Furniture Facelift Part Two

Ahoy matey! Ever since we ordered our captain’s chairs for the dining room, I feel as though I need to talk like a pirate when discussing them.

Argh, pirate’s chairs.

With the buffet in, we turned our attention to the dining room seating situation and surmised it was fairly lacking and lackluster. Four boring chairs with pink striped fabric.

reupholstering dining room chairs

I forgot to take a before picture of the chairs, here it is in the background.


Our original plan was to use a brown chair we purchased at Target for the man cave as the head chair for the dining room. But we wanted two, so off to Target’s website we went to find the matching chair  . . . . and failed.

We continued searching Target’s site to see what else they offered, then we found this chair and loved it. The feeling of the scripting and postmarking seemed to fit with our style and did not complete with my lovingly stenciled walls. Greg wondered how to deal with the seat covers of the other four chair but never fear!

At this point, he really should know not to wonder how when it come to fabric.  Waverly came to our rescue with their script fabric. I’ve seen it numerous times at Joann’s and knew it matched the Target chairs enough for us to fake the matching.

I knew we faked it enough after showing the picture of both chairs to my manager and she asked if we bought extra chairs to use the fabric on the seat bases.

reupholstering dining room chairs


But wait, there’s more—after ordering the chairs on a Friday night, I saw they dropped in price by $65 on Sunday. A quick call to Target resulted in a price adjustment and learning if a product drops in price within a week of purchase, they will adjust the price.

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of reupholstering the chairs.

What you will need:

  • Extra thick batting
  • Staple gun with staples (3/4” staples)
  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Fabric (2 yards which was more than enough)
  • Masking tape/painters tape

Before we get started, I wanted to state you do not have to recover chairs over the original fabric. We chose to do this because we did not want to destroy Greg’s Grandmom’s chairs. The original covers were still in amazing shape but did not match our dining room. If down the line we sell them or move them to another room, we did not want to be tied to the fabric we used for our dining room.

Another note- these instructions are for doing one. We did them all at the same time, so each step was performed four times. It’s much easier to do them assembly line style than one at a time.

1. Mark your seats and chairs so that you know which base pairs with which chair. A little piece of painters tape with a number on each piece will work. We did not do this and wished we did. If you are wondering why—it makes screwing the bases back on much easier since the hole align properly on the original chair.

2. Turn the chair over and unscrew the base from chair.

reupholstering dining room chairs

3. Take the base and position it top down over your batting. You want to have several inches on all sides of the base because you will be pulling it over the sides and stapling on the base underside.

reupholstering dining room chairs

4. Cut!

reupholstering dining room chairs

5. Keep your batting free from a puppy otherwise they think it’s a soft place to lay.

reupholstering dining room chairs

6. The next step is stapling the batting to the chair. I drew up a diagram to help explain what you do. First you staple the centers of each side(close to the edge of the chair)—you do one edge and then do the opposite edge, pulling the batting nice and tight on the opposite edge. You can staple about two inches in each center. Repeat for the other edges (always pulling the batting tight). Then you return to the first edge and work your way out from the center (pull the batting tight before stapling). Stop about two inches from the corners. Repeat on the opposite edge. Then continue on the other edges. The last step are the corners—you will have to fold the batting for it to nicely lay on the chair base. It will be bunchy but you want to have it look as smooth as possible on the top side of the chair. Staple it down once you get a corner the way you want it. Repeat on the other three corners.

reupholstering dining room chairs

Side note: If you have a nail gun, check to see if it has a staple gun attachment. For doing large projects such as four chairs, the attachment makes this much easier. If you are using a regular staple gun, find a friend to help with the project because you hand will get tired/you want someone to do the pulling since a staple gun can sometime require two hands on the trigger.reupholstering dining room chairs

7. Trim all excess batting off (cutting very close to the staple). Trim around the screw holes to guarantee there won’t be batting in the way of reattaching it to the chair.

reupholstering dining room chairs




Side note: If some staples aren’t fully in, just hammer them in. If you need to pull one out use the flat head screwdriver or pliers.

8. Pretty much repeat step 3 with fabric. Take the batting covered base and position it top down over your fabric. You want to have several inches on all sides of the base because you will be pulling it over the sides and stapling on the base underside.

reupholstering dining room chairs

Side note: Please iron your fabric before stapling it to the seat!

dining room chairs-15

9. Again, repeat step 4 but with the fabric. Stop when it comes to the corners.

reupholstering dining room chairs

10. Corners are not fun and the bane of upholstering chairs. Unlike the batting, the fabric will be visible to everyone so you want to ensure the corners look good and mostly creaseless. It’s the same folding process as before but you want to take extra time/care to arrange the fabric before stapling.

reupholstering dining room chairs

11. Once everything is stapled, trim the excess fabric off and ensuring the screw holes are clear of fabric.

reupholstering dining room chairs

Side note: Again, if some staples aren’t fully in, just hammer them in. If you need to pull one out use the flat head screwdriver or pliers. If you need to add a few more staples, go for it.

12. Screw base on to chair frame. We found it worked best if we positioned everything on the table.

reupholstering dining room chairs

13. Enjoy your new seats!

reupholstering dining room chairs

As with all projects, it does incur a few costs.  Most of our costs related to this project are derived from purchasing two new chairs.

Cost Breakdown

  • Captain’s Chairs: $195 (with free shipping)
  • Fabric: $40
  • Batting: Free*
  • Tools: Free*

Total cost: $235

* Already had items.

reupholstering dining room chairs

In the end, I think the room is really coming together nicely.  The pattern pairs nicely with our mirrored cabinet and Eiffel Tower.  We’ve finished cleaning our my Grandmom’s house and a few items have made it into this room– her soup tureen and picture frames.  Three more items will be joining the room as soon as we project them– updated wall scones and a picture frame turned into mirror.

Side note: You are probably wondering about the curtains– we did them last year but just recently hemmed them.  They are in the “to blog about” list which I am slowly working on.  Hopefully the instructions will be posted before Housiversary III

reupholstering dining room chairs


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s