How to recover a leather chair

Updated April 17, 2017

Leather chairs are not only easy to keep clean they are also very durable and can last many years if they are cared for properly. However, eventually there will come a time when the leather will need to be replaced due to damage, age, or excess use. Recovering a leather chair can be costly if you have to hire a professional to do the work. A less expensive option is to recover the chair yourself. Keep in mind, though, that recovering a leather chair is not an easy task and it will require a great deal of patience.

Choose the fabric that you would like to use to recover the leather chair by visiting a fabric or upholstery store and browsing through the available upholstery fabrics. Keep in mind the colour of any other furniture in the room where the chair will be located and try to match the fabric with those colours.

Use a needle nose pliers to remove all of the staples and tacks from the underside of the leather fabric on the chair. Gently pull the leather fabric away from the chair frame while being careful not to tear it.

Spread out your new fabric on top of a solid surface and lay the old leather fabric pieces out over the top of it. Trace the shapes of the old fabric onto the new fabric using a fabric pen to form new templates. Use a scissors to cut out your new templates, leaving approximately three inches of overhang around the whole template.

Layout your cotton batting over the bare frame of your chair while concentrating on the back, seat, and arms of the chair. Staple the cotton backing to the frame of the chair by using a staple gun.

Recover the back of the chair by draping the new fabric over the back portion of the chair and tucking it down into the sides and through the back of the chair. Staple the new fabric to the top back of the chair frame using the staple gun. Pull the fabric up from the bottom of the chair towards the top upper bar of the chair's frame and staple it in place. Staple the fabric to the sides of the frame by pulling them tightly and using the staple gun.

Recover the seat of the chair by draping your fabric over it and pulling the extra portion through the frame to the underside of the seat. Pull the fabric tight and attach it to the seat frame by stapling it to the underside of the frame. Pull the sides tight and staple them to the underside of the frame also using the staple gun.

Recover the arms of the chair by laying the fabric templates over the arm frame and pulling the fabric tightly on both sides of the arm. Staple the fabric to the frame on the underside of the chair arm, using the staple gun.


Thicker fabrics such as leather and suede are more difficult to work with than thinner more flexible fabrics.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Fabric
  • Fabric pen
  • Scissors
  • Cotton batting
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
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About the Author

Shannon Moudry has been a writer for over 15 years. She has written online content for Text Broker, Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.