How to Reupholster a Parsons Chair

Updated July 20, 2017

Parsons chairs are very popular and tend to come as part of a dining table and chair set. Whether you want to banish the traditional leather upholstery they usually come with, add matching fabric to colour coordinate with your room or create a style statement by giving each of your dining table chairs a different look, you're in luck, because Parsons chairs are one of the easiest reupholstery projects for beginners or those with little knowledge of the art of recovering furniture. With no fussy arms, skirts, cushions or wings to contend with, reupholstering a Parsons chair can be done in no time at all.

Pull or unstitch existing upholstery fabric from the chair, taking care not to damage the stuffing underneath.

Remove any remaining upholstery tacks or staples that are sticking out with needlenose pliers to avoid cutting yourself or ripping the upholstery fabric later on.

Lay a piece of fabric big enough to cover the front, back and sides of the upright part of the chair over the front of the chair back with the pattern the correct way up. Staple or tack it in place at the join between the back of the chair and its seat.

Stand behind the chair and pull the sides of the fabric around until they are in front of you. Staple or tack them to the chair until the fabric at the front becomes tight and is fully attached along the sides.

Pull the fabric over the top of the chair and create a seam running along each vertical edge of the chair back by folding the left and right hand edges under the fabric.

Staple or tack the upholstery fabric underneath the bottom of the chair nearest to the chair back.

Pull the unattached fabric at the side of the chair so that is it tight by either pushing the folded seam farther in or pulling it further until it is level with the side edges.

Sew along the edge of this folded seam until it is fully attached using cotton that is either clear or coordinated with the fabric.

Lay a piece of fabric on the seat of the chair with the position of the pattern matched to the fabric already in place on the chair's back.

Create a seam at the joining of the chair back and seat by folding fabric under it by around 2 inches.

Lift the rest of the fabric into a horizontal position so that the pattern on the seam fabric is now face down on the joint of the chair.

Staple or tack it in place where it meets the back, making sure it is taut across the line of the seat.

Fold the raised fabric back down. Pull it taut and staple or tack it to the underside of the chair nearest to the front. The fixings at the back of the chair seat will now be hidden.

Fold the fabric above the chair legs so that any excess material is tucked under itself, leaving a crisp edge visible along the bottom of the seat.

Pull the fabric at the sides of the chair base taut and staple or tack at regular intervals underneath the chair to give a crease-free finish to the upholstery.

Things You'll Need

  • Needlenose pliers
  • Upholstery staples or tacks
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Clear or coordinated cotton thread
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