How to Reupholster a Leather Chair

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather chairs add a touch of warm elegance to any room. Don't retire your cracked or damaged leather chair to the furniture graveyard just yet. Simply by reupholstering that cosy leather chair, you will be bringing it back to life. Since most leather chairs come on sturdy frames, you can keep the chair instead of spending money on another one by replacing the damaged fabric with new leather.

Pull out any staples or upholstery tacks attached to the leather chair with a pair of needle-nose pliers. Carefully remove the leather fabric cover from the chair. Do not damage or cut the old leather fabric, since you are using it to cut the new fabric.

Remove the old fabric batting from arms, cushions and chair back, referring to the drawn diagram for exact locations. Secure batting with staples and a rubber mallet in the same positions as the old batting.

Draw a mock diagram of the leather chair on a piece of paper with a pencil. Mark on the diagram where each fabric piece, staples and tacks are located as you remove them.

Lay the new leather fabric flat out on the floor or large work table. Place the old leather fabric on top of the new leather fabric. Use sharp scissors to cut the new fabric, using the old leather as a template, and leaving an extra 3 inches on all sides of the outline for overhang.

Place the new leather fabric over the chair's back, tucking the fabric into all of the chair sides. Tuck the new fabric until it is tight. Use the staple gun to staple the fabric to the chair's wooden frames in the same locations as the old staples from your diagram.

Cover the seat of the chair with the new fabric. Tuck the fabric into the bottom of the chair seat until tight. Refer to the diagram for old staple locations. Use the staple gun to attach the fabric in its original locations.

Drape the new fabric over both arms. Bring 1/3 of the fabric part closest to the back of the chair forward and fold. Pull both sides of the arm fabric tight. Use the staple gun to staple each side of the arm fabric to the frame of the chair. Cut a slit in the centre of the fabric folds and wrap the fabric ends around both arms.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Upholstery tacks
  • Leather upholstery fabric
  • Rubber mallet
  • Staples
  • Strong staple gun
  • Batting
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Rachel Turner has been writing professionally since 2000, focusing on gardening and home improvement topics. Her articles have appeared online at SlowTravel and in publications such as the "Arkansas Gardeners," "One Step Ahead" and "Writers Now." Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.