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DIY Project: How to reupholster a dining chair

This is a DIY project that I’ve been meaning to work on since we got this dining chairs and table set for free from a family member.

At first, I wasn’t keen on the colour of the seat cushions, but then we got our rug to go under the table and the chairs definitely fitted in better. But I always knew I’d do something with them.

Our dining room chairs before I upholstered them

Thanks to lockdown, this is just another project that I’ve found the time to do. The Yorkshire Fabric Shop got in touch to offer me some material and straight away, I knew what project I was going to do.

Below, you can find the steps I took to reupholster the chair seat pads. It’s relatively easy and a job that can be done in just a couple of days. But first, here’s a little bit about the Yorkshire Fabric Shop and who they are.


About the Yorkshire Fabric Shop

The Yorkshire Fabric Shop is based in, you guessed it, Yorkshire, in a place called Batley. They have tonnes of fabrics available no matter what your next project or price range, from upholstering chairs to making curtains.

The fabric I chose for my project was this hour glass pattern.


Tools I Used

Before I jump into the big reveal, I wanted to show how I upholstered the seat pads.

You will need:

Flatlay of tools you will need

How to upholster a seat pad

Now you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to get started.

Step 1: First, the seat pads will probably be attached to the chair via some screws. Turn the chair upside down and see if you can spot where they’re attached. Take your screwdriver and loosen the screws until you can take the seat pad off completely. This should be relatively easy.

Once the pad is off, take a look at the condition of it. Ours had the original fabric (cream) that had been covered with a teal fabric previously. I removed the teal fabric but left the original cream suede material in place. I think it’s easier to recover this way so, unless the chair is really falling apart, leave the old fabric covering on.

Step 1: Image showing how I removed the old fabric from the seat pad
The teal fabric was removed to reveal the original suede underneath

Step 2: Use the staple remover to take the fabric off. If the chairs haven’t been covered before and still have their original fabric, leave this on.

This took my chairs from this:

The original chair coverings in teal blue

to this:

The chairs with their original cream fabric

The photo doesn’t show it very well but the original cream suede was quite stained.

Now it’s time to start recovering the pad in your new fabric.

Step 3: Measure the chair seat and cut a piece of fabric that is around 3 inches larger on each side. You should have a big square of material that’s big enough to cover the pad.

Make sure your fabric is straight and then put the seat pad on top of the fabric (which should be face down).

Step 4: Pull the top of the fabric tight and fold it over the back of the pad, putting a staple in the middle to hold it in place.

Step 5: Then, pull and fold the bottom in the same way and put a staple there too. Repeat with the two sides of the pad so that you have four staples holding the fabric in place, as highlighted below:

The seat pad from underneath showing where I put the first lot of staples in to hold the fabric in place.

You should ensure that the fabric is tight enough – it shouldn’t be saggy. Flip the seat pad over to see the side you’ll sit on and ensure you’re happy. This would be the stage to take staples out as you only have 4 in. It’s frustrating to have to undo 20 staples because the fabric is baggy or wonky.

Now your fabric should be held in place by these 4 staples. I watched plenty of YouTube videos on what to do next. Most said to staple around the edges until on each side, you have a couple of inches of fabric spare for the corners.

I actually found it easier to put the 4 staples in place as shown above, then do the corners and then finish the staples around the edges.

Step 6: Now it’s time to make the corners look neat. There was no technique to do the corners really. I tried to make two folds around on the front so that they matched:

The corner of the chairs with the new fabric on

I thought this was the neatest way to do it.

The back corners were a little more tricky as the seat pads go in so that they can slot into the chairs themselves. You can see this in the photo where I’ve highlighted the staples and how they slot into the chairs below:

Images of the newly covered chairs showing how the backs slot together

As I said, the corners were trial and error until I was happy that they looked neat from the front, back and side (which isn’t easy!). I suppose the beauty of the back corners is that I could hide the fold in the fabric where the wood on the chairs is.

You should apply a few extra staples to the corners as the fabric may be thicker and there is more chance of the fabric coming loose in this area.

Step 7: Once the corners were in, I stapled all down the sides in a straight line, pulling the fabric tight as I went to ensure there weren’t any lumps or bumps.


The Finished Result!

And this is how I took my dining room from this:


to this:

The finished dining room with the new upholstered seat pads
Upholstered chair at the dining table with new fabric
Dining room with a geometric rug and new upholstered chairs

I love how they turned out and it makes the dining room feel brighter and a bit more fun! Just ignore the fact that my shelves and corner unit are empty, as we’re packing to move!

Is this a project you would be willing to try?

Sarah Macklin
Sarah Macklin

Sarah is the creator and founder of Dream of Home, a website that began during Sarah’s first home renovation project. Since then, the site has grown and Sarah produces content around all things home, including home decor, DIY projects, renovation tips, inspiration and more. In her spare time, she loves to read and garden.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. June 11, 2020 / 8:57 am

    This little post is fab. Can’t wait to reupholster my table and chairs. Just need to choose a colour first!

    • June 11, 2020 / 9:00 am

      Thanks Lucy! Yes I think choosing a fabric and colour is the hardest part.

  2. Jackie
    November 5, 2021 / 5:09 pm

    These chairs are so cute! I love them so much. I have been looking for something like this to freshen up our kitchen! We are doing some kitchen cabinet refinishing next week and after that I would love to try and make these. Thanks for sharing!

    • November 5, 2021 / 5:35 pm

      Thank you Jackie! You’ll have to let me know how you get on!

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