We recently snagged these six dining room chairs from craigslist after harboring another set we had great intentions for for way too long. The beauty of these chairs is that we love the condition, the finish of the wood – everything except the fabric on the seats. Luckily, that’s an easy fix, and we’ve done it before quite a few times. Here’s the chair with the “before” seat:
Not too bad, except in reality the shade of the seat is a strange peachy/cream color, and the velvet material was dirty and crusty in spots. We decided to recover them in a bright teal to give some color to our gray dining room. We picked up the home decorator weight fabric at a discount fabric store for $2.99/yd. We actually bought five yards of fabric, but we could have easily gotten away with only half of that (or about $7.50 worth of fabric).
To start, you simply remove the seats from the chair frame. These were held in place with four screws on the corners, so it was an easy removal. Then, we cut the fabric to fit over the seat with about a three inch overhang all around.
Next, we pulled the fabric tight on one side and put a staple right in the middle of the fabric, then added a couple more on that side. Do this all the way around the seat, making sure to pull the fabric tight as you go. It’s sort of like stretching a canvas over a frame or a drumhead, though not necessary to be that tight! We put three staples on each side, avoiding the corners by a good couple inches all the way around.
The corners are the only moderately tricky part. To start, we trimmed off much of the excess fabric all the way around the seat. Then, we started on one side of the corner and made multiple folds all the way around the corner, stapling each fold down as we went. You sort of have to just play with this step to ensure that you’re getting the corner covered without too many wrinkles poking out the sides. If you want, turn the seat over a few times to make sure you’re not leaving a wrinkly mess.
Once the corners are done, you’re done recovering and ready to attach the seat back onto the chair frame. If the corners look too wrinkled, you can always pull out the staples and try again to get them as smooth as possible.
While we bought fabric for this job, we’ve been known to pick up a couple of thrift store curtains to recover a chair. In fact, the dining room suit we had when we were first married is covered in floral print curtains we picked up at our local Salvation Army.