DIY Recover Your Dining Room Chairs for under $15.00

We acquired a dining room suit almost 20 years ago that had ivory fabric on the seats. The ivory was pretty but I knew I would have to recover them eventually because a light solid color just shows everything. I tried to get out a few stains as the years went by but they were looking worse all the time. So I figured it was time...

I found two fabrics I liked. Both from WalMart and $6.97 a yard. These were my choices.

I loved the blue but went with the one on the left and boy am I glad I did. Now I needed to know how much fabric to buy.

I measured my chair seats and added 4" all around. Using this measurement I found I could get 2 chair covers from the width of the fabric so I needed enough fabric to cut 3 squares down the length. (I have 6 chairs) The length of each square needed to be 24" so I needed 2 yards of fabric.  This came to $13.94 but like I said I purchased some extra so I spent a little more than this. If you choose a fabric that has a pattern that needs to be centered on the chair you will need more fabric. How much more depends on the design.

So this is how to do it yourself and for less than $15.00!

You will need:

  • Fabric
  • scissors
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Something to mark fabric with (I just used a pencil)
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Small pliers, flat head screwdriver, small hammer (for removing old staples)
These directions are for chairs that do not need cushion padding replaced.

Start by turning your chair over and locating the screws that remove the seat

Remove these screws. My chairs only had 4 screws that I had to remove for each chair.

Now you have just the seat.

Remove the thin lining. On some chairs this may be just a piece of paper like material or thin cardboard. I'm afraid there will be a lot of staples and they can be difficult to remove. I used a screwdriver and hammer to remove them but there are tools made especially for this job that may make it easier for you.

You can see that there are even more staples under the lining (sigh). You now have a choice, you can leave the old cover on and put your new fabric over it or remove it. If your padding is in good shape (and mine was) and the old fabric is not going to show through I would say to definitely leave it which is exactly what I did.

Cut a square of fabric that will be large enough to wrap and staple to the underside. I allowed 4" all around. Some printed fabrics will look better if the design is centered on the chair seat. The pattern I chose is a random pattern that did not have to be centered. One less thing...  Mark where you need to cut with a pencil and then cut it out.

Start with the back edge and staple down the new fabric

Now pull the fabric snug and staple the front. You don't want it too tight but you do want it snug. Trim the fabric as needed as you go. I suggest trimming after you staple each side and never trim before stapling a side. You don't want to chance removing too much fabric.

Now staple the sides and corners. The corners are tricky, you want to sort of gather the fabric into small folds so there are no pleats showing from the sides.

The back corners will be easier to staple than the front corners because part of the back corners will be hidden by the chair back.

Once the new fabric is secure you need to staple the lining back on.

Now just screw the cushions back onto the chairs and you're all done!

Have extra fabric?  Consider making matching placemats or maybe curtain tiebacks or valance. Maybe even modpodge to something in the room like a pretty storage box???  Oh, the possibilities. :)