Do It Yourself: Reupholster

Updated July 20, 2017

When learning to reupholster, choose a simple piece of furniture without complex folds, buttons and piping. Select upholstery fabric that is thick in fibres and durable for wear and tear. Remove the old upholstery, but remember where and how it is attached to the furniture's frame. Doing so is key to successfully reupholstering furniture. Beginners should start with reupholstering footstools, benches, bar stools and chairs with cushioned bottoms, since they are the easiest projects.

Choose a piece of furniture. The most simple pieces of furniture to reupholster are bar stools, benches, footstools and chairs with cushioned bottoms.

Select upholstery fabric that matches the colour scheme of the room. Upholstery fabric is thick and durable.

Detach the cushion from the frame if working with footstools, bar stools, benches and seats of chairs. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry it off.

Extract all staples from the back and underneath of the furniture using a staple gun staple remover or a flat head screwdriver. Remove all nails with a hammer.

Remove the old upholstery slowly, keeping the pattern and shape of the fabric intact. Note how and where the old upholstery is fastened to the furniture's frame.

Cut the new upholstery fabric using the original upholstery as a pattern. Cut the fabric about 1 inch larger than the original.

Wrap the fabric around the furniture, covering the cushions. The ends of the fabric should be in back of, or underneath, the furniture's frame. In the case of footstools, bar stools, benches and chair seats, the ends of the fabric should be under the piece of wood -- the foundation of the cushion that was removed from the frame.

Staple the ends of fabric onto the furniture's frame with a staple gun. In the case of footstools, bar stools, benches and chair seats, staple the fabric to the underside of the wooden foundation.

Place the reupholstered cushion back on the furniture's frame when working with footstools, bar stools, benches and chair seats. Turn the furniture upside down. With a hammer, nail the wooden foundation to the frame of the furniture.


A rule of thumb for purchasing fabric: For sofas, buy 1 yard for every foot in length of the sofa, and for foot stools, benches, bar stools and chair seats, buy 2 feet for every foot in length. .


Be sure to sweep the area after removing all the nails and staples from the original upholstery job.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Staple gun staple remover
  • Hammer
  • Fabric scissors
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Staple gun
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Catherine Scruggs began writing professionally in 2011. She has also worked as a college instructor and a psychotherapist. Scruggs holds a Master of Arts in psychology from Columbia University and is working to obtain her doctorate in clinical psychology at Alliant International University.