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Reupholstering dining room chairs can be expensive if you take them to a professional. Learn how to update your dining room chairs on your own by re-covering the cushions with a stylish new fabric.


Do you want to update your dining room but lack the budget to buy new furniture? I updated my IKEA table a few years back to recreate a farmhouse table simply by painting the legs and chairs white and adding new wood planks on the tabletop. I left the existing seat cushions as is and recently decided it was time for a change.

Reupholstering can be expensive if you take your chairs to a professional. That’s why I chose to DIY it. Today I will demonstrate how easy and budget-friendly it can be to reupholster dining room chairs and update your style with a new fabric.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Remove seat cushions.
  2. Paint chairs (this step is optional).
  3. Measure and cut fabric.
  4. Wrap fabric around seat cushions and staple to the bottom.
  5. Trim excess fabric.
  6. Reattach cushions to your chairs.

Updating my existing chairs this way cost me less than $50. Not too shabby, right? Read on to see exactly how I did it and how you too can update your dining room this summer.

Dining Room Chair Reupholstry Tutorial

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

supplies to reupholster dining room chairs valspar paint scotchgaurd fabric
  • Upholstered chairs
  • Your choice of fabric for seat cushions
  • Scotchgard
  • Fabric scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Screwdriver
  • Spray paint for chairs (optional)
  • Sandpaper (if painting)
  • Plastic drop cloth

*Remember to use caution, eye protection and extreme care when using power tools. I also use a respirator mask and gloves when spray painting.

before and after reupholster dining room chairs new fabric

Step 1:  Prepare Your Existing Chairs

As you can see my dining room chairs were showing signs of wear and tear since my last update three years ago. I felt it was time to change things up a bit. I also wanted to add a pop of color to my dining room.

remove seat cushions chair hardware to reupholster

If you plan to spray paint your chairs, I would recommend prepping the chairs by sanding the corners and imperfections of the wood. Then you will want to wipe off the chairs and allow them to dry fully.

Remove the seat cushion from the chair frame (there’s usually a couple of screws on the bottom side of the seat). You will also want to remove the original fabric from the cushion.

Tip: Place the screws and hardware in a Ziploc bag to ensure they stay together.

Step 2: Give Your Chairs a New Coat of Paint

valspar spray paint white dining room chair refinish

Refresh your existing chairs by spray painting with a color of your choice. I chose white because it went with my current dining room set. But one could definitely have fun with various colors!

I also hand painted last time and personally felt that the spray paint had a better finish and took WAY less time. This is a big plus in my book!

Step 3: Measure Your Fabric

measuring tape red scissors fabric measure and cut fabric

You will want to measure your chairs before shopping for fabric. My chairs were 17×19 inches and I allowed for three additional inches on each side to ensure it would be covered properly. My final dimensions for each cushion was 25×25 inches.

I chose a regular fabric instead of an “upholstery” fabric because it was $20 less per yard. If you choose this route just be sure to pick up some Scotchgard! Spray the fabric pieces with Scotchgard and allowed to dry before placing it on the cushions.

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Step 4: Cut Your Fabric

cut fabric seat cushion

Turn the seat cushion-side down on the interior of the fabric. Measure 3 inches out from the edge of the cushion around the entire cushion and cut the fabric.

Tip: When selecting a new fabric, be sure to choose one that coordinates with your lifestyle (white probably will not work with little children or in a high traffic area). You will also want to consider choosing fabric that coordinates with the rest of the decor in your dining area.

staple fabric to seat cushion staple gun

Step 5: Staple Fabric to the Cushion

Attach the fabric to the cushion using a staple gun. Begin by stapling the fabric to the frame at the center point of each side, and then at each corner, pulling the fabric tautly as you go.

After the sides and corners are stapled in place, continue securing the fabric until you have completed the full seat. Pull the fabric tightly around the curved corners to eliminate tucks on the top side of the cushion.

It should look something like this:

rough cut edges reupholstered dining room seat cushion

Tip: If using a patterned fabric, be sure to position the design on the seat cushion appropriately.

trim excess fabric under seat cushion red scissors blue pattern fabric

Step 6: Trim the Excess Fabric

Using your fabric scissors, trim the excess fabric along the outer edge of the staple line. You will want to leave a little excess.

Step 7: Reattach the Seat Cushions to the Chairs

new upholstery under dining room chair seat cushion

After each seat cushion is covered with its new fabric, reattach them to the chair frame using the original hardware.

The Finished Product

reupholstered dining room chairs red white blue flower pattern

I love how fresh and clean my chairs look. The pop of color is the perfect restyle my dining room needed. And I just might use the fabric scraps to make a matching banner!

I hope this encourages you to reupholster dining room chairs on your own. And if you do, share your restyles with us on social media by using the hashtag #LifeStorageDIY for a chance to be featured!

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About the Author

Laura Destro

Laura Destro is a lifestyle photographer who loves to make DIY decor and holiday crafts. She is also known for her DIY Outdoor Sink, Holiday Mantels and seasonal craft ideas she shares on both her blog and Instagram @destrophoto.

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