Dining Room Chair Blah to Beautiful DIY

10 Materials
3 Days

My neighbor saw the trash to treasure chair I did (https://www.hometalk.com/diy/living-room/furniture/chair-rescue-from-disfigured-trash-to-focal-piece-44423143 )

& asked me to reupholster her dining room chairs. I expected this would be super easy & felt badly for not encouraging her to do it herself, there I went thinking again. Now that I've done it I completely understand why she didn't want to do it, it's A LOT of work!

The before/top

Dirty, stained and blah color.

The before: underside

The original cambric, also very dirty.

First lesson learned, invest in a quality tool designed for staple removal. After struggling for two hours I stopped & ordered a 120 1/2 C.S Osborne from Amazon for just under $23.00 I wish I'd done it sooner, what a life saver.

Day two of removing staples. Now with my C.S. Osborne tool

Oh my lanta, MORE staples and plastic??!!

She wanted everything except the MDF board replaced.

After everything was taken apart I used the chair base as a template to trace out the shape of the foam. I chose to use that for a few reasons

  1. The original foam was curled at the ends & wouldn't lie flat
  2. The original foam was dry & crumbling
  3. The wood was sturdy & uniform

I cut the foam using a combo of the rotary cutter & sissors.

I spread the fabric out on a drop cloth covered table outside, applied two coats of Scotch Guard & let it dry for a few hours. I didn't get pictures because I was more concerned with proper coverage application.

Next step was cutting the fabric which again I was very focused on getting right. Once I knew how I wanted it I folded the fabric right-side in twice. Then used the material I removed from one of the seats as a template for the new seat covers. I pinned the template into my stack of fabric & traced it with the rotary cutter tool. This gave me 4 identically cut pieces.

Note: lesson two (learned when doing previous chair) use the original fabric as a template BUT go a bit larger with the new fabric.

  1. The new fabric may not be as stretchable as the original
  2. The new foam is likely to be thicker than the old worn out cushions
  3. Bear in mind the original may have been produced in a factory. You are not a factory icon
  4. You can always trim excess
  5. Better to have extra than not enough

I repeated the process with the cambric. I have the new cambric material folded over so that one cut yields four pieces.

I placed a cutting mat underneath everything, traced the shape with the rotary tool & trimmed as needed with sissors.

Note: lesson three. Price compare! Lynn (neighbor) bought the fabric in advance ($47.50) but I chose to purchase the rest & get reimbursed) so I'd have what I needed. I wanted to be respectful of both of our time and wallets plus, I hate to shop, get easily fatigued and really wanted to go to as few stores as possible!

Simple online search I priced it out at both Walmart & Joann here is my finding:



Morning Glory 22×22×2

$7.24 ea x4= $28.96


Airtex High Density 2 pk

22x22x2: $26.24 ea × 2= $52.48

Scotch Guard same size

Walmart: $5.33

Joann: $11.99 (still more after 50% off coupon)

We discussed this and agreed Walmart was the winner.

I had the foam and Scotch Guard delivered to me at no shipping. I purchased the cambric at Joann because although Walmart's website claimed to have it I was notified later they didn't.

The cambric was $1.99 yd & on sale 50% off. I bought 3 yds (way too much) so with tax it cost $3.16

I had the staples so I didn't factor them into the cost. I should've because I used almost an entire pack of 1000 they range in price but about $5 is average.

First one complete- top

First one complete-underside

I was doing the happy dance!!

They're all done
My tools xoxo

Better than new

WOW is that pretty!!! Such a difference from the original solid beige and my neighbor is VERY pleased.

Her material cost came to $87 for FOUR chairs. If you were to do this you could reduce the price by purchasing less expensive fabric. However, feel $87 is pretty reasonable (even if I add in $29 for the new tool & $5 for a box of staples which total $121.) To have such a beautiful, dramatic change to a room.

I hope I've inspired you!! Thanks for following along.


Suggested materials:

  • Chevron Stripe Upholstery Fabric   (Boca Bargoons)
  • Arrow Staples   (Lowes)
  • C.S. Osborne Staple Remover   (Amazon)
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