Cheap and Easy Chair Reupholstery

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a chair outside on the grass with title text reading Cheap and Easy Chair Reupholstery.
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I finally tackled my first furniture project.  I’m not sure why furniture projects are so much more intimidating than craft projects in my mind.  This one wasn’t any more expensive than a lot of craft projects.  But somehow furniture seems so much more a serious and impressive project.  And that always frightened me off from attempting a furniture redo.  
Until I met this chair on Craigslist.


light wooden chair with navy blue fabric seat.
It was only $5 and I liked the simple modern lines.  I figured for $5 it was worth a try.  If it worked great, if not, then I’d spent the cost of one fast food meal on the experiment.
I don’t know what the chair looked like when it was new, but the seat fabric was faded and dirty (it looked much worse in person).
top view showing the blue cushion on a chair.
I’d found a beautiful fabric shower curtain on sale for $14 that I’d originally planned to use.  Then I got cold feet and realized I was willing to risk $5 on the reupholstery experiment, but not $19 (call me risk adverse, don’t call me cheap).  I dug through my impulsive fabric purchases.  I had this pretty blue graphic fabric that I’d bought to cover cardboard storage boxes ( uhh, they haven’t been done yet). The blue fabric would work perfectly, would use up some of my fabric stash and not cost a dime.
view of the underside of a blue chair cushion.
First, I wiped down the wood chair with a damp cloth and a lot of elbow grease. Then I flipped it over and unscrewed the screws in the 4 corners. 
fabric cut out around a chair cushion with pair of blue scissors.
I used a cloth to clean the fabric on the seat well since I just wanted to upholster over the existing seat.  After the seat had dried, I flipped it over on the fabric and cut around the seat leaving about a 4 inch margin.  I centered the seat on the fabric so that the lines lined up with the front edge of the chair seat (don’t want the wonky lines of crooked fabric).
I pulled each side tight (but not too tight) and  folded the edge of the fabric under to make it more stable for stapling.  I stapled 3 staples in the middle of the sides.  I did the same with the front and the back edges of the seat. 
view showing how fabric is attached to a chair cushion.

I folded each corner starting with a hospital corner fold (like you do with bedsheets) and then adjusted the folds so they wrapped more smoothly around the corner.  I stapled each step of the fold down well.

close-up view showing how fabric is attached to a chair cushion.
I went back along all the edges and stapled them down well.   And then reattached the seat with the 4 screws.  


light wooden chair reupholstered with light blue patterned cushion.
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I don’t know if I’m more excited with how beautiful the chair turned out or with how easy and quick it was.  If you can use a screw driver, a pair of scissors and a staple gun, then you can definitely tackle a reupholstery project.  I now shake my head at how intimidated I was before.  And this entire redo project took me less than 30 minutes and only cost $5!  I’m now on the look out for more chairs.


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  1. I just love this! You have inspired me to reupholster my dining room chairs! Now to find some fabric I love!

    1. Thanks, Holly. I used a medium strength stapler I picked up in Japan 15 years ago. It’s definitely a crafting stapler, but I’m pretty sure that there are sturdier ones made.

  2. Thanks so much for letting me feature your cheap and easy chair reupholstery chair on I’ve Got The Monday Blues. This is a beautiful job and blue.Loves!

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