You found the PERFECT chair on Craiglist – complete with mesmerizing legs and beautiful curves (sounds like a 1950s supermodel!). Unfortunately, the ghastly fabric makes your design spirit cringe, but you have the foresight to look beyond the dilapidated print to see its beautiful soul. Thankfully, with this DIY reupholster tutorial, you can unleash the beauty from within that antique chair!
You could take your chair to a professional re-upholstery company, who will charge you anywhere from $250 – $350 for a single chair. Or, you could take matters into your own hands and complete the DIY reupholster. Reupholstering an antique chair is time-consuming, but it’s fairly simple to do. Set aside two or three days of time for this reupholster, since it is easy — just not easy and quick. Here’s how to reupholster antique furniture – specifically an antique chair.
Before you Move on
Considering it is antique furniture, you’ll need to clean it out. There might be a lone spider living comfortably in grandma’s antique chair, so before reupholstering it, carefully clean it out, using a soft brush and gloves. Gently brush out the cobwebs and dust from the furniture, turning it from side to side, gingerly cleaning out the mess. Once the furniture is clean from dust and cobwebs, you’re ready to reupholster your furniture.
Reupholster Pre-Steps: How to Remove the Cover
These steps mainly deal with drop-in chair seats. The steps differ slightly with other chairs, so consult a guide before continuing – or check back soon as we update frequently with new antique furniture reupholster DIY tutorials!
Now for the steps.
Step 1: Remove the chair seat. Use a screw to unscrew the chair seat, gently removing it. Put the screws in a box if you can, so it’s not lost. Wouldn’t that be a downer if you couldn’t find it after all of this reupholstering?
Step 2: Turn the chair seat on its bottom. You should see some sort of foam under it. Staples or nails should fasten this securely all around the edge. Gently remove the staples or nails with a plier or staple remover. You won’t be using these staples or nails after reupholstering your furniture, so you can discard these elements.
Step 3: Remove the foam and cover, throwing the old seat cover away. Take a look at the foam. Is it in good condition? If so, then you can keep the foam. However, if there are any signs of mildew, mold, or an interesting smell, you should replace the foam. You can buy chair foam at fabric stores, especially ones that specialize in furniture fabric.
Now you’re ready to reupholster your antique chair.
How to Reupholster with New Fabric
You’ll need the fabric, a Sharpie, and a heavy-duty stapler for these steps. This is the actual reupholster portion.
Step 4: Fold your fabric in half, so you know where the halfway mark is. Mark it on the backside with a marker.
Step 5: Flip the chair seat upside down carefully onto the fabric. Trace the outline of the chair onto the backside of the fabric. Cut the fabric 2 to 3 inches over the outline with a pair of scissors.
Step 6: Take the foam and place it back on the underside. Staple this securely to the edges of the chair, making sure to be careful.
Step 7: Place the chair seat back down on the fabric. Wrap the fabric around the chair seat, stapling the extra fabric underneath the seat frame. Staple carefully every inch or so, making sure the fabric is tight and smooth. Go all around from top to bottom, making sure every staple is stapled securely.
Step 8: If you would like to add detailing to the chair reupholster, you can place double-piping along the edge of the seat. You simply need to utilize a hot glue gun to add a portion of piping onto the chair seat.
Now you’re probably wondering why I suggested two or three days time. It comes from removing the staples carefully. You’re dealing with a fragile, antique chair so you must take the utmost caution not to break it (you know, otherwise you can’t reupholster it, but it makes great firewood).
I would recommend starting with the antique chair with the drop-in seat as your first reupholstery project. Then you will be ready to move onto other types of chairs, and even antique sofas! Stay tuned as we present more advanced reupholstery DIY tutorials. We are in the process of re-upholstering a dining set and an antique settee, and we can’t wait to show you the results!
The images presented in this tutorial are courtesy of Country Living.