How to Upholster a Drop-In Chair Seat

Updated February 21, 2017

Upholstering a drop-in chair seat is one of the fastest and most uncomplicated upholstery jobs you can do. If you want to attempt larger upholstering projects, but are unsure of your skill level, start with this project since it does not require meticulous measuring or fitting. Using only a few tools, which you may already have at home, you can give any chair with a drop-in seat a new look.

Turn the chair upside-down to remove the seat. Tap on the bottom of the drop-in chair seat, if necessary, to pop it out.

Remove all staples, tacks and upholstery fabric from the seat using a flathead screwdriver or staple remover.

Cut a piece of 1- to 2-inch-thick foam to fit the top of the drop-in seat. Use an electric knife if you find cutting the foam with scissors too difficult.

Lay your new upholstery fabric, exterior-side-down, on a large work surface. Place the cut foam on top of the fabric. Set the drop-in chair seat upside-down on top of the foam.

Cut the upholstery fabric around the chair seat, leaving 6 extra inches around the seat to allow for pulling the fabric and fastening it to the bottom of the seat.

Start on one side of the chair and pull the middle of the fabric up and over to the bottom of the drop-in chair seat. Use the staple gun to attach in place.

Work from the opposite side and pull the middle of the fabric up and over. Repeat for the two remaining sides.

Staple down the remainder of the fabric starting at the middle of each section and working out toward the corners, pulling tightly as you go.

Fold the upholstery fabric at the corners to make a finished edge. Use three to four staples to hold each area corner fabric in place.

Trim any excess fabric using the scissors.

Replace the drop in seat into the chair. Sit on it heavily to make the corners fit tightly.


Use a heavyweight upholstery fabric when upholstering drop-in chair seats. Seats take a lot of abuse and the heavier fabric can withstand wear and tear more than a lighter weight fabric can. If you want to upholster a drop-in chair seat with plaid fabric, use a little extra to allow for fitting the fabric in straight lines. Some drop-in seats attach to the chair with screws. Use the screwdriver to remove the seat and replace it at the end of the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver or staple remover
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Foam
  • Electric knife (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun with staples
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