How to upholster a dining room chair with a curved back

Updated November 21, 2016

Upholstered chairs can add charm and style to your dining room space. While upholstering your own furniture at home might seem like a daunting task, it is actually a project that is relatively simple to complete. As an added bonus, upholstering furniture on your own often costs a fraction of the cost of buying furniture new or having it professionally upholstered. Chairs with curved backs provide only a slight challenge to ordinary upholstery work.

Choose a fabric for your chair backs. Because your chairs will be in constant risk of contact with food, it is important to pick a durable fabric that is somewhat stain- and water-resistant, or at least easy to clean.

Remove the cushion from the back of the chair and set it aside. In most cases the cushion can be taken off the chair by simply removing screws.

Remove existing fabric from the chair's back. Use a screwdriver to pry the staples holding the fabric off or cut away the glued fabric with a sharp razor. Replace damaged or worn cotton batting or upholstery foam as needed.

Drape a piece of muslin cloth over the back of the chair. Trace out the shape of the chair's curve to create a pattern that you can use for cutting your upholstery fabric. Add 2 to 3 inches around your pattern to allow for seam allowance and pull.

Trace around your pattern onto the back of the upholstery fabric. Cut out the shape and position the cut fabric into place over the chair's back. Check for symmetry and fit before continuing.

Pull one side of the fabric over to the underside of the chair's frame. Staple the fabric into place, adding staples every 1 to 2 inches. Continue to pull the fabric down inch by inch to carefully account for the curve of the chair back's design. In especially curved areas, you may need to fold over the fabric slightly, or cut short slits to help the material to lay flat.

Add decorative detailing as desired to hide seams. This can be added with a hot glue gun. Simply add a bead of glue to your desired area and press your decorative detailing in place. Allow the glue to dry fully before scraping away any excess.

Replace the cushion onto the chair by drilling the reserved screws into place.

Remove the cushion from the seat of the chair. Turn the chair upside down to remove the screws holding the cushion in place. Reserve the screws.

Repair the seat cushion as needed. For example, you can add more upholstery foam or cotton batting. If the chair features springs that have lost their tension, the springs can be tightened back to their original vitality by tying a piece of jute twine to the spring, pulling it taut and tying it directly to the chair's frame.

Place the cushion face down on a piece of upholstery fabric. Tightly pull the fabric to the underside of the cushion and staple it in place every 1 to 2 inches. Cut off excess material, leaving approximately 1 inch around the staples to allow for pull.

Place the seat cushion back on the dining room chair by screwing the cushion back into the frame with your reserved screws.


If the chair's cushions are not removable, you can make a slipcover that slides over the top of the chair.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Screwdriver
  • Upholstery foam
  • Cotton batting
  • Staple gun
  • Razor
  • Scissors
  • Decorative piping
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.