The next step in my extreme rattan chair makeover is the upholstery. Time to give your tushie a new cushy!

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat:

I removed the seat from the chair before I started any of the paint stripping and painting. Removing the seat on a cushioned chair is really simple. Flip your chair over, look for four holes where the mounting screws are located (see red arrows below.)

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat

Tools You Will Need:

Cordless Drill or Phillips head screwdriver
Flat head screwdriver
Needle-nosed pliers
New Foam Cushion (if your foam is in bad shape)
Sharpie Marker
Staple gun w/ staples (I used 5/16″ staples)

Grab a screwdriver or cordless drill with a phillips head attachment and unscrew the mounting screws. Be sure to save the screws as you will need them to re-attach the seat later.

If the fabric on your cushion is in good shape and you are using a fabric that is thick enough to cover the old fabric, you can leave the seat intact. In my case, the fabric was very old and stained. Not exactly something I wanted to be sitting on….ewwww!

So, I began the demolition phase of this makeover.

Grab a flat head screwdriver and needle-nose pliers. Wiggle the screwdriver underneath the staples and then use the pliers to pull them out.

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat
Once the fabric has been removed and all the loose staples have been pulled, take a look at your foam cushion. If it is stained, crumbling, or smelly, you will want to replace it with new foam. Luckily the foam seat was still in good condition and no stains or odors, so I kept it.
I laid my fabric on top of the seat and played with the pattern until I liked the layout on my chair. Then I took my sharpie pen and drew an outline about 3 inches out from the edge of the seat.

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat

Next, pull out your new batting. I like my seats to be nice and cushy, so I chose two layers of batting.


Next, I laid out my fabric, then the two layers of batting and finally the seat. Make sure that the batting will wrap around to the underside of your seat. Then cut your batting. Usually my batting is about an inch smaller than the fabric on all sides.

Now it is time to get your staple gun and hammer. Start by pulling your fabric up and wrap it over onto the bottom of the seat. Use your staple gun to put in one staple. Hammer in the staple if it is sticking up.

Next you will pull the fabric across from your first staple and affix that side. Repeat this step as shown below:
Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat
Now you can finish stapling the sides and hammering the raised staples. Leave about an inch to two inches from the corners. Pinch the corner fabric together as shown at the left. Then neatly fold it over onto the seat and staple a few staples to secure it.
Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat

Voila! You are done with the seat. Go ahead and set it on your chair and admire your work.

Be sure to join me here as I add the back and the finishing touches!


6 replies
  1. how to reupholster a chair
    how to reupholster a chair says:

    You’ve mastered the art of chair restoration. If the client doesn’t ask, do you
    promise something anyway or just let the work go to the bottom of the pile.
    When the furniture regains its original look,
     you will be happy with the decision to turn something old into something new again.

  2. Writeon
    Writeon says:

    Your tutorials are great! I love the spray paint image showing where to start and stop and how you start stapling your chair! Thanks for the extra effort! What is the name of te fabric you're using for the chair? I LOVE it!

  3. Alanamous
    Alanamous says:

    I was not so lucky with my old chairs and the wood seat was in pretty bad shape. However, it was quite easy to cut new seats by using the old as a template. If I didn't have any seat at all, I would have just laid a piece of tracing paper over the missing seat of the chair, secured it with masking tape and used a pencil to rub an outline of outside edge of the chair where the seat will be placed. I then use my template to transfer an outline onto fiberboard. Lastly, I use a jigsaw to cut a new seat out of fiberboard by slowly and closely following my pencil mark.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the very beginning of this blog I showed you how to reupholser a yard sale chair. Almost four years has passed and I learned a lot since then. I hope this tutorial will be more […]

  2. […] This old chair, picked up for $5 at a garage sale, has been stripped back, primed, painted and re-upholstered. Read the full story here. […]

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