How to Recover a Dining Room Seat Cushion


Like all household furniture, the upholstery on your dining room chairs will eventually wear out. You may wish to replace the chairs before the fabric wears out, due to changing tastes or fashions. However, purchasing a new set of chairs every time home decorating fashion changes or the fabric gets stained will put a serious dent in your bank account. A much more economical option is to recover the seat cushions yourself. With only a few yards of fabric and a few tools, you will have dining room chairs that look like new.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Foam padding, optional
  • High-strength adhesive, optional
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Look at the screws holding the seat on the dining room chair to determine the type of screwdriver you will need. Unscrew the screws and put them in a safe place. Remove the seat from the chair.

  • Turn the seat over and use the needle-nose pliers to remove the staples holding the old fabric to the seat. Remove the old fabric and set it aside.

  • Evaluate the condition of the seat padding. If the padding is in good condition, you do not need to replace it. If it is not, cut a piece of foam to the same dimensions as the old cushion. If you like, you can cut the new foam to a different height. Taller foam will result in softer cushions, and shorter foam will result in firmer cushions. Remove the old padding from the seat if you are replacing the foam, and glue the new foam in place with high-strength adhesive.

  • Cut a new piece of fabric to the same dimensions as the old fabric. If you added height to the cushion, add twice the additional height of the cushion to either dimension of the fabric. For example, if the old fabric measured 16 inches by 16 inches, and you added 1 inch to the height of the cushion, you would cut a piece of fabric measuring 18 inches by 18 inches.

  • Lay the fabric face-down on a flat surface. Center the seat, cushion side down, on the fabric.

  • Pull the middle point of one side of the fabric over the cushion and board and staple in place. Staple the fabric 1 inch away from the first staple on the left and on the right. Continue in this manner until you have stapled the whole side, except for 2 inches at each corner. Repeat on the opposite side of fabric, and then on the two remaining sides.

  • Lay a corner of fabric flat, folding the excess fabric underneath the fabric on the sides. Staple in place. Repeat on the remaining corners.

  • Screw the completed seat in place on the dining room chair.

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  • Photo Credit chairs image by Jorge Casais from
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