How to Replace a Chair Cushion


Changing a chair cushion can be fun and rewarding. There are two types of chair cushions: one is upholstered onto the chair with welting and the other can be unscrewed from the bottom and then popped off. The upholstered chair pad is a more challenging project and is better left in the hands of a professional upholsterer. The pop-up seat is less complicated, and with a few steps can be changed easily.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Upholstery staples
  • Screwdriver
  • Turn the chair upside down and remove the screws holding the cushion onto the chair. Some cushions will have webbing on the underside; peel back the webbing to expose the bottom of the cushion and screws. The webbing is not important and can be permanently removed.

  • Remove the staples on the back of the cushion and pull off the fabric, exposing the foam cushion. Unless the cushion has mold or is very old, leave the cushion intact.

  • Measure out a piece of upholstery weight fabric by laying it over the cushion, or, depending on the size of the seat bottom, consulting a fabric chart may be of assistance. It is crucial to have enough fabric to wrap around and staple to the back of the seat. If you are covering more than one chair and the fabric has a pattern on it, make sure that you match the chairs to each other; this is where the yardage chart can really come in handy.

  • Once the fabric is cut and centered on the cushion, turn it over and begin to staple it to the wood or plywood back. Pay attention to the corners of the chair cushion, because they will need to be folded, almost like wrapping a present. Do not cover the screw holes with the fabric.

  • Screw the newly upholstered cushion back onto the chair seat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Upholstery weight fabric is heavier than drapery fabric and can withstand much use. If the chair is more for a decorative purpose, then drapery weight fabric is fine. When upholstering chairs for the first time it is better to start out with a solid fabric or one that has a consistent pattern. Pattern matching can get a little tricky.
  • Not all fabric stain repellent; this may be something to look into before purchasing the fabric.

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  • Photo Credit meeting room image by Oleg Kulakov from chairs image by Jorge Casais from fabric texture image by Andrejs Pidjass from
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