I recently moved into a new place and have been decorating it piece by piece over the last couple of months. One thing that definitely had to change were my hand-me-down kitchen chairs — they were perfectly nice in my old apartment but just weren’t jiving with my new digs. Well, rather than shell out for something new, $7 of fabric and an hour later my kitchen set has a fresh new look!
Recovering chairs is something that you usually don’t think of when redecorating, but it can be a great way to add some new life to an old piece of furniture. For more complicated upholstery you’ll probably want to leave it to the pros, but if you have some basic chairs with seat and back cushions around it’s a great DIY project. And don’t limit yourself to what’s already there. My mum fixed up her dining room chairs that had worn out wicker weaving in the back by creating cushions from scratch and gluing them in — they look great and have held up for 10 years or so!
Every chair will be different, but there should be a way to remove the seat from your chair — lift it upside down and see how it is held together. The chairs that my mum and I recovered were simply held together by screws so it didn’t take long to take apart.
We simply cut a piece of upholstery fabric out big enough to wrap the seat up, and started stapling it down with a staple gun. You would do this the same way that you’d stretch a canvas, with the middle first and working your way to the corners. For some corners we had to snip the fabric to get around the grooves, but remember that no one will see the underside of the chair so it doesn’t have to be pretty. Just make sure the fabric looks taut on the seat. You may also decide to remove the existing fabric and/or add more batting.
When my mum and I were recovering these cushions, the staple gun petered out after the third one. I ended up stitching the new fabric to the old fabric for my last cushion, but tacks, nails or glue would probably work as well.
As you can see in the picture below, my mum had already recovered these chairs with the green fabric but you can see bits of pink fabric poking out in the corners. It was so crazy to see that fabric again from when I was a kid, like pulling off old pieces of wallpaper!
And that’s all there is to it! Here’s a close up of the fabric we used, just because. I love how the mustard yellow flowers make the colour of the wood pop!