How to Recover a Dining Chair Cushion With Fabric

May 10, 2010

How to recover a seat cushion with new fabric.

I thought it was high time I showed you the after of the chair I redid for our local IndyStyle show last month! It was quite the transformation -- from totally-disgusting-I-can’t-believe-I’m-touching-this to I would totally sit my behind on that!

I didn’t take pictures of the whole process but luckily I’ve shown you how to do this before, so I stole pics from this old post. ;)

Let’s start with the obligatory before picture:
how to recover a kitchen chair
It was only $3.99 at Goodwill and I thought the lines of it were lovely – I knew I could make it beautiful!

Here’s a closer picture of the seat:
how to recover a dining chair

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I lightly sanded the chair to start. And when I say lightly, I mean -- quick like a rabbit because I HATE sanding.

Then I wiped it down, and used a spray primer to get in all the nooks.
I let it cure for a day, then used my Heirloom White spray paint to finish it off -- just one coat was all I needed with the primer as the base!

Because the foam on the old chair was pretty much non-existent, I cut out some new foam by just taking the seat off (unscrew from the bottom) then, laying it on foam and tracing it out like I showed you last year:

I sprayed the foam and the wood seat with spray adhesive, then just placed the foam on top of the wood. Usually I use batting next, and staple it underneath the seat to secure it:
how to reupholster a dining chair
For this seat I used extra muslin I had laying around -- it’s way cheaper than batting and does the job! You just want anything that will hold the foam in place.

Then you do the same process with your fabric -- stapling around the bottom. (Again, this pic is from an old post):
recover dining chair
Be sure to leave enough fabric all the way around so you can’t see the edge of it when you put it back on the chair. Like this:

Not this:
how to change fabric on kitchen chair

I’ve made the mistake a couple times. Learn from my mistakes!

I picked out a really fun, funky fabric for the seat -- you need very little to cover a chair! It now sits in our master closet:
easy chair redo
No, that’s not our closet -- I tried to find a good spot to take a picture after dark and it just doesn’t exist. Sorry for the fantastically awful pictures!

The new light color shows off the pretty lines of the chair:
recover a chair with new fabric
And the seat fabric is perfectly precious and it’s got some cush for the tush now as well. Perfect spot to put on socks in the closet. :)

So here’s this month’s before and after for your viewing pleasure:

before chair redo

My $6 chair -- $4 for the chair, $2 for the fabric. (I had the foam, spray paint and muslin.):
dining chair redo with paint and fabric
Way cuter, right?

It takes some time but you can completely update a chair with some fabric and spray paint!

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  1. Did I do it right???? I tried to link up!

  2. I love the fabric on the chair.

  3. That chair is really cute now! I lurve it.(Did I spell that right?) It is really cute. Why can't I ever find anything with good bones at the Goodwill?

  4. The chair was a bargain! I love what you did with it. The chair looks great - love the finish & the fabric.

  5. Love your chair makeover. Thanks for hosting a fun party!

  6. Sarah, I love it. You have once again done a fabulous job!! You are amazing.

  7. Somehow I feel certain heaven will be painted in Heirloom White.. love the chair! And thanks so much for hosting!

  8. Hello sweet Sarah - thank you for hosting this fun party. It's my first time! I enjoyed writing this post about my dining room before/after.

    Love your chair! The fabric is fabulous. I use Heirloom White on just about everything!


  9. You make everything look so easy, Sarah. This tutorial made me think even I might be able to give a chair a makeover like yours someday. :-)

    Thanks for hosting this fun Before & After party!

  10. What a bargin! Great makeover! Thank you so much for hosting.

  11. great choice of fabric sarah! and thanks for the chance to share my before/after (i hope i did it right!)

  12. What an amazing transformation. I have always passed up chairs...well because ..your "grody" picture explains it all! =) Now seeing your completed chair makes me re-think. Love the fabric and the white..simply fabulous! Thanks for the inspiration! {and hosting!} ~ Stephanie Lynn

  13. I love your chair. Awesome job.

    I have to say though, I am SUPER jealous! I have these dreams of re-doing a chair of my own..painting it black with a zebra print seat. Too bad all the chairs at my thrift store are still crazy expensive. I found one almost exactly like yours and they want $30 for it! Insanity!!!

  14. That's awesome. I totally love the fabric that you chose. I am thinking that I'm going to start looking for chairs. :)

  15. Goodness, that's a fun chair! Love it!

  16. Those chairs turned out great! The fabric really makes them and the white paints give them a timeless look. Nice work, as always.

  17. I love the fabric you chose and the chair looks perfect white. Thanks for hosting a fun party.

  18. Oh my lands... did you just say that chair sits in your closet?! That's an awesome idea. 2nite I am going to take all the clothes and shoes out of our closet and put a chair in there instead.

    I just love this tutorial, cause i have 4 barstools and 2 chairs that are lookin' to get major overhauls here soon! How about turquoise barstools? Yes. Ok.

    Don't tell The Manchild, he will never agree to it. Must be done while he is out of town.

    Must be wearing lingerie when he sees the turquoise chairs for the first time.



  19. I love the lines also! What a great choice of fabric too....Beautiful Job Miss Sarah!

  20. love your work my friend.
    well done

  21. Soooo pretty, Sarah! Love the light and bright you've created. Such a fun fabric!

    Thanks for hosting!

  22. Very pretty chair makeover! Who is the fabric designer?
    Also, when you say 'grody', do you mean 'grotty', or is grody a common term from your region?


    keep the inspiration coming!

  23. Ooh, i love it, it's so pretty!

    I don't think your photos are "fantastically awful" I love the tiling round the fireplace :)


  24. Great update! What a difference some paint and fabric make.

  25. I do like! Love the lines of the chair and what a great fabric you chose! So glad you saw beyond the grody factor.

  26. Oh my goodness, true story. I have that BEFORE fabric sitting in my closet. I can't even remember why I bought it! LOL! Or that's I'd even admit it to you. Ha! Ha!. The chair looks fabulous now.

  27. I am loving the fabric you chose...very pretty, you did a nice job!

  28. Great job! Thanks for the tute!

  29. It looks great! I really need to tackle covering our chairs in the dining room. About how much fabric do you need?

  30. LOVE IT...or as you would say Lurve it:)
    Thanks for the hosting party!!!

  31. Awesome job! That chair was a great find & it looks so beautiful now. :-)

  32. Sarah, that chair looks divine now. How cool is it when you can afford to have a chair that looks so awesome in your closet?!? That's the beauty of thrifting and DIY!

    I linked up my own chair transformation. . . well, actually they're barstools, but I think they still qualify as chairs. They're in my kitchen, not my closet, but I couldn't be happier with them.

    Before and After is SO MUCH FUN! Thank you for hosting this party.

  33. Sarah, the chair wowed me with the white "after". 100% better! And congratulations on your retro "grody" word usage. What a nice beginning to my Tuesday!

  34. What do you find to be the perfect paint for furniture? Glossy, Flat, or Semi-Gloss? I'm always befuddled.


  35. What a great find at $3.99!! The close up shot is actually not too bad. That chair has great bones!

    I shared my own chair redo with McLinky. The fabric was icky before I started, luckily the original chair fabric was covered over right away so the base material was pristine.

    I love how quicky a chair can be changed with some new, pretty fabric. :) Great job!


    P.S. I've got a great stationery giveaway if you or your readers are interested:

  36. Love that chair and it's lines! I sometimes shy away from chairs with cushions at the G-Dub, but thanks for reminding me how simple it is! I'm on the hunt!!

    Thanks for hosting, Sarah! Have a great day. :)
    -Ann Marie

  37. Love the chair makeover. Beautiful! I am on the hunt for a chair for our master bedroom (creating a sitting area). I am sure just the right chair will show up eventually. :-)

  38. i love the details on the chair back. fantastic job!

  39. That chair looks fabulous! I love the fabric you chose. :)
    Thanks for hosting the party. I linked up my master bedroom before and after. It was so much work, I just had to link it up to another party! :)

  40. when you get a minute can you tell the color of the spray paint used on the chair? thanks so much!

  41. OMG! I totally just bought that same chair (different seat covering) and redid it! I got it from our thrift shop for $ got a better deal! I sprayed mine hot pink and did a black and white floral print cushion...for my sewing room! too cute! i LOOOOVE yours!

  42. Lovvve it! I would link up, but I'm home with a sick child and not sure I can do a "project" today! You're chair is beautiful, I did that once, but yours is better! ;)

  43. you make it look so easy! love it.

  44. Cute chair! I am so excited!!! I was driving down my street this morning and a funky, ugly chair was out waiting for the trash pick up. I grabbed it and stuffed it in my car. I can't wait to make it over -- I wish I had it done in time for your party!!


  45. I have been following your blog for about a year now, and your projects always inspire me. The downside is that I didn't come from a creative family, I don't have a stash of spray paint, adhesive, primer, fabric, so anything I would re-do ends up costing me more initially. FF to yesterday. Whilst we were on a family bike ride around the neighborhood, we spotted a yard with 4 dining room chairs on the curb marked with a "FREE" sign. The chairs have outdated fabric on them, and the the wood doesn't match our table, but at least they haven't been broken, and glued back together seventyhundred times. Anyway, I had to come back, find this post, and tell you that I was inspired enough to snatch (or have my husband drive over with the van and snatch, but who cares about those details?) those chairs up, and they are now sitting in my garage waiting for their makeover (my very first DIY project!). Thank you for providing the creative boost I needed because without it, I'm sure I'd still be admiring from afar! :-)


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