How to reupholster a seat: a 5-step guide

August 13, 2015

The basics of upholstery are easy to learn, so don't hesitate to pick out a fabulous new fabric and refresh that sad old seat. Here's a quick guide on how to do so. 

How to reupholster a seat: a 5-step guide

What you'll need

  • Screwdriver
  • Tack puller
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Pencil and tape measure or ruler
  • Sharp scissors
  • Upholstery tacks
  • Tack hammer or small hammer
  • Paper
  • Dust-cover fabric

1. Prepare the seat

  • Unscrew the seat from its frame and remove all staples or tacks with a tack puller.
  • Check that the seat support is stable and the filling is in good condition, then lay your upholstery fabric upside down on a clean table.
  • Lay the seat on top, also upside down.
  • Cut the fabric, using the seat as a template and allowing several centimetres extra on each side.

2. Tack on the cover

  • Take one side of the fabric and fold it over onto the bottom of the seat, tacking the centre point.
  • Pull the cover just taut, and fold over the fabric on the opposite side, again tacking the centre point.
  • Working from these points, tack outwards on both sides so that your fabric is around to 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) from the seat's edges.

3. Square up your fabric

  • Now tack your fabric on the other two sides.
  • Tap in your tacks so they lie between 2.5 and 5 centimetres (1 and 2 inches) apart, stopping about 7.5 centimetres (3 inches) short of the seat's edges.
  • As before, pull the fabric taut, but not so much that it distorts the weave or wrinkles the fabric.

4. Fold the corners

  • Pull your fabric into a neat corner, smoothing it into a tight fold as you go.
  • Cut away any excess fabric, then tack down the fold, starting at the outside edge and working in.
  • Place the tacks about 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) apart. Be sure to keep the fabric relatively tight as you work.

5. Finish with a dust cover

  • Make a paper template that's the exact shape and size of your seat's bottom.
  • Using your template, cut out a dust cover from your dust cover fabric, then fold the edges under by about 1 centimetre (1/2 inch) and iron them flat.
  • Place the dust cover on the underside of the seat and tack it into place, making sure the tacks go through both layers of the fabric's folded edge.

Follow this handy guide for reupholstering an old seat and you'll be on your way to a lovely new seat.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu