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How to Reupholster a Drop-in Chair Seat

Are your chairs still covered in that faded and threadbare chintz your great-grandmama picked out in 1936? She'd be the first to tell you—it's time for an update, dearie.


  • Step 1: Unscrew seat Unscrew the seat from the chair and set the screws aside.
  • Step 2: Remove old seat Remove the old seat covering by using pliers or the claw end of a hammer to remove the nails, tacks, or staples holding it in place. Don't rip the cover off, you'll need it whole for the next step.
  • TIP: If the staples are not coming out, try prying them out with the flat edge of the screwdriver.
  • Step 3: Cut fabric Use the old covering as a guide to cut enough fabric for your new seat. Pin it down to secure it in place while you cut. There should be about 2 inches more fabric than the actual seat on all sides.
  • Step 4: Place fabric Place the new fabric over the foam cushion insert, making sure to center any patterns or stripes so you get the look you want.
  • TIP: If the cushion insert is worn, crumbling, or just plain nasty, remove it and cut a new piece of foam in the exact shape as the seat base. Mount it on the base with spray adhesive.
  • Step 5: Place base Place the base back on top of the foam and fabric.
  • Step 6: Secure fabric Turn the base over, pull the fabric up over it edges until taut, and secure it in the middle of each of the four sides with the staple gun. Continue stapling from the middle out toward the corners, placing the staples a few inches apart.
  • TIP: If you don't have a staple gun, do it the old fashioned way with a tack hammer and upholstery tacks—grandmama would approve.
  • Step 7: Replace seat Replace your newly chic seat on your chair, screw it in place, then sit on the floor and admire your masterpiece.
  • FACT: Chintz, a glazed, patterned cotton material originally produced in India, first became popular in Europe in the 18th century.

You Will Need

  • A chair with a drop-in seat
  • A pair of pliers or a claw hammer
  • A screwdriver
  • A pair of sharp
  • heavy-duty scissors
  • The new fabric of your choice
  • And a staple gun
  • A tack hammer and upholstery tacks
  • Some 1-inch-high foam rubber
  • And some spray adhesive

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