How to Re-Cover Chair Pads


Perhaps you have an old side chair, or found a set of dining chairs at a flea market, but the fabric is outdated or worn. One of the easiest ways to change the look of a chair is to re-cover the chair pads. Because re-covering the pad is such a simple process, you will probably spend more time shopping for the fabric than you will re-covering the chair. In about 30 minutes, you'll have an old chair with a new feel.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Foam pad or batting (optional)
  • Staple gun with 5/16-inch staples
  • Replacement screws
  • Rest the chair on the floor on its back or side. Unscrew the seat from the frame of the chair at each corner. Set the frame aside.

  • Lay your fabric down with the right, or patterned, side down and spread it out flat. Set your foam pad or batting layers down over the fabric, if you want to add a little more cushion to the seat. The padding is optional. Place the chair pad down on the fabric and padding, with the bottom of the pad facing up.

  • Cut the fabric around the outline of the seat, leaving about 4 inches of fabric sticking out on all sides. Starting at the seat front, wrap the fabric up and over to the board. Staple the fabric flat across the front every 2 to 3 inches.

  • Pull the back edge of the fabric around to the board. Staple the same way as you did the front. Fold over each of the sides and secure with staples. Tuck the corners, similar to hospital corners on a bed, and staple.

  • Reattach the seat to the frame using the screws that came out of it, or use new screws if the old ones are in bad condition. Let the screws go through the fabric if there are areas of overlap.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can remove the old cover, if desired, but it is not required and often adds extra padding to the seat. You will usually need a flathead screwdriver and/or pliers to do this. Use the short, 5/16-inch staples, not the standard size. Otherwise you may end up with staple tips sticking up into the seat.

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  • Photo Credit Margaret Telsch-Williams
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