How to Upholster a Chair With Vinyl

Written by melissa worcester
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If you have a kitchen or dining chair that's in rough shape, you can give it a facelift by covering the seat with vinyl. This can be done whether the original material covering the seat was fabric or vinyl.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Prying tool or screwdriver
  • Replacement vinyl
  • Foam padding
  • Glue that can be used on foam
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun

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  1. 1

    Remove the seat from the chair. This may be an easy matter of popping it out if it is held in place by pressure, or you may need to remove some screws. A simple inspection of the underside of the chair should tell you how to take it apart. If the back of the chair is covered with a similar material, remove that, too, as it will also need to be reupholstered.

  2. 2

    Remove the vinyl or fabric from the chair seat and, if applicable, the back of the chair. This may be a simple matter of unfolding it, or you may need to pull out tacks or staples. Keep it intact as much as possible if you will need to use it as a pattern for the new covering. This is an optional step: Depending on the chair, you may be able to just cover whatever is already there without removing it.

  3. 3

    Cut the vinyl to size. Leave at least 6 inches beyond the dimensions of the top of the seat. Inspect the back to see how much of the vinyl will show to determine how much overlap you will need. Use the material that was originally on the chair, if it is still there, as a guide when cutting your vinyl. If the original material is gone, you will have to judge by the way the chair goes back together how much material will be needed to cover it so that you can staple it where the staples won't show.

  4. 4

    Inspect the padding to see if it can be reused. If you can't reuse it, or if you are not removing it but want to add extra padding beyond what's there, cut a piece of foam to fit and glue it in place. Allow the glue to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Wrap the fabric around the seat. Start stapling at the middle of one of the sides and staple that side until you are about four inches from the corners. Repeat with the opposite side of the seat, stretching it taut as you go. When you have all four sides stapled, then you can do the corners. Hold the corner of the extra vinyl up and cut it diagonally, leaving some overlap. Staple it with several staples in each corner, pulling it as tightly as you can. If necessary, repeat with the back of the chair.

  6. 6

    Clean the legs and frame before reassembling. If they are made of wood, consider refinishing them or treating them with wood oil. Reattach the back and seat.

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