Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Upholstering a Wooden Chair

I love Craigslist, it is my go-to when I am looking for a new project. So, as always it pulled through when I was looking for two chairs for our small kitchen table. In fact, it did one better, I found a new table along with the two chairs. Our previous table I picked up off of craigslist and I was going to refinish it to be black, but this new table came as a package with the chairs and was already black! Everything is in good shape, with the exception of the seats on the chairs, they were really scratched up. But, some simple upholstering will solve that problem.

Here is what the chairs looked like before:

Upholstering is one of my favorite things to do, it is so simple and makes a big impact! Here is the how-to:

Materials/Tools Needed:
- Foam (I used two inch foam, but you can use whatever size your bottom side prefers)
- Quilt Batting
- Spray Adhesive
- Fabric of your choice (thicker, upholstering fabric works best)
- Staple gun

Start with a chair that you can remove the seat of the chair from the frame of the chair.

Use the seat as your guide and cut the foam to be about 1/4" larger (on each side) than the seat itself. I'd recommend using an electric kitchen knife to cut the foam, but if you don't have one (I don't!) scissors work ok too.

You can see the edges of my foam are kind of jagged (due to cutting with a scissors) and that is ok :)

Using spray adhesive, spray both the seat of the chair and the foam, and position together.

Once the foam is glued to the seat, flip the seat over foam side down and measure/cut the quilt batting. Make sure there is enough batting to cover the seat; I made the batting about 5 inches larger on each side than the size of the seat. Pull the batting around to the back of the chair and staple in place. I started on one side and just worked my way around. Make sure to pull the batting tight as you go. If you used an electric knife to cut the foam, you can probably skip the batting all together. But since I had jagged edges, the batting helps to smooth it all out.

Taking the same steps as the batting, use the seat as a guide and measure/cut the fabric to size. Again, pull the fabric edges around to the back and staple in place while making sure to pull the fabric tight as you go.

It is as simple as that! Then re-attach the seat to the chair and the chair has a whole new look!

I'm loving the bold geometric pattern on the chair and my bum is loving the extra padding :)


  1. Thanks for posting this! I just bought wooden chairs at a thrift store and I've been searching all over the internet for a how to guide for this. Everything else is how to re-upholster. I needed a step-by-step on how to upholster something that wasn't already upholstered. You showed me that it's possible! thanks! P.S. your chairs look great. :)

  2. I'm glad I could help! :) Good Luck with your chairs!

  3. what about a chair seat that has indented corners on the side that meets the back of the chair?

  4. lauren - i just followed these same steps on a chair similar to what you described (the back of the seat pad has indentations where it meets the legs). it was a little squeeze to put the fabric-covered seat back on, but it worked great!

  5. What about wooden chairs that do not have seats that can come off?

  6. Thank you so much for posting this very useful guide.

  7. Thanks for sharing. I am going to upholster some dining room chairs in June! This guide will help me so much!!

  8. I Have these same chairs. Do you remember how much fabric was needed for each chair? I have 8 chairs and I want to make sure that I purchase enough fabric.

    Thanks for sharing.

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