How to Upholster Dining Chairs

Updated February 21, 2017

The dining room chairs tend to take a lot of abuse, especially if they have upholstery on them and if you have small children. You can completely change the look of your dining room by putting some new upholstery on those chairs. Normally, dining room chairs have upholstery fabric only on the seat, which makes this upholstery job quick and easy. Choosing the design and colour of your new upholstery fabric may be the hardest part of the project.

Remove the chair seat from your dining room chair. Flip the chair over or carefully use a flathead screwdriver to help you if necessary. Be careful not to damage the wood while using the screwdriver.

Remove any damaged or dirty upholstery and foam from the chair seat. Use the flathead screwdriver to help you pull up any staples that fasten the fabric to the chair. Use pliers if necessary to yank any tight spots and also to avoid getting staples in your hands when grasping the fabric.

Cut a piece of foam using an electric knife to the dimensions of your chair seat. Use the old foam as a template if desired.

Lay out your upholstery fabric on a large, flat surface with the back side up. Place the foam and then the chair seat on top of the upholstery.

Use the chair seat as a guide to cut the upholstery fabric. Cut the upholstery fabric around the chair seat, leaving an extra allowance of about 6 inches on all sides.

Start in the middle of one side of the dining room chair and pull the fabric up and over to the underside of the chair seat. Staple the fabric in place. Repeat with the other three sides of the chair seat.

Fasten the remainder of the fabric to the underside of your dining room chair seat, working from the middle of each side out to the corners. At the corners, fold the fabric neatly and then staple to the underside of the seat.

Replace and reattach the seat to the dining room chair to complete your upholstery job.


Use medium weight upholstery fabric to cover your dining room chairs. Fabric that is too thin will not hold up, and fabric that is too thick can be difficult to work with, especially when folding in the corners. When purchasing upholstery fabric for dining room chairs, it is a good idea to purchase something that is washable. Even though you will not take the upholstery fabric off the chairs to wash it, this allows you to scrub the chairs with a soft bristle brush and some washing powder for spot cleaning.

Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screw driver
  • Pliers
  • Foam
  • Electric knife
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
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