Guide: How To Upholster A Chair Step By Step?

How to upholster a chair? Reupholstering chairs is a process that involves the replacement of the upholstery on a chair. This can be done for various reasons, including to improve the chair’s appearance or repair damage to the upholstery.

It is also often done as part of a restoration project to return an older chair to its former glory.

Many different techniques and materials can be used for upholstering chairs, so it is important to choose the right ones for the job.

What is upholstering and How it started?

Upholstering provides furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing, and fabric or leather covers. The word “upholstery” comes from the Middle English word upholder, which referred to a tradesman who held up his goods.

Upholstery is one of the oldest crafts in existence, dating back to ancient Egypt when pharaohs had their thrones and other seats upholstered in gold and jewels.

In Europe during the Middle Ages, upholsterers were among the most skilled craftsmen working in castles and palaces, where they created lavish furnishings for royalty and nobility.

By the Renaissance period, upholstery had become an extremely important trade with its guilds and shops in major cities across Europe.

During the 18th century, upholstered furniture became increasingly popular among the middle and upper classes in Europe and North America.

And by the late 19th century, mass production techniques and the use of new materials such as curled hair, horsehair, coconut fiber, and kapok made upholstered furniture more affordable for everyone.

Today, upholstery is still an important part of the furniture industry worldwide, with a wide variety of styles and materials used to create everything from sofas and chairs to ottomans and headboards.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional piece or something more modern, there’s an upholstered piece of furniture to suit your needs.

Types of chairs that can be upholstered

Different types of chairs can be upholstered, depending on the style and materials used. Some common types of chairs that can be upholstered include:

Living room chairs, Office chairs, Bedroom chairs, Outdoor chairs, Dining chair

Each type of chair will have different requirements for materials and construction, so it’s important to consult with a professional before beginning your project. 

Depending on the chair, you may need to remove the old fabric and padding, or you may be able to simply clean and prepare the surface for new fabric.

You will also need to select the appropriate type of fabric and padding for your project.  Once you have gathered all of your supplies, you can begin upholstering your chair!

How To Upholster A Chair?

1. measure a chair for required to upholster a chair?


Measuring chair upholstery area seems like a little thing to do, but it is the one of the most important part of upholstering and avoid wastage of resources.

This process may vary on backrest of chair to chair, use below technique to find out how much upholstery is required, It depends on size of upholstery area and thickness of foam which comes in between of two layers.

No matter, you either need to upholster on elliptical area or rectangular, you need to buy cloth which covers the whole area ones.

Remember upholstery cloth should be bigger horizontally and vertically at least 3-5 inches, just to play it safe.

For example, if the horizontal furthest points measure 20 inches, then cloth should be 23 inches in horizontal size and same for vertical size. After that, multiply measurements with 2 to cover both sides

There is still third dimension which is based on the width of foam, used as sandwich between two upholstery fabric layers. If you are using foam with thickness of 4 inches.

Then overall horizontal size of cloth would be 23×2= (46 inches) both layers + (4.5 inches) width. This is horizontal dimension and vertical dimension would depend upon (measurement of two furthest point vertically+ 3 inches) as mentioned above.

In case of seat upholstery this is bit different, if your seat size is 22 by 14 inches and width of padding is 4. Then add 10 inches on all sides 32 by 24 to attach it with board beneath.

2. How to choose the right upholstery fabric and Padding

Quality Materials

When reupholstering a chair, you will need to choose the right upholstery and material from fabric store. The type of fabric you choose will depend on the style of the chair, as well as your personal preference.

For example, if you have a vintage chair, you may want to choose a fabric that is similar to the original upholstery. If you are reupholstering a modern chair, you can be more creative with your fabric choice.

There are many different types of fabrics to choose from, including cotton, linen, wool, and velvet. You will also need to decide if you want patterned or solid fabric.


Once you have chosen the fabric, you will need to purchase enough to cover the entire chair. In addition to fabric, you will also need padding and batting. The type of padding you choose will depend on the type of fabric you are using.

Unlike padding should be cut to exact size of upholstery area, like if it is elliptical then you need you carve it exact size of that elliptical.

For example, use lightweight padding for a light fabric and heavyweight padding for a heavy one.

The padding is also an important consideration. You will need to make sure that the seat cushion thick enough to provide comfort, but not so thick that it makes the chair look lumpy.

If you are unsure, you can always ask a professional upholsterer for advice.

3. Preparing the chair for upholstery

The first step is to remove the old fabric and clear chair as if it only wooden area is visible. This can be done by taking off the staples or nails or use flat head screwdriver for screw, that are holding them in place.

Once that done, you will need to inspect the frame of the chair for any damage. If there is any damage, you will need to repair it before proceeding.

4. Upholstering the chair

Once the frame of the chair is inspected and repaired if necessary, you can begin the process of upholstering it.

In case of backrest. the first step is to attach first layer of fabric cloth with staple which is preferred mostly. Make sure It is tight enough that cloth is not likely to produce curvature while experiencing weight in between, unlike spacetime due to gravity.

Cut the excess cloth from sides, place padding and anther cloth layer on it. Slowly staple second layer as first one while keeping padding in between by pushing, like stuffing you know.

For seat you need hard cardboard or wooden frame of chair seating. Place padding on it and then cover fabric cloth and tight borders of cloth and staple them with board or wood beneath side.

You can cover both areas fully, totally depends on your preferences.

5. Finishing Touches

Final touchups

Once the fabric and padding are attached, trim excess fabric by using fine blade for fine finish. Make sure to avoid it from cutting fabric as it will ruin you all effort.

Now that the chair is upholstered, you can add any finishing touches whatever you feel like.

6. Troubleshoot Problems

If you run into any problems while reupholstering your chair, here are a few tips that might help you:

If the fabric or padding is not attaching properly to the frame, try using a different type of fastener. Staples, nails, and tacks all work well, so choose whichever one you are most comfortable with.

If the fabric or padding is not staying in place, try using weights or tape to keep it in place. This will help until you can attach it permanently.

If you are having trouble trimming the excess fabric or padding, try using a rotary cutter or scissors. This will make it easier to get a clean cut.

Use dust cover fabric on the underside of the chair to prolong the life of your upholstery job. This will help protect the fabric and padding from wear and tear

You can use hot glue gun to attach the fabric if you don’t have any other fasteners available. tips will help you successfully reupholster your other fasteners available.

Can I reupholster a chair myself?

The process of upholstering a chair frame can be done yourself, but it does take some time and effort. following these steps should help make the process a little bit easier.

Can you reupholster the chair over the existing fabric?

Yes, you can reupholster the chair over the existing fabric. However, it is a good idea to remove the old fabric and padding before attaching the new fabric and padding.

This will ensure a smooth, seamless finish. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always hire a professional upholsterer to do it for you.

What is the best fabric to upholster a chair with?

There is no definitive answer, as different people have different preferences. However, sewing machine fabrics are more durable than others, and some are easier to work with.

You may want to consider a fabric that is easy to clean, such as vinyl or leather or cotton, and linen which are natural fibers that can be machine-washed.

The Bottom Line

Reupholstering a chair is a relatively simple process, but it does take some time and effort. If you follow these steps, you should be able to do it yourself with no problem.

To reupholster a chair, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. You’ll need to choose the right fabric and padding, and make sure that the frame of the chair is in good condition.

However, if you are not comfortable doing it yourself, you can always hire a professional upholsterer to do it for you.

For More, Checkout Our Guides On;

How To Repaint Cabinets?

How To Make A Gallery Wall?

9 Dining Table Decor Ideas

Leave a Comment