What do you do when you love the shape of your dining room chairs, but they look tired? Well, you can reupholster dining room chairs fairly easily. We did ours last year, planning on staining the chairs and dining room table as an additional update. Stay tuned on the blog as we (finally) finish that project this month! A few years ago, Anthony purchased the dining set from a friend for $250. When I found the Ethan Allen tags on the chairs, I nearly keeled over with excitement.
Our Dining Room Set
You see, Anthony doesn’t know brands. He had no idea the gem he’d purchased. If you walked into Ethan Allen to purchase a dining room table and 6 chairs similar to our set, you’d pay at least $3,000 for the least expensive sets! His original investment at only $250 was a steal!
Now, to the right is a picture of how the chairs USED to look. The stain was almost yellow. The cushions were comfortable but stained and tired. We knew that with a little bit of love, we could bring this set back to life. We chose a fabric for the seats and a stain for the wood. Incidentally, we chose exact opposites of what the set had been before–dark stain and bright fabric. Keep reading for the final result!
How To Re-Upholster Dining Room Chairs
We chose to do the easier project first–the seat cushions. We unscrewed the bolts and detached the seats easily. You can see the old fabric on the original seat here. I know, super exciting right?! That’s precisely why we change it in this tutorial. 🙂
Before doing anything else, measure and cut your fabric to fit over the whole seat cover and overlap onto the bottom. It’s okay if you have too much fabric overlapping, because you can trim it at the end, but if you don’t have enough, you’ll have pull marks or gaps. I always choose to err on the side of caution.
Don’t you just LOVE the fabric we chose? It’s a bright cobalt, so it pops. We really love this style of pattern. We chose a very similar pattern for our headboard, too.
Let’s Get Stapling!
Next, set up the fabric face down and flip your cushion over so you’re looking at the bottom of the cushion. Fold the fabric over on all four sides to make sure you have enough extra fabric on all four sides.You want to start in the center of the front of the seat (the side you’ll see the most of). If you start in the center and work your way outward, you’ll finish with a smoother fabric all around. Go ahead and fold the fabric over and apply the first staple, dead center and on an angle to the edge of the chair. The angle approach actually helps secure it better than stapling it parallel. It catches fibers from different parts of the fabric and you’re less likely to get a tear.
I have to thank my mother here for being the model. I asked her to help me with this project because of her sewing and upholstery experience. I figured if I made a mistake, she would know how to fix it. Luckily, that didn’t happen. 🙂
Anyways, I wanted a smooth and even edge, so I put a staple in the center of the opposite side as well. Either way, next you work out to each corner, leaving staples about an inch apart. Make sure you pull the fabric tight before you staple, but not so tight so the fabric warps. Leave about 1-1 1/2 inches at the corners until all four sides are done. This makes the corners look smoother at the end. You can also do corners as you go, but I found it easier to have the sides of the cushions secured before tackling the corners.
The corners are the most difficult (but still pretty easy) part of this project. I opted for a simple tucked look on our chairs. To recreate this look, you first fold over the corner so it creates a point. Staple to secure.
Then, you fold each side inward and staple them to create this simple tucked look. Cut off any excess fabric that’s going to droop underneath the seat.
Here is the final look of the corners:
And that’s it! The whole project took me less than an hour for 6 identical seat cushions with some help from my mother. It was a really easy project and a lot of fun! I discovered the staple gun is one of my favorite tools!
Overall, this was a very inexpensive project. I already had the scissors, staple gun and staples, but I included them in the list below.
Fabric (3 Yards should be PLENTY for 6 chairs
This is one of the EASIEST upgrades you can do with existing furniture. It helps refresh a tired dining set and add a pop of color to the room. We had a lot of fun choosing fabrics. Ultimately, the fabric we chose was a combination of things we liked about other fabrics. P.S. — I love having a spouse that likes to be involved in these decisions. After all, he has to live with them too!
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I hope you’ve loved this easy DIY tutorial on re-upholstering dining room seats and that you enjoy your project as much as I enjoyed mine! Thanks for stopping by and as always–
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