By Jason Scott

There are some projects that you really should hire a professional to do, and then there are others that may seem difficult, but that you can save money and do yourself. Recovering you padded dining room chairs is this type of project. It may look difficult, but it is a project that anyone with a pair of scissors and a staple gun can easily do themselves.

Step 1: Pick your Padding and Fabric

Probably the hardest thing that you are going to have to do for this project is to choose the fabric that you want to use. Generally fabric is sold by the yard, so you will have to figure out how much fabric your project requires. Not only do you have to measure the seat size, but your need ample fabric to cover the sides of the seat as well as fold under the cushion.

Generally armchairs have a little bigger seat then the rest of the chairs, so make sure that you allow for this as you figure out how much material you will need. It is a good idea to get all of your fabric at once, and make sure that it is from the same bolt so that your color is consistent. If you are getting a patterned fabric, keep in mind that stripes and plaids may be difficult to line up on the cushion.


Unless the existing cushion cover is soiled or worn, you may be able to leave it in place and place your new fabric over it. You will have to remove the old fabric if it is heavily textured and you are replacing it with a lighter and sheerer fabric. You may also have to remove the old fabric if it is a bold color and you are covering it with a light fabric. If the padding is in good shape, then leave it in tact, otherwise remove and measure it, so that you can replace it.

Once you have all of your measurements, head to the fabric store and select a good quality fabric and pattern. Make sure that it works with your current dcor, and if you are not sure, bring samples home to evaluate you choices before buying.

Step 2: Out with the Old

Now you are ready to remove the seats from your chairs. Usually the seat cushion is held in place with a screw. Turn your chair over; remove the screw and the cushion should be easy to remove.

Now flip the seat cushion upside down, and with a flat head screwdriver pry the staples away from the cushion. As you are removing the staples, notice how the fabric is folded and stapled, so you can apply the new fabric in a similar manner. If you are replacing fabric or padding remove them, otherwise, leave them in place.

Step 3: In with the New

If you remove the old fabric and padding, you can use them as a template, otherwise you will have to measure out your fabric. Cut your new fabric about 1/8 inch larger than the old fabric. If you are measuring, make sure to measure the cushion, both sides and at least several inches to fold under the cushion.

Make sure that your work surface is clear and clean. Then lay down your fabric. Place your cushion in the center of the fabric and pull the fabric over the edge of the seat; place the first staple in the front center of the bottom of the cushion. Then pull the fabric taught and place a staple in the center of the rear of the cushion. Do the same for the center of each side. Working outward from the center on each side, repeat these steps until all of the fabric is secured to the cushion.

Fold your corners the same way that the original fabric was folded and trim any extra material. After the fabric is securely fastened to the seat cushion, simply reattach the seat cushion to the chair with a screw and youre done!

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