Before & After: Quick Chair Upholstery

Chair with brown upholstery
The Before Shot

I wanted a chair to put next to the back door in my mud room/laundry room/entry way if I needed to set something down or take off my shoes. This chair was my great-grandmother’s, a vanity chair that is part of a bedroom set. It has been up in the guest bedroom doing duty as a bedside table, and it’s just the chair I’ve been wanting for the mud room.

I put that brown upholstery fabric on five or six years ago, and it’s worn and too drab. I just wanted to do a quick and dirty upholstery job.

Chair seat removed
Chair seat removed

First things first, I removed the screws to take the chair seat off. This chair seat is a good example of why perfectionism isn’t always necessary. My previous upholstery job wasn’t that great. Two of the four screws holding the seat on were missing, and many of the staples holding the fabric on had loosened. It still looked fine and held together. Imperfection works!

Normally, you would use poly batting for upholstery, but when I did the first job I just used what I had around, which was Warm and Natural quilt batting. I put a layer of muslin over it to protect the batting, and it made this job really easy.

Stapling the finish fabric
Stapling the finished fabric

Here you can see most of the stapling of the new fabric. The print is random, so I lined the grain of the canvas up with the front edge of the seat. The fabric is a vintage paisley canvas from an auction years ago.

Fabric folded over the corner
The corners are the hardest part

Turning the corner properly is the hardest part, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Cut away any excess to make it easier to fold.

The chair upside down on a table to reattach the seat
Reattaching the seat

To make reattaching the seat easier, put the chair upside down on a table.

Chair with new Pink Seat
Chair with the Finished Fabric

Here’s the finished product!

Chair in the mudroom
Finished chair in the mud room

And here is the chair in the room. I still have a few things to do, including finishing the baseboards, so watch for upcoming posts on this room.

For a really detailed explanation of chair seat upholstery, see this excellent guide from one of my favorite blogs, Design Sponge. The tool list given may seem a bit intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. I only needed a flat and a phillips screwdriver, staple gun, scissors, and water bottle (to keep a cat off my project!).


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