How to Cover Dining Room Seats

Written by jennifer harshman
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How to Cover Dining Room Seats
Seats on dining room chairs can be recovered. (chair image by terex from

Dining room chairs are expensive to replace, so why not keep the ones you have and experience a change at the same time? Recovering dining room seats can be done with a few minutes of time and a few yards of fabric. Whether you want to reupholster your covers, or you want covers that can be changed on a whim, there are options for both.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver or Allen wrench
  • Fabric, preshrunk and pretreated with stain protectant, approximately 1/2 yard per chair
  • Fabric tape measure
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Upholstery foam or batting (optional)
  • Hook-and-loop tape, 4 feet per chair (only if choosing option two)
  • Sewing machine and thread (only if choosing option two)
  • Iron (only if choosing option two)

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  1. 1

    Remove the seat from the chair using a screwdriver or Allen wrench. If possible, leave the existing upholstery or vinyl cover in place. This prevents upholstery foam from crumbling and needing to be replaced. If there are large tears or holes in the material, proceed to remove the existing covering, and if necessary, remove and replace the foam underneath the outer covering.

  2. 2

    Cut fabric to size, so it will cover the seat, wrap around the edge of the seat, and extend about 1 inch beyond the edge onto the bottom side of the seat, without stretching.

    How to Cover Dining Room Seats
    Fabric for recovering chairs should be washable. (Fabric image by cacheman from
  3. 3

    Spread the new seat covering on a flat surface and centre the seat on it, with the foam side down and the bottom of the seat facing up. Wrap one edge of the material up over the board, and place a staple at the centre of that side of the material. Work from the centre outward, and place staples every 2 inches, smoothing the material as you go.

  4. 4

    Smooth and pull the material on the opposite side to make the cushion look the way you want it to look. Staple it at the centre, then work toward the corners, stapling every 2 inches. Leave the corners loose for the moment.

    How to Cover Dining Room Seats
    Staple upholstery fabric in place (heavy duty stapler image by Christopher Dodge from
  5. 5

    Turn the seat and staple the upholstery material to the remaining sides in the same manner as before. Turn down the triangular points that will form at the corners of the fabric and place a staple in each to secure.

  6. 6

    Turn the seat upright, examine it for any imperfections and fix them now if needed. Reinstall the seat in the chair by pressing the seat into place and using a screwdriver or Allen wrench to replace the screws. Seat the screws firmly, but don't strip them. Repeat the entire process for each dining room chair.

  1. 1

    Remove the chair seat. Glue hook-and-loop tape to the bottom of the chair seat and allow the glue to cure. If you don't want to have to remove the seat to change the seat cover, make the covers large enough to wrap around the frame of the seat and glue the hook and loop tape to the inside of the boards on which the seat rests.

    How to Cover Dining Room Seats
    Hook-and-loop tape makes changing covers easy. (Velcro image by Fuzzphoto from
  2. 2

    Cut the fabric to size, so it will cover the seat, wrap around the edges and onto the bottom of the seat, extending 2 inches onto the bottom of the seat on all four sides.

  3. 3

    Hem all four edges of the fabric with a 1/2-inch hem to prevent fraying. Simply fold over the edge of the fabric and press with your hands or an iron to make a crease. Place on the sewing machine and make one row of medium-length straight stitches down the length of the piece of material. Repeat on each side.

  4. 4

    Attach the matching part of the hook-and-loop tape to the hems of the covers by sewing them on or using washable fabric glue. If using glue, allow it to cure according to container directions before proceeding. If sewing on the strips, oversew on the ends, sewing back and forth to make the ends very strong.

  5. 5

    Install the dining seat cover, smoothing the fabric across the seat and pressing together the corresponding pieces of hook-and-loop tape. When the cover needs to be washed, or when you desire a change, carefully pull the cover from the chair and replace as desired. Make a cover for each chair, and make them in as many different fabrics as you wish.

Tips and warnings

  • Use materials that can be washed, or at least wiped clean.
  • The first seat should take the longest; subsequent chairs go faster.
  • Sewing on the hook-and-loop tape provides more strength, but gluing it might be easier for some.
  • Leave one part of the hook-and-loop tape longer than the other if you'd like to leave a tab to grasp and pull when removing the cover.
  • You can use both options if desired--recover the seat with a permanent new cover, and install hook-and-loop tape on the underside of the chair for changeable covers.
  • Do not iron vinyl or other materials that could melt.
  • Fabric needs to be preshrunk, so if it isn't already, wash, dry and press it before beginning this project.
  • Take care not to stretch the material during installation. It could rip from the staples during use.

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