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The Simplest Do-it-yourself Guide to Reupholster Chairs

Do-it-yourself Guide to Reupholster Chairs
Reupholstering is required either to get rid of old, faded stuff; or to give a new look to your furniture in a comparatively lower cost. Reupholstering a chair can be done at home by following some simple techniques.
Madhura Pandit
Upholstery of any furniture wears out with time. After repeated cleanings, the fabric tends to lose its luster and tends to fade. You may think it is time for you to get rid of the older furniture and buy new one. However, this can be quite an expensive affair. Moreover, certain pieces of antique furniture may hold great sentimental value for you. In that case, you can consider reupholstering, and thereby, giving a completely new and personalized look to old pieces of your furniture.
How to Reupholster a Chair
Here is a simple technique to get new upholstery on your chairs with a minimum of fuss.
Things Required
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Rubber mallet
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Staple gun
  • Wool batting / foam
  • Tailor's chalk
It is advisable not to opt for leather if you are upholstering the chair for the first time, as it is not easy to cut and staple leather. You should use sharp pliers and scissors, and be very careful while handling them. Chairs with springs are difficult to reupholster at home. You can start with a simple dining chair.
  1. The first thing you need to do is remove all the worn-out cushions, fabric, nails, staples and tacks from your old chair using needle nose pliers. Try not to tear the old fabric while taking it out as it will help you to take measurements for the new fabric.
  2. At the same time, you also need to make sure that the frame of the chair is in good shape. If it is equally worn out or cracked, there may not be any use of reupholstering, as the chair will not last long.
  3. Use existing fabric from your chair to measure the new fabric and mark with tailor's chalk. Cut the new fabric along the markings with scissors. Keep at least three inches extra on the sides so that you can wrap it around the edges.
  4. Place the new fabric on the existing cushion, stretch it and wrap it just like you wrap a gift. You can use the staple gun to staple the fabric in place. Make sure the design on the upholstery, if any, is properly placed.
  5. In case you do not wish to use the existing cushion, you can replace the stuffing with woolen batting. Either way, you have to be careful while taking the measurement for the new fabric.
  6. Now, is the time for smoothing the edges. Staple the edges with a staple gun or use the glue meant for sticking fabric. You may need to pleat the fabric for covering the cushion properly. Make sure to seam the edges properly. Keep a check so that the pattern is placed in a right manner, and there are no creases.
  7. Place the cushion on the chair, and use nails and screws to keep it in place. You can use a rubber mallet to hammer in the nails and tacks.
  8. You should follow the same procedure to have the back rest, arms of the chair cushioned (all parts need to be cushioned individually). On completion, you will have a chair that looks brand new!
Advantages of Reupholstering Furniture At Home
Chairs are one of the most frequently used pieces of furniture, and also the first to show signs of wear and tear. As olden furniture was made to last, the chair might be in good condition, save for the upholstery. Reupholstering these chairs will take care of this problem, and will also help in improving the overall decor of your home.
You can have the design, pattern and color of fabric that can complement your room decor. This will save a lot of time that would have been normally spent in researching to get perfectly matching furniture.
Sometimes, the chair is good to use, only the cushion is worn out. In such cases, it is better to reupholster the cushion instead of buying a new chair.
Apart from reupholstering, you can even go a step further and repaint the entire chair. This will make it appear completely new. Make sure that you paint first and then reupholster.
Budget Tips:
Doing this project at home will help in saving a lot of time and money.
The fabric that is used plays an important role in the overall cost of the project. You can cut cost by choosing a simpler fabric. However, make sure that the fabric makes the chair appear new and attractive.
You need not buy the instruments (staple gun, rubber mallet, etc.) required for it; you can borrow / rent them.
Secondly, if the insides of the chair (foam, webbing, burlap) are in a good shape, you can re-use them as mentioned above, to cut cost further.
As you can see, reupholstering chairs is not as difficult as it seems. You just need to know and follow the proper steps. It will be a lot easier if you can manage some help. Once you master this technique, you might want to take that extra step and remodel all your home furniture. Good luck!