Asked on Feb 28, 2012

To reupholster or not to reupholster...that is the question.

by Nikki
I have four upholstered parson-type kitchen chairs that need to be recovered. Trying to determine if it will be more cost effective to recover the existing chairs or just buy new chairs. Not sure if the pictures show the details, but the chair backs are not your typical flat back; they have a fan-like thing going on. Any guesses on what I should expect to pay to have them recovered if I'm providing the fabric?
q to reupholster or not to reupholster that is the question, home decor, painted furniture, reupholster
q to reupholster or not to reupholster that is the question, home decor, painted furniture, reupholster
  46 answers
  • Hi Nikki, At ChairCycle We recover, rescue and restore old and new chairs. I can get these upholstered for you. Please call me at 706 315 4903.

  • Nikki Nikki on Feb 28, 2012
    Hi Yamini, thanks for responding. I'll give you a call during my commute home @ 4ish. Is that ok?

  • 4ish sound great Nikki! Looking forward to talking with you.

  • Cheri G Cheri G on Feb 28, 2012
    have you called around to upholstery shops in your area to inquire about pricing? also, you may contact sewing stores to inquire who may do this type work on the side - the back and seat wouldn't be that hard to do and you wouldn't necessarily have to re-create that 'fan' thing - but the legs and base may be a whole other story - what kind of base wood is under there?

  • Cyndi P Cyndi P on Feb 28, 2012
    It will be much cheaper to recover. Check your local thrift stores for fabric.

  • Mary C Mary C on Feb 28, 2012
    i like them the way they r! they are lovely !

  • Nita U Nita U on Feb 28, 2012
    Too options, buy some new wood chairs from any 2nd hand store and paint them a bright color or white and have a bright centerpiece or recover in a nice geometric pattern, coral and white

  • Lee W Lee W on Feb 28, 2012
    If the fabric is not worn I would leave them alone.

  • Donna McCrummen Donna McCrummen on Feb 28, 2012
    If you like your chairs and they are comfortable and good quality call Yamini.

  • Laura G Laura G on Feb 28, 2012
    Ever think of fabric painting to match your decor? Not sure how creative you are but it might be worth a shot and it's very easy. That is the next project I'm working on myself.

  • Deanna G Deanna G on Feb 28, 2012
    I would reupholster them. I have done sofas, recliners,chairs, made cornices,curtains, cushions, etc. It isn't so hard to do..Just need to follow pattern of pieces on the original for patterns and reverse what you remove to redo them. I live in Waterbury, Vt and do this kind of work often. Have photos

  • Jeanette R Jeanette R on Feb 28, 2012
    I would reupholster them in a vertical stripe that brings out the colors of your cabinets, couch and some of the other neutral tones in that area.

  • Donna McCrummen Donna McCrummen on Feb 28, 2012
    @Laura G. Fabric painting? What is that? I mean, it's obvious what is but will you share how it's done?

  • Sheri C Sheri C on Feb 28, 2012
    If they are "good pieces" and you adore them, definitely reupholster. If the initial pieces are high quality, the benefits of reupholstering are: 1. It is more cost effective than replacing entirely. 2. You can select a fabric that matches your aesthetic. 3. You can select a fabric that is already treated for stain and water resistance or have state of the art treatment applied to the fabric of your choice. 4. Reworking existing pieces means less refuse in the waste stream. 5. If the cushions have become less supportive and comfortable, your upholsterer can bolster them during the reupholsering process.

  • Meri C Meri C on Feb 28, 2012
    You can do them yourself. Take off the old fabric, one chair at a time, so you don't get it mixed with another chair & use it as a pattern. Then, put it back together the same as you took it off. You may wish to take pictures as you go so you can remember how to reassemble.

  • Grace F Grace F on Feb 28, 2012
    The chairs at the small kitchen bar are more appropriate in style to the kitchen. Because the chairs are totally upholstered, with no exposed wood, they seem very out of place - more appropriate for a well-defined dining space.. The table is too small to support them. Best idea would be to replace them unless the fabric can be removed from legs and skirt area, and some paint used on that part, then new upholstery in a a small contemporary, basically neutral pattern might work.

  • Nikki Nikki on Feb 28, 2012
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I called Yamini and she's on it as soon as I decide on the fabric for my new kitchen (the pictures here are from my previous home). I'll post some before and after shots when they're all done. Thanks Yamini!

  • Pensacola Accents Pensacola Accents on Feb 28, 2012
    I wouldn't go to the expense of reupholstering the chairs, but slipcovers would look fabulous and are just a fraction of the cost! More than a few of my clients have done this and they love the result. When you want to change the slipcovers. (They're easy to have dry cleaned, so that helps too.)

  • Stacey B Stacey B on Feb 28, 2012
    how about slip covers designed for parson chairs?

  • Marie K Marie K on Feb 28, 2012
    Parson chair slipcovers are a great, cost-effective idea! If you decide to reupholster, check local independents. Many of them are very reasonable compared to a high-end design firm. Either way, think about your current style preferences when choosing the fabric rather than what's "trendy". Your home should reflect your tastes since you are the one who lives there!

  • Yamini is wonderful, they will look great.

  • Gabriel D Gabriel D on Feb 28, 2012
    A way to be versatile is to make slipcovers that cover only down to where the present upholstery ends at the seat frame painted white herei. Finishi off with a border of fringes and tassels at the back legs but not the front ones. Look at your photo showing your kitchen and decide on 1, 2 or 3 colours that stand out and look to combine those you decide on in a small repetitive print. The medium to dark clours is what I would focus on. Thus pulling it all together in a seamless style. Well of course there will be some seams going on but you get the picture! Gabriel D

  • Diana S Diana S on Feb 28, 2012
    Recovering chairs is easy, tho the fan-shape is more difficult. Make a paper pattern by tracing the material, then sew the seams for the fabric, then tack it on & voila... done! The white needs to go!

  • Lynda B Lynda B on Feb 28, 2012
    I agree with several of the previous posts. Seems that you made up your mind to recover the chairs. Microsuede would be a good choice and easy to clean. It looks very contemporary especially in a bright coral color to complement the purple eggplant sofa. I agree that the Barstool seems more pleasing with your decor, but the upholstered chairs do make the small dining area a bit more formal with the open floor plan concept. Please do post the after photos for us to see.

  • Kathy D Kathy D on Feb 28, 2012
    change the fabric

  • i'd use a new fabric to bring some color into the room. As well as complimentary colors make sure you stick with the same shades and tones that you already have in that room. If the chairs are good quality it's worth upholstering them. Also think about the style and whether you want a modern or more traditional look. If you wanted your upholsterer maybe able to give advice and work with the piece to update it.

  • Marg C Marg C on Feb 29, 2012
    I would keep them and re-upholster. many good ideas here for them.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Feb 29, 2012
    I'm glad you're going to reupholster the chairs, for all the reasons Sheri C pointed out, and I know that in Yamini's hands they are going to turn out terrific.

  • Donna P Donna P on Feb 29, 2012
    Reupholster!! Best way to go! Reduce recycle recover

  • Donna P Donna P on Feb 29, 2012
    I reupholster and I would cover them for you for $300

  • Mary H Mary H on Feb 29, 2012
    There are so many beautiful fabrics out there. Reupholster! UNLESS they are not comfortable or broken, wiggly or your mother in law gave them to you and you really deep down hate them.......

  • Laura G Laura G on Feb 29, 2012
    @ShabbyDaze, yes I was inspired from seeing this very cool studio stool, which was done with fabric markers in a "day of dead" style. You can basically make fabric paint out of acrylic paint mixed with textile medium. I've started the process by purchasing the paint and medium and created templates for the cushions. The chairs are black iron with ivory fabric on the seats and a small panel for the back, 2 sides. I'll be ready to start once I finish a mosaic piece I'm working on for a gift. Once that is done, I will definitely share before and after pictures. If I don't like it, I can always reupholster them, but wanted to try it first. The cost is worth the $15 in materials! I have fabric painted before. I created an undersea tote bag for my friend's daughter years ago and she still has it and it's as vibrant as the first day I created it for her.

    • BeckyA BeckyA on Aug 24, 2015
      @Laura G You are dead on! Paining the fabric also gives you the opportunity to experiment with color & even pattern without a huge investment. I've done this several times!

  • Paul N Paul N on Mar 06, 2012
    I would reupholster keeping the colors in your kitchen in mind

  • Donna McCrummen Donna McCrummen on Mar 06, 2012
    Sounds like a fun project Laura. I'll have to try it. Don't forget to post your pictures.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Dec 20, 2014
    Have seen posts where people paint the upholstery.

  • Linda T Linda T on Oct 18, 2015
    I would consider sewing slip covers that could be taken off to clean.

  • Linda Linda on May 11, 2016
    I have the almost identical chairs, minus the 'fan' detail, same fabric also I think! I picked them up years ago and have just put covers on, but always wanted to do something with them. I did not know about fabric painting and removed the fabric from one of the legs with the plan to paint the legs. The wood used, is very cheap and does not look good, but if I paint maybe it won't look so bad ... Who is going to inspect the chair legs?? I thought then that I could purchase some shorter covers. I will be posting my dining room re-do later today. Because I have no idea what to do with my chairs, I am at a loss to advise you.

    • Nikki Nikki on May 11, 2016
      Linda, what a flashback post! I upholstered the chairs several years ago. The pictures are even a flashback of the home I lived in over 5 years ago! Thanks for the memories!

  • Linda Linda on May 11, 2016
    Nikki, what do they look like now?

  • Linda Linda on May 12, 2016
    Oh, they came out beautiful, really lovely, I can't believe you then didn't want them !

    • Nikki Nikki on May 12, 2016
      Indecisive, I know. I ended up keeping them. Eventhough I'm kind of back to thinking I might be ready for different chairs!

  • Linda Linda on May 12, 2016
    ell they

  • Linda Linda on May 12, 2016
    Well they are gorgeous, but we all need a change now and then.

  • Pki7852671 Pki7852671 on Jul 19, 2016
    I would paint them with chalk paint... even add some design!

  • Augie snyder Augie snyder on Jul 20, 2016
    you can get covers for about $4 each on for parsons chairs. since your chairs have a little scallop on the side, may not work, but worth looking at

  • Victoria Victoria on Oct 05, 2016
    The first thing I would do is paint your kitchen cabinets! What a difference it would make. Then, you can just sleepover your chairs in a fabric to coordinate with your new, lighter kitchen. As a professional decorator, I am offering this free advice, but you won't be disappointed with the result.

    • Nikki Nikki on Oct 05, 2016
      Thanks for the suggestion. I actually love my cabinets though, so I ended up replacing the upholstered chairs with seagrass chairs. They look great!

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Oct 28, 2016
    They don't seem to go with anything in your house,I would either get new chairs or recover them if you love them. I would get new ones that are not so light. YOUR sofa is dark and so are your cabinets then you have these really light chairs. MAYBE that's what's bothering you. IF you sew you can do it yourself without removing the existing fabric.