Thursday, October 16, 2008


I found this disgusting chair on the side of the road across from my house the other day.  I inspected it a little bit, and thought it had a nice look to it and that I may be able to have it reupholstered. After a little research, I found out that it would be at least $400 to have it reupholstered, plus the cost of the fabric. This wasn't the price range I was hoping for, so I decided to tackle the reupholstering myself. 

Now I've recovered furniture a few times in the past, but it always involved using a staple gun to quickly attach fabric to furniture which ultimately results in the fabric pulling, and eventually, coming off. This was not the result I am looking for, so I decided to do a little internet research to figure out how to properly reupholster furniture.

Apparently it involves ripping the old fabric off (I always applied the new fabric on top of the old fabric), reapplying new furniture batting, then cutting pieces of fabric in the shapes of the fabric that you removed and attaching them with furniture tacks or a strong staple gun. 

Here are the pics:


removing its skin: (gross)

Applying new batting to the chair:

Alllllmost done:

Voila! It's actually not totally done, I still have to fix the bottom right pillow area and the fronts of the arms, but you get the idea. I'll try to remember to post pictures when I have it totally completed.

I probably should've waited until tomorrow to post pictures so that I could get a good picture of it in natural light, but I was anxious to post these. It took a long time to remove all the fabric and apply the new fabric, but it was worth it! 


  1. so how much would you charge to do a chair like that for muah?

  2. mmm...for you.....mmm....100? it took a really long time!! :)

  3. as soon as i find a chair i will let you know! maybe we could do the desk while your here. i don't even have it at the house yet. and then maybe while your here we could do a little wwKFDd with your mad decorating skills. just throwing all of that out there for ya. chew on that, let me know.

  4. You make it look so easy! I was thinking about refurbishing my couch, but even a chair looks very time consuming. FYI-I work at ADAC in a upholstery fabric showroom (commercial grade, so there's alot of patterns to choose from) if you ever wanted to take a look around.

  5. Very cool that you work at ADAC... I actually applied for a job at a furniture showroom when I first graduated (spring 06 from Ga State) there, but I can't remember what the name of the company was. It would be really neat to come back and take a look around though, thanks for the offer, I'll keep it in mind for sure! :)

    Oh, and the reupholstering was a pain! haha...but, I think it was worth it in end. The key is to make sure you strip allll of the old fabric off AND to put in new batting. Also make sure that when you reapply new fabric, you keep all of the staples or nails very close together (I learned this when I was removing the old fabric) to keep everything tight and secure. Try out your couch, and let me know how it goes!!

  6. oh, and to michel-- sonuds like an awesome plan to me. i would love to do a little wwkfd do at your casa, it would be fun! i can't find the pic of that desk i was telling you about, but when i do i will scan it in and show was really cute. did i tell you what it looked like? it was like dark brown or black on the outside with a hot pink inside and it was precious. i may even have to find myself a rolltop desk to paint into these colors, too...i'm tired of using the dining room table as my desk anyway...........

  7. Wow! That looks great! I'm thinking about attempting something like this for a glider chair I recently acquired (tan wood with faded smushed dark green cushions; I'm thinking to spray the frame white and reupholster with some large printed fabric a la Amy Butler instead), but everyone tells me I'm crazy. :) What type of instructions were you able to find on the web? I haven't found much of anything. Love your blog, btw! You're amazing.

  8. virginia - do it!! i actually looked up the instructions on youtube...there is a lady on there that does a lot of DIY instructions (i think she was kind of older...) i thought about painting the legs of mine, but then just decided i kind of liked the old beat-up wood in contrast to the more contemporary flower designed fabric i found.

    my best advice is really to just make sure you strip EVERYTHING off the chair before you do it, and use a good quality staple gun and staple very often, like less than an inch apart when you are applying the staples. and make sure to put in new batting.

    i think it's totally worth it in the end, and definitely saves you a pretty penny...i really want to know how people do the little cord on chairs though...i have yet to find how to do that, but i am guessing that it involves sewing, and im not really into that idea!!

    please let me know how it goes if you do it!!! good luck! oh, and sew mama sew is an awesome resource for fabric, incase you haven't ever been on their site!

  9. wow that looks fabulous! i just bought two thrift chairs with amazing lines that i want to have redone - i'm a total diy-er but this looks too hard for me, so i've been sourcing a re-upholsterer. bravo to you!

  10. Hi!
    I've just started dismantling a chair that looks pretty much like yours. Now, I wanted to take all the parts apart so as to more easily remove the fabric. The side panels are screwed into the main frame. I managed to remove the bottom screws, but the top ones (near the headrest) are completely impossible to reach. I was at the point of trying to losen the glued main parts, but then thought better of it and thought i'd do some research on the net and found your blog. So, questions: apparently you did not take apart the chair altogether, but just removed the fabric. How did you do that in those not easy to reach places to remove staples, did you rip the fabric? Is there some trick to remove the fabric without ripping it in the middle (I don't mind ripping at the edges of the fabric).
    You mentionned older projects where you put new fabric ontop of old fabric but that doesn't sound like a durable solution...
    I'd really love to have your feedback as I was already thinking of just applying new onto old fabric.
    Thanks a million for taking the time to respond!

  11. hey sandrine! let's see, i didn't take the chair apart, no, i just ripped and ripped until all the old gross fabric and batting was off (it was stinky - that's the main reason i wanted to get rid of it!)

    you could definitely put the new fabric on top of the old. the most important part, i think, is just making sure that all of the fabric is sturdily applied. tehre are some youtube videos and online tutorials you could google that would probably be helpful!

    good luck!

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