Upholstery Instructions for Dining Room Chair Seats

The fabric on dining room chair seats does not last forever. However, damaged chair seats or chairs with unattractive fabric can get a new life with a little work. The process of upholstering a dining room chair seat requires few supplies and no sewing skills. Choose upholstery that is durable, yet flexible to increase the ease of upholstering the seats. Take the time to inspect the chair frame after removing the seat pad. Repair or paint the wood before putting the new seat pad on.

Remove all screws from underneath the chair frame and pull the seat pad off. Set the screws aside to attach the upholstered seat.

Lay the upholstery fabric with the right side down and set the chair seat face down on top. Trace around the seat with a fabric chalk pencil. Add 3 inches around the tracing and cut out the fabric piece.

Remove the upholstery and padding by pulling out the staples from underneath each seat. Inspect the padding to see verify the condition and whether it is reusable.

Place the upholstery fabric on a flat surface with the right side down. Lay the padding on top of the fabric. Set the chair seat on top of the padding.

Grab the fabric sticking out of the front edge of the chair seat and pull it to the backside and staple to hold in place. Repeat with the rear edge of the chair seat. Do not staple the corners.

Flip the chair seat over and adjust the fabric so there are no puckers and it lays smooth. Pull the fabric on one side of the seat and hold in place with your hand. Flip the seat over and staple the fabric in place. Repeat on the other side. Do not staple the corners.

Secure the corners by pulling the fabric on one side of the corner and stapling it in place. Fold the opposite side of the corner to create a smooth edge and staple to hold in place. Repeat this process on all four corners.

Cut excess fabric from the underside of the chair seat. Place the seat on the chair frame and use the screws to hold it in place.


Use a ½- or 1-inch thick polyester batting for the chair padding if the current pad is not usable. Test the upholstery project using muslin if you want to practice the process before cutting expensive upholstery fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Chalk fabric marker
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Polyester batting or foam pad, optional
  • Muslin, optional
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About the Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.