the chair frames. Number each seat and each frame, so that you can put all of the seats back on their original frames.

Lay one of the seats face down on your kraft paper and trace around it, leaving 6 to 8 inches extra all the way around. Cut out this shape.

Lay your fabric out, printed side down. Use the paper pattern to cut out as many chair seats as needed.

Use the screwdriver to pry up any staples holding the original fabric to the chair seats. Spray the foam found underneath the fabric with adhesive and attach the batting. If you are going to leave the original fabric, spray that with adhesive and attach the batting to it.

Spray the batting with adhesive, and lay a piece of the cut fabric on top. Work quickly; you have about 30 seconds to make sure the pattern is straight before the spray adhesive bonds.

Recover chairs with arms by laying the seat on the wrong side of the fabric, as you did the others. Mark on the fabric where the notches for the arms are. Cut a small "V" pointing into each corner of the arm-space, so that the fabric will fold flat around the space.

Turn the seat face down and pull the fabric taut around it, stapling it carefully as you go. Don't cover up the screw holes. For rounded corners, pleat the fabric as you staple it. To make square corners, either cut off the extra fabric or fold it as you do to make hospital corners on a bed. (See Resources for illustrations of how to do this.)

Repeat this process until all of the chairs are done. Trim away any excess fabric and reattach the seats to their frames, matching them by the numbers you marked earlier.


Use wrapping paper as pattern paper. Use wide packing tape to attach the screws to the backs of the seats they came out of, so they don't get lost while you work.


Work in a well-ventilated area when using spray adhesive. If you are doing this for the first time, buy more fabric than you need, in case of mistakes.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Marker
  • Plain newsprint or kraft paper
  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Spray adhesive
  • Batting
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
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About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.