Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chair Recovery

My sister is getting married in Minnesota in less than two weeks. Since most of my family (my sister included) live out-of-state, that means we're going to have a house full of people in less than a week! Needless to say, Noah and I have been very busy cleaning, doing yard work, and trying to complete some half finished projects before everyone arrives. One thing I just crossed off my list: recovering two of my dining room chairs. 

My dining set belonged to my grandmother, so although I've recovered these chairs a few times already, I've always left the original fabric in place. I love the mid-century style of the pieces, but the harvest gold and avocado green fabric on the seats...not so much.

Before Abe was born, I had the brilliant idea to use iron-on vinyl to make a couple "kid proof" seat cushions for the upholstered chairs. Sad to say, it didn't really work. The vinyl quickly started to crack and peel, and then spills seeped through the cracks to discolor the fabric underneath. 

Yuck. Luckily, I was still able to get another yard of the canvas I had used to cover the other 4 chairs, so this was a relatively quick and easy project to complete. Here's what I did:

1. Measure your seats to determine how much fabric to buy - I used 2/3 yard of 45" wide fabric to cover 2 seats. 

2. Flip the chair over and unscrew the seat from the base.

3. Remove the existing cover by pulling out the staples (it helps to have a flat head screwdriver and pair of pliers to pull out any staples that get stuck), then use the seat (or old cover) as a template for cutting the new seat cover. Be sure to cut the fabric 2 to 3 inches larger than the seat. (I also added a thin layer of batting, mostly to prevent the old fabric from showing through.)

4. Using a staple gun, wrap the fabric around the edges and staple to the back of the seat. If needed, use a hammer to pound in any staples that stick out.

5. Trim excess batting at corners and fold corners over, making the fabric lie as flat as possible.

6. Place the seat on the chair frame and make sure the edges of the fabric are facing in. If they're pointed outward, you'll see raw and raveling edges peeking out under the seat!

7. Screw the seat back in place. The screws I used were sharp enough to go right through my fabric. If you're using a very heavy fabric, or are having trouble getting the screws though, you may want to poke "pilot" holes through the fabric before attaching the seat.

It's so nice to finally have all of our chairs looking clean and pretty. 

Now I understand why my grandma kept all of her furniture covered in plastic. Plastic seat covers may seem crazy, but I tell you, old ladies are geniuses when it comes to keeping furniture clean!


  1. Holy cow those chairs look awesome now. Makes me wish my dining room chairs had fabric seats!

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