Do it Yourself Upholster a Lounge Chair


Your favorite lounge chair: perhaps it was brand-new, purchased secondhand or passed down to you as an heirloom. In its prime, it was the fashion statement and furniture accent of the room. Lounging over the years has taken its toll on the chair's upholstery, now tattered from fading, stains and wear and tear. If you cannot find a comparable substitute for your lounge chair without paying a pretty penny to have it custom-made, do it yourself. Upholster a lounge chair with new fabrics for a new look.

Remove the Old

  • Find a small opening between the chair's backing and frame to pry apart the upholstery covering. Carefully remove any staples, tacks, nails or screws as you remove the fabric. Remember where the screws go and pay attention to how the chair is covered as you uncover it for later on (when you're putting the chair back together). Try to keep your fabric intact as it will serve as an easy pattern for your new upholstery fabric.

Check the Structure and Filling

  • Now that you're down to the bare bones, check the condition of the filling and batting. Replace if they are worn down, and if not, that's one less step to carry out. You may also want to make your seat cushions thicker for a more luxurious lounging experience. Overstuff your seat and backing with extra batting before covering with the upholstery fabric.

Working with Upholstery Fabric

  • If you were able to salvage the old upholstery fabric, then you have a ready-made pattern to follow for your fabric cutouts. If you're working from scratch, use a few old bedding sheets or a roll of Kraft packaging paper to make your own pattern. Smooth the sheet or paper over the seat, back and side surfaces, pin to the edge into the filling to hold in place and determine if your fabric will fold over and under the frame or end at the edge. Cut to the size, leaving an allowance for stapling or tacking the fabric into the frame.

    Refine your pattern once all of your pieces are cut. Make sure each piece is properly labeled and all edges are evenly cut. Make sure that the pattern pieces are not too small to fit over the seat and backrest filling before cutting your expensive upholstery fabrics.

    Lay out your fabrics and pin your pattern pieces to the fabric, making sure to orient them in the same direction so that your fabric's designs are neatly lined up on both the seat and the lounge chair back. Cut your pieces out, preferably ordered according to your upholstery steps.

Finish the Lounge Chair

  • There are basic, as well as more advanced, techniques for upholstering a lounge chair. The key is to work with patience and precision, taking your time as you cover the chair. Work one section at a time, starting with the most difficult-to-reach part, and work your way out. Attach one side of the fabric in place at the middle, pull the fabric taut to the other side and attach this side in the middle as well. Next, work the other two sides in the same manner, then attach the rest of the covering from the sides' centers out to the corners on all sides. Fold the fabric neatly into the corners and secure.

    If your fabrics are folded over and under the sides, conceal the edges by stretching fabric over the voided space of the chair's underside and securing with staples. To trim fabrics that end on the top edge of the seat, cut the excess fabric off near the line of attachment and use trims to hide the fabric edge. Piping and decorative upholstery trims offer many options for the desired finished look of your lounge chair.

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