How to Upholster Chairs!

How to Upholster Chairs - 4 easy steps

If you remember a few weeks ago I shared the French Provincial Table makeover and today I want to share how to Upholster Chairs from that dining table set.  I only had 1 arm-chair for that set, so I did not sell that one with the set and decided to Re-upholster it in a different fabric and sell it on its own. 

How to Upholster Chairs

This post contains affiliate links.  Click here to see my full disclosure policy.  

This is the ugly and OH so STINKY chair before the makeover!  These chairs smelled like cat pee.  So I had to get rid of all the interior of the chair.  I usually replace the insides of all the chairs that I makeover.  Most are very old and I just like to know that they are fresh and new instead of stinky old insides.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

I did save part of the interior of the chair so I could use these pieces as my tracing guide.  The wood base pieces were in great shape, so these will be reused.  I have on occasion had to make new wood base seats due to damage or rotting.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

Step 1:  Tracing and cutting foam core.  

Place the wood base pieces on the 2-inch foam and trace.  These chairs needed a 2-inch foam core, each chair base is different and you will need to make that decision based on the chair.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

The backrest of the chair only needs a 1-inch foam core.  This is where the inside interior from the old chair came in handy.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

Step: 2 Cutting out Batting and Fabric

I always use batting in all my re-upholstery projects.  I like how it grabs both the foam core and the top fabric.  It gives it a smoother feel and finish.  Tip: Iron your fabric before you start to staple.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

Step 3: Stapling fabric to the wood base.

Mr. DD. is my upholstery helper.  Some pieces are more difficult to pull taut and staple at the same time.  He pulls and I staple, we make a great team.  You want to make sure that you pull evenly all around the piece so that you don’t have pinched fabric.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

The corners are the tricky part.  You want to staple all sides down before working on the corners.  As you can see from the picture above, you want to do a pleated fold and staple down.  Trim extra fabric around the edges. 

How to Upholster Chairs-

The top pieces on these chairs were a bit trickier since they are double-sided with fabric.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

The backs of the chairs need to be completed first and then the front is stapled on top.  You want to make sure you are placing the staples evenly and as close to the outside of the wood frame as possible that way the chair frame covers up the staples.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

You can also glue (using fabric glue) a trim piece over the staples to assure that they are all covered.  

Step 4: Assembling your chairs.

How to Upholster Chairs-

I am loving how this one turned out and now I am in search of 2 chairs in this style that I can makeover for this exact space in my house!  

How to Upholster Chairs-

Once I layered the pieces with a few items I knew I needed ones similar to this style in this space.  Of course, my Professional Photo Bomber (aka Cinnamon) thinks so too!  She is saying are you sure you want to take these to the shop?  


I get a few questions of people asking if they can upholster a cane chair and the answer is yes.  Come over so I can share this tutorial on how to Repurpose Wood Cane Chairs.  

How to Upholster Chairs-

I also made over this bench at the same time since I had enough fabric to use on the bench.  The fabric I used is  Timuri Dreamie from the Online Fabric Store.  

How to Upholster Chairs - Before-After

Here are a few other pieces that I completed with this same fabric.  


BeforeAfter Antique Accent chair
Vintage Accent Chair



Fabric top tables
Fabric Top Tables

I love to see the before and after side by side!  Before doing any furniture makeover you must properly prep the furniture. 

Come over to review this FREE workshop on how to properly prep furniture.  





Join the DD Community!

Socialmediabutton 200x200

Join the Designed Decor Community and receive weekly free tips on DIY home projects, painted furniture, decorating, and much more.

Gain Free Access to the DD Community! Powered by ConvertKit

12 Responses to How to Upholster Chairs!

    • Trisha, I placed the back fabric on first using my tack gun and covered the front with the foam and fabric last. My chairs were designed in a way that they had wood dowels on the top and they set in the frame and I screwed them in from the bottom. Each chair design is different so I am not sure on other styles of chairs. I hope this answered your question.

I love to hear your feedback, please leave comments!