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DIY Idea: Heather Teaches How to Reupholster a Chair

If you’re like me, furniture of substantial quality is not in the budget. Most of my furniture is from IKEA and was put together questionably… often with pieces left over after it was all said and done. When an alumni group at Baylor University was selling off old furniture, I jumped at the chance to get some great pieces for pennies.

For only $5, I became the proud owner of a tulip-covered wingback chair. For years it’s been sitting in my house with a tan slipcover clumsily draped around it. A few weeks ago, I decided to step up to the plate and give reupholstering the good ol’ college try.

Before we get started, one area not to overlook when restoring old furniture is professional upholstery cleaning. Upholstery cleaning can preserve the fabric's color, appearance, and texture. To clean an old piece of furniture you love and keep any piece of furniture looking new, contact the Rainbow International professionals for regular upholstery cleaning. Also, ask about overspray protection, another option used to protect furniture and keep it looking new.

And now let’s get to work on our reupholstering project! 

I purchased this great black and white home décor fabric at Joann’s with a 60% off coupon. You really need a thicker fabric for a project like this, and it’s normally around $10 a yard. Shop around and hit the Internet for coupons. I also purchased black trim to edge the arms and sides of the chair as well as the cushion. I already had a staple gun, but you’ll need that too.

The first thing to do is break apart the chair. Seriously. After about 15 minutes struggling with screws that wouldn’t budge, I decided to re-strategize. I instead used a seam ripper and scissors to remove the tulip fabric and determine which pieces would be able to “hide” any staples. I started with the front of the seat. Lay a piece of fabric right side down on top of the seat where the cushion would go. Line up the edge with the seam and staple the fabric to the chair. Flip the fabric forward so it’s right side up and pull taught. Staple underneath the chair to attach and hide the staples.

Use the same method for the arms and sides of the chair. I did the back panel last – it came off of the rest of the chair so I just “wrapped” it and used the staple gun to attach. There were a few places on the chair where staples were exposed, but if you are careful and put them on seams, you can cover them with trim.

I used black trim attached with… a hot glue gun. Unconventional, I know. But my purpose in covering this chair was strictly for superficial reasons. It needs to be usable and beautiful, not expensive and perfect!

To cover the cushion, I just used the existing cover as a pattern to cut and sew a new one.

So next time you have a piece of furniture that you want to repurpose, don’t be afraid to just give it a go! I didn’t quite upholster in a conventional way, but I love the outcome and that’s really all that matters!

On a closing note, keeping up with cleaning and deodorizing of a home or apartment is a full-time job. While I can tackle the regular, day-to-day cleaning tasks on my own, I recommend giving the professionals at Rainbow International a call for a professional cleaning of your carpet, air ducts, or hard surfaces. A clean fresh home or apartment is a great thing, and what better way to display your awesome new reupholstered chair!