How to Upholster RV Furniture

Written by kelli nottingham
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How to Upholster RV Furniture
Love life on the road but hate the interior of your RV? Consider reupholstering! (rv,rving image by Greg Pickens from

If your RV's interior looks worn or dated, don't suffer with it! Consider reupholstering the furniture yourself. Using a few simple tools and a basic knowledge of sewing, you can update the look of your RV for far less than hiring an upholsterer. The original upholstery pieces will serve as your pattern, so that your finished work should fit nicely. Show off your workmanship and save money while bringing new life to your RV.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Digital camera (optional)
  • Marking pen/pencil
  • Seam ripper
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Staple gun (optional)
  • Upholstery thread
  • Heavy-duty sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Take the dinette cushions or upholstered furniture out of the RV and into a large workspace. You may want to take photos of the furniture in its original location so that reinstalling it is easier.

  2. 2

    Remove the old fabric from the piece of furniture. If it is a cushion with a zipper, unzip it and remove the pillow foam from the cushion upholstery. Often RV dinette cushions do not have a zipper. In this case, carefully use the seam ripper to open a seam to remove the cushion foam.

  3. 3

    Using a staple remover, pry any old staples out of the wood and take the fabric off of upholstered furniture, such as the sofa, captain's chairs, and window valances.

  4. 4

    Take apart the upholstery piece by removing the seams with the seam ripper. Do not tear or cut the fabric, since these pieces will function as your pattern pieces for the new upholstery.

  5. 5

    Write on the inside of the old upholstery with the marking pen as you take the pieces apart, so that you can tell which fabric pieces belong with which pieces of furniture and how they go together.

  6. 6

    Cut out the new fabric pieces using the old upholstery as pattern pieces. You may want to mark the new fabric as you cut it out, so that you can identify the pieces easier. If you decide to do this, make sure to write only within the seam allowance of the new fabric piece, so that any marker bleeding will not show.

  7. 7

    Pin and sew the new upholstery pieces together, just as the old upholstery was sewn. Insert a zipper if the original piece had a zipper. If you carefully removed the zipper from the original fabric, you may be able to reuse it in the new upholstery.

  8. 8

    Place the upholstery back on the furniture piece. For cushions with no zipper, sew any remaining seams closed.

  9. 9

    Staple the upholstery to items such as captain's chairs and valances, if the original fabric was also stapled on. Place one staple on opposite sides of the upholstery piece first, pulling the fabric taut to keep it from wrinkling. Once the first 4 staples are placed, one on each side of the upholstery, go around the perimeter to secure the other edges. Staples should be placed about 1 inch from the edge of the furniture, and spaced 1 to 2 inches apart.

  10. 10

    Reinstall all pieces to their original positions in the RV.

Tips and warnings

  • You can estimate the amount of upholstery fabric you'll need once you take the original upholstery pieces apart and measure them.
  • As you go through the removal of the old fabric from the furniture pieces, take plenty of digital photos. These pictures can help remind you of useful details as your upholster with the new fabric.
  • If you're using a fabric with a design, make sure that all the pieces are turned the right way before cutting them out.
  • Remove staples carefully, to avoid hand injuries.

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