If you have dining or kitchen chairs that are usable but a bit unsightly, or if you're bored with your chairs but don’t have the money to replace them, consider making some inexpensive chair covers.
Covers for Chair Seat Cushions
Sometimes simply covering a chair's seat greatly improves its appearance. To do this, create seat covers from linen napkins. First, center a napkin on a chair seat, folding it to fit around each corner. Pin the napkins in place and use a pen to mark the two points on each corner where the napkin meets. Next, attach a 1/4-inch grommet at each pen mark. Then, simply thread a length of 1/4-inch-wide ribbon about 12 inches long through each pair of grommets and around the chair leg to attach the new cover, tying the ribbons off in bows.
If it’s possible to remove the seat from the chair by unscrewing it from the four legs, then you can make a seat cover out of fabric scraps or remnants. Once the seat is removed, wrap it in a fabric scrap, or you can purchase an inexpensive table cloth for this purpose. Staple the fabric to the bottom of the seat and cut off any excess fabric. Finally, screw the seat back into place.
For an ultra-quick cover, simply place a new loose chair cushion on top of the old one. A thick cushion can serve as a booster chair for small children.
If you need to hide the legs of the chair, cut an old bed skirt to fit around the bottom of the seat and serve as an apron. Staple the apron to the seat or use hook-and-loop fasteners to attach it.
Covers for Chair Seatbacks
You can make inexpensive chair seatback covers out of felt. After deciding how far down the back of the chair you want the slipcover to hang, measure from that point up to the top of the chair and over and down to the seat. Then, measure the width of the seatback at its widest point and add that measurement to the thickness of the seatback, plus 1 inch for the seams (1/2 inch for each side). Cut a piece of felt to fit your measurements and fold the felt over the chair, pinning the sides in place. Remove the felt cover and either sew or glue the sides with fabric glue. If sewn, turn the cover inside out to hide the stitches. Decorate with more felt cutouts, buttons, bows, flowers, or anything else that fits your decor, and attach with fabric glue.
To make a decorative chair cover for special occasions, purchase bulk tulle in 54-inch widths. Tie it to the seatback and cut it to the desired length with scissors (just to where it touches the floor is a good length). Secure the knot where you tied the tulle with a safety pin. Carefully pull the edge of the tulle over the chair and tuck it behind the knot. You can also attach flowers or other ornaments to the knot.
For the easiest project of all, simply slip large pillowcases over the backs of chairs and you have instant slipcovers. You can also use T-shirts in the same way, using either matching shirts or a variety to create a casual, fun look.