How to Recover a Chair All By Yourself (Mostly)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Remember a few weekends ago when I painted, recovered, and stenciled two of my breakfast room chairs? {See that post here.} Wellllll, even though the fabric I chose was really pretty..... the teal colour just didn't go with anything else in the house. For two weeks I tried to convince myself that the fabric worked perfectly in the room but I just knew that I wanted something a bit more subdued. And striped. ;)

I curse you OCD!

The new twill fabric that I chose was from, you're never going to believe this, a Debbie Travis shower curtain that I bought from Canadian Tire.

Anyway, a few of you mentioned that you'd like a little step-by-step on how I recovered the chairs. So here it is:

How I Recovered a Chair All By Myself (Mostly)

First, I removed the seat of the chair from the frame by removing four screws (from the underside of the seat) with a screwdriver. I made sure to place the screws in a tiny plastic bag for later on. 

Once the cushion/seat was removed I flipped it over and started to remove the staples with some plyers. How hard the staples are to remove will depend on how long they are. Luckily, most of the staples I took out were short little ones that came out with a little tug. However, some of them were long and impossible to get out without manpower (thanks Al). 

I went around the whole seat removing the staples.

After removing the fabric I was able to tell that this was a high-quality seat with a high-quality cushion (um, not quite).

I set the seat/cushion face down on my new fabric (with the wrong side of the fabric facing up). I left about three inches around each side of the seat to fold over and staple. I also made sure to line up the middle stripe of my fabric with the middle of the seat/cushion.

I put my first staple in the centre of the longest side of the cushion. I made sure to pull the fabric realllllly taut.

I added more staples every inch or so on either side, making sure to pull the fabric tight each time, and working my way from the middle of the seat to the outer corners. I made sure to leave a few inches with no staples right at the corners. 

I added another row of staples along the opposite side of the seat/cushion. I started stapling in the middle and worked my way outwards to the corners on this side as well. I pulled the fabric really tight before each staple.

I stapled the other two sides of fabric using the same technique as the other two sides: starting in the middle and working my way out to the corners, pulling the fabric tight and leaving some room at each corner.

For the first corner, I played around with the fabric until I had a fold that left only a few subtle creases. Once I was satisfied I stapled the fabric into place with lots of staples.

I repeated for each corner.

Then I flipped the thing over to make sure the stripes were straight (phew).

Finally, I placed the seat/cushion back on the chair frame and screwed them together using the original four screws.

And then I admired my handiwork.

I love this fabric so much! I just have to remember to scotch guard the seats before I forget and drop a chicken wing on one (mmm, chicken wings).

If I forgot to explain anything let me know!

Sharing at:

The DIY Project Parade @ The DIY Show-Off, Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle, Just Something I Whipped Up @ The Girl Creative, Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch, How-To's Day @ The Lettered Cottage


  1. The chair looks wonderful! Happy Easter.

  2. Love it! Great fabric.

  3. Love your fabric choice!! Hope you had a happy Easter and watch out for those chicken wings!

  4. Great post. I've done this before a long time ago.
    I'm set today to do this to a little chair I have.
    This refresher course was just what I needed!

  5. Very pretty fabric - gives the chair such cottage charm.

  6. Oh Miss Sarah, you just plain rock! You really do girlfriend.

  7. So cute! Great fabric and of course love the numbering :)

  8. Oh good no sewing! Inspiring project and blog.

  9. Thank you so much for replying Sarah. This was really helpful. This weekend my chairs get a makeover :) Will keep you posted. Thanks again.


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