How to Make Easy Chair Covers

Updated November 21, 2016

The entire look and feel of a room can be changed by covering an old or outdated upholstered chair with a new and vibrant piece of fabric. Chair covers can be used to cover chairs of all types, sizes and shapes. Creating a slipcover for a chair can be a simple and rewarding project, taking no more than an hour to complete.

Measure the chair that you would like to cover. Authors Mark Montano and Carly Sommerstein suggest that you start at the back of the chair and measure up and over the seat back, across the seat cushion and down to the floor in the front. They state that you should measure the width of the chair by starting on the floor on one side and going over the seat down to the floor on the other side.

Use the chair's measurements to purchase enough fabric to cover the chair completely. This will allow the fabric to drape easily. Cotton fabrics work well for chair covers. Heavier weighted fabrics do not work well on chairs with lots of contours, but are fine for a square-backed armchair. Iron the decorator fabric that you have chosen for your chair cover to make it flat and smooth.

Remove the chair cushion and place to the side. Drape the fabric evenly over the entire chair. Replace the chair cushion to hold the slipcover in place. You will cover the cushion separately.

Trim the fabric in front of the arms so that it is even with the fabric at the sides of the chair. Decide if you want the slipcover to reach the floor or if you want chair legs to show.

Finish the bottom of the fabric either with decorative trim or with a hem. Use a hot glue gun to attach trim. If you plan to hem the bottom then remove the slipcover and use an iron and ironing board to turn up 1/2 inch around all of the edges. Use iron-on bonding tape to press and close the hems.

Re-drape the fabric slipcover over the chair. Cover the cushion with an additional piece of fabric. Wrap the cushion like a gift and secure the fabric flaps to the bottom of the cushion using safety pins. Place the cushion back on the chair and smooth out the slipcover.


Use a queen-size flat bed sheet to cover an armchair and a twin-size flat bed sheet to cover the cushion for a nice shortcut. Be sure to use high-quality sheets.

Things You'll Need

  • Decorator fabric
  • Cloth or plastic measuring tape
  • Sewing shears
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Safety pins
  • Decorative trim (optional)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (optional)
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