How to Re-Cover a Chair Cushion

Easy tips for DIY – how to re-cover a chair cushion. For this project we will need just a few tools; a screwdriver, staple gun and 5/16 staples, pliers, and your new fabric. The first step is to remove the chair cushion from the chair frame. Turn the chair over and you’ll see four screws on the bottom seat of the chair, one in each corner.
Remove these screws or unscrew until the seat cushion is free from the chair. Now you will be ready to look at the chair cushion you have to work with. If the fabric or upholstery covering on the existing seat is in poor condition you may want to remove this material from the chair cushion. If the fabric looks in good condition, some people prefer, to leave the existing fabric in place and re-cover over top of the material.
For my project I will be removing the old fabric because of stains and need to know how far the stains traveled into the foam padding. Turn over the cushion and here you’ll find how the fabric was anchored to the seat. In most cases staples are used, however, you may find upholstery tacks or nails have been used. Use a screwdriver to loosen the staples and a pair of pliers to pull the staples out of the wood. After you have removed the staples and the old fabric you are now ready to take a look at the foam and board underneath. Good news the foam under the old fabric looks great. However, I had an interesting surprise. The board used for the base of the seat had a big square hole in the middle of the board.
Surprise!! What is the hole for?Chairwhole -IMG_20150125_123510
My best guess was the hole provided extra comfort for the chair.
In this case, some type of material was applied over the opening of the square cut out in the chair seat. What I found was the material used to cover the whole, at some point, came loose from the seat and caused the seat cushion to sag in the middle making the chair very uncomfortable. Now my quick and easy sets to replace fabric on a seat cushion became a little more complicated. No problem, just another fun challenge!
Off to some of my favorite shops to find solution for the square opening and what to use. A successful trip, and back with some ideas and strategies to work with the seat opening to allow comfort and support at the same time.
To fix the center opening we found a dense rubber matting to use and a sturdy fabric to wrap the rubber matting in. Next, we stapled the covered matting over the square opening to the base of the seat.
Okay, now we can get back to the few easy steps to recover a chair cushion. While visiting some of my favorite shops I found a beautiful fabric to match the décor of the room where the chair will be placed.
Before adding the new fabric, look over the board for any loose staples or sharp edges. After a good review let’s get ready to finish our project. On to the fun part!

Chair-hole covIMG_20150208_173110

On this chair I have decided to add a layer of batting before the fabric, this is an option and depending on the type of chair you will be recovering, may not be necessary. Especially, if you will be leaving the prior material of the chair in place.
Add the batting covering the foam and anchoring the batting to the wood base. Using the staple gun tack down the batting on all sides, making sure to have a smooth tight finish.
Okay we are now ready to add our beautiful new fabric!
Place the new fabric on a flat surface with the back of the fabric face up. Center the cushion in the middle of the fabric and allow a few inches of extra fabric around the cushion. The extra inches of fabric will be needed to anchor the fabric to the board.
With the fabric ready to cover the foam and the board, start with one side of the fabric and fold the fabric over one edge of the board. Using the staple gun, add a staple in the center of the fabric along the edge of this first side, add two more staples on either side of the first staple to hold the fabric in place. Go to the opposite side of the board and pull the fabric smooth and taunt to the board and add staples like we did on the first side. There should be two sides left to fasten, go to the next side, and again pull the fabric over the edge of the board making sure the fabric is smooth without wrinkles. Hold the fabric to the board and secure it to the board using the staples.
An extra comment. Depending on the thickness of your board, foam, and other materials used for the project, check to make sure you have the right length of staple. For most seats a 5/16 staple will work just fine.
Now finish the last side and staple to the board, all we have left now are the corners!

In researching this project I found various ways to do the corners of seat covers for chairs. One popular way to do corners is using the same method as folding the corners of bed sheets or other may use the term military style. This is a very common corner you see on many chairs and makes a nice edge. Another style we discovered was pulling the fabric tightly around the edge of the corner where the corner looks seamless but on the top of the board it appears pleated and is stapled as they work with the fabric around the corner on the seat cushion.
Another great look – the choice for the type of corner you prefer is up to you.

Now the fabric is in place and a good idea to make sure enough staples were added to secure the fabric to the base of the board. Once you’re satisfied with the staples you can trim off any excess fabric to give your project a finished look.
At this point you could go ahead and put the seat back in place – or – add another finish to the chair seat to give a professional look.
Cutting of small sheer piece of black material to cover the exposed wood on the bottom of the chair and glue or staple in place. Some people also like to add trim to cover the seam of where the two fabrics come together.
We are ready to put the seat back on the chair with our new fabric added. Make sure the four screws are ready and tighten them back into the chair.
Turn your chair over and Wow… What a great job!
A beautiful new chair covered for my daughter’s room.

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2 Responses to “How to Re-Cover a Chair Cushion”

  1. Deepthi says:

    Hi Team,
    I am looking for replacing cushion for our dining chairs.

    Similar to this, our chair also had big hole on the cushion board at the center .

    Could you please let me know what you have used in detail and where can I get that?

    Thanks in Advance

  2. pjenkins says:

    Great question!
    When taking apart this desk chair I discovered why, we had the feeling of falling through the seat.
    The chair was always comfortable until the stretch material used to cover the hole, on the chair frame, tore on one side.
    If you are a visual person, the bottom of this chair looks like a picture frame – strong wood frame – however, the material used for the center did not last as long as the chair.
    I began to look for something more substantial – yet not bulky, light weight, and firm.
    What I used is similar to the same material for athletic shoe insoles, it’s a flexible foam rubber product.
    The product I used was a mat used for camping – it’s called RIDGEREST. One mat ($14.99) would cover several seats.
    I cut a piece of this product (larger than the hole) and used the staple gun to anchor in place. The rest was easy, place the foam for the cushion on top of the frame, and cover the cushion and seat with the fabric of your choice!!

    Thanks again for your question, and I hope this information was helpful!

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