Southern Mom Loves: How to Reupholster Dining Room Chairs!

How to Reupholster Dining Room Chairs!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LiveLoveColor #CollectiveBias

If you saw my last post, I'm Changing My Life with Color! #WhatsYourColorStory?, you'll know that I was planning a fun and fabulous DIY project based on some amazing advice from the new book Change Your Home, Change Your Life with Color by Moll Anderson. Well, not only did I add a pop of color to my dining room, I added six. :) I reupholstered my dining room chairs and I'll show you how you can too!

You may remember that the book is not only a fount of decorating advice, but it's also a workbook that's designed to help you explore the way you feel about certain colors and which colors will resonate the most in your home, wardrobe, and life.

The color I chose was #RevivingTurquoise. It wasn't always a favorite but became one after honeymooning in St. Thomas and waking up to the gorgeous view of small green islands in the turquoise Caribbean sea every morning. That view was enough to make me want to stay forever.

I decided that my drab dining room needed some reviving and decided that a hue in the turquoise range would be best for me. That color reminds me of the wonderful feeling of waking up to a view of the sea and I wanted a little of that in my home.

Tip: Stop by your local home improvement store's paint aisle and pick up a large range of paint chips in the colors you're considering. You can take these to the fabric store to help you perfectly match the color you want.

I needed to find just the right fabric for my chairs. I wanted it to be bright and colorful, but also coordinate with my existing greens. I shopped home dec fabrics galore and found two that were close, but they just weren't as bright as I craved.

Then I happened on this gorgeous bright teal and my search was finished! 

You might remember that I was trying to match the turquoise in this painting. Success! I can't believe I got so lucky.

Now for the embarrassing photos! I'll show you what I was recovering. o_0

I had previously recovered my chairs with this pebbled green fabric because it blended in with my dining room colors and was wipeable; At the time, my children were much smaller and much messier! Shortly afterward, we adopted our cat and it turns out that this material was perfect for sharpening her claws on. -_-

Not only was it time for a refresh, it was time for a change. I needed some vibrancy in my home and although I was nervous, I couldn't be happier with the result!

I'll show you step-by-step how to reupholster your own dining room chairs, then show you exactly what it did for my dining room. Hopefully, you'll pick up this fabulous book (now available at Target) and discover your own love of color. There's no time like now to start this DIY project to give your dining room a facelift!

How to Reupholster Your Dining Room Chairs

First, you'll need to measure your chairs. It doesn't have to be exact, but you'll need fabric squares big enough to wrap around the sides to the bottom. For my chairs, I used six 27” x 27” squares of fabric. You'll buy it by the yard, so let's figure out how much yardage you need!

Look at the fabric you want to use and find out how wide the fabric is. Mine came in a 54" width. 

I had six chairs to recover and knew I needed 27" x 27" squares. 27" + 27" =54", so the width would fit two squares side-by-side perfectly, but what about the length? 

27" x 3 squares = 81". 81 inches = 2.25 yards, so I knew I would need 2.25 yards of that 54" material. Make sense?

To finish the bottoms of the chairs and hide the fabric edges, I got a material called Oly-fun. It's a cheap craft material that's hard to describe. It's not a mesh, it's not a woven... I asked the lady at the fabric counter to describe what type of fabric it was and she just replied "It's Oly-fun. Just a craft material." with a bewildered shrug. So, just ask for Oly-fun and they'll know what you mean!

You'll just be covering the bottoms of your chair with a square of this, with it's edges folded back towards the chair. It will hide your upholstery fabric edges and make it look neat underneath your chairs. It's not required, but since it's incredibly cheap (around $2-$3 for a 60" wide yard), why not? 2/3 of a yard was more than enough for my six chairs.

  • Fabric in your required amount
  • Oly-fun craft material in your required amount
  • a light- to medium-duty staple gun
  • staples
  • fabric protector spray (if your fabric is not wipeable)
  • scissors to trim excess fabric
  • a screwdriver to remove the chair seats
  • a pair of pliers will help you remove old staples


1. First, cut your fabric into the required size of fabric squares for your chair. Iron if necessary. If using a fabric protector, spray your fabric squares with it and allow them to dry overnight.

2. When you're ready to start, find the screws that hold your chair bottom on. Unscrew and remove your chair bottom. While you're working, put your screws in a zipper bag to keep them from rolling away.

3. Remove the old craft fabric that covers your upholstery fabric, then remove the old upholstery fabric, using pliers to remove any old staples if necessary.

4. Now you're ready to recover them! Lay your new fabric down on a flat surface, right side down (that just means that the outer side of the fabric should be facing down) and center your chair bottom on it.

5. Start on one side and pull the fabric taut while stapling it in place a few inches from the chair bottom edge. Repeat on the opposite side, pulling the fabric taut.

6. Pull the bottom fabric up, but start stapling from the middle, out, leaving room to finish the corners.

7. There are lots of ways to finish the corners. On my last chair project, I made inverted box pleats. That just means that I folded the excess fabric to the inside equally, leaving a pleat on the outside going inward at the center. This time I'm doing a plain box pleat.

Push your excess corner fabric inwards and fold the fabric corner over the corner of the chair, holding it taut before stapling securely in place.

8. Repeat on the top edge and corners of the chair seat, then use your scissors to trim off any excess fabric.

9. Cut your Oly-fun squares and fold in all four edges around 1/2", then crease the folds with your fingers. Place the material over your fabric edges and staple in place all around.

10. You're all done reupholstering! Replace your chair bottoms and screw on securely.

Recovering dining room chairs is one of the easiest reupholstery projects you can take on, and as you can see, there's nothing to it!

When I finished all of the chairs, I was blown away by the effect it had on my dining room AND my mood!

Every time I walk through this room, it gives me a little burst of happy.

I love the way it echoes the colors from this little painting.

I couldn't resist buying a huge bouquet of blue Hydrangeas to go on the table. :)

I really can't recommend this book enough! I don't think I would have been able to take this bold of a leap without some guidance, and her advice was spot on!

Change Your Home, Change Your Life with Color by Moll Anderson just came out on the 14th, so it's now available at Target stores and at other booksellers. Check out Moll's website here to find out everywhere you can get it.

If you're in your local Target, you can find it in the Books section under Non-Fiction Best Sellers.

Have fun changing your life with color!

You can find Moll Anderson on social media: YouTube | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


Does your home need a color kick? Have you read Moll's book? I love to read your comments!

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