How to Cover Chairs With Fabric

Updated July 20, 2017

Covering a dining room, kitchen or bedroom chair is a good way to personalise your furniture and make those hard-bottomed seats more comfortable. You can coordinate the chosen fabric to match bed covers, drapes, throws or cushions using many kinds of leftover fabric.

Cut the foam to the same size as the seat of your chair using a craft knife. An easy way to do this is to place the foam pad on the chair seat and then draw around it from underneath, running a marker pen against the edge of the seat to create a perfectly fitted template.

Put the foam pad in place on the chair seat as the first stuffing. You could secure it with glue to make the rest of the job easier to complete.

Drape the cotton or polyester upholstery wadding across the foam pad, with enough to wrap comfortably underneath the seat. Using wadding for a second stuffing creates a more rounded edge to the padding on your chair seat and softens the often uncomfortable feel of having foam padding directly under the covering material.

Place your chosen fabric on top of this, with the reverse, or wrong side, of the material against the wadding layer. The fabric needs to be the same size as the chair seat, plus four inches wider on each side to allow for covering the sides of the chair base.

Hold the wadding and fabric layers together and fold underneath the chair.

Fix these two layers to the underside of the chair by stapling one point and then stretching the fabric across the seat of the chair to the opposite side and stapling again.

Repeat this process of alternating the stapling and stretching of each side of the fabric until the covering on the chair seat is fully taut.

Turn the chair over and staple upholstery backing on the underside of the chair seat to cover the staples and fabric edges from upholstering the seat.


If your chair has a removable seat, pop it out and staple the fabric and wadding layer to the underside of this rather than to the underside of the chair base. Covering corners can be tricky, but the easiest way to solve any problems is to fold the fabric neatly at each edge for a uniform finish. Upholstery fabric is used for seating as it is more sturdy than other types of non-specific material, but you could also reuse a favourite rug, quilt or unwanted drapes for the same job to save money. If you are also repainting or refinishing the frame of the chair, it's best to do this before you begin the reupholstering task.

Things You'll Need

  • Foam
  • Craft knife
  • Marker pen
  • Cotton or polyester wadding
  • Fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Upholstery backing
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