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A Change Would Do You Good

I was wandering through Goodwill back in 2012, and a couple of chairs caught my eye.  The upholstery fabric was a terrible pastel 80s pattern, ripped and torn in spots, but the color of the wood and the line of the chair itself were really striking.  There were just two, marked at $3 each, and I pointed them out to Dave.  “Really?” he said, wrinkling his nose.

“Yes!  We can totally change the fabric.  I love them.  They’re only three bucks – come on.”

Dave is the one with the reupholstery experience; once I got him to look at the chairs themselves and not the horrific fabric, he was sold.

We decided to use them with our double computer desk; we were trying to streamline everything and get away from the big, bulky office chairs we were currently using.

I found some fabric that I loved (as Portlandia encourages, we Put a Bird on It) and the chairs served us well.  It’s been four years, though, and they get heavy daily use.  The fabric was getting worn away and faded; it was really not upholstery fabric to begin with, just some good-quality cotton.  Time for an update.  I conveniently had a large piece of actual upholstery fabric that I’d picked up a couple years ago for $1 at Goodwill.  (Can you tell I love that store?)  It’s been in the closet waiting for a chance to shine, and this was that chance.


When I tell people that we reupholstered these chairs (and the kitchen chairs), I usually get a dramatic reaction along the lines of, “Wow!  I could never do that!”  But really, it’s so easy.  Like, stupidly easy.  I’m gonna show you how.

These chairs are super simple – just four screws on the bottom of the chair that hold the seat in place.  We flipped the chair over and removed the screws, then took off the seat itself.

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The fabric is simply stapled to the bottom of the seat.  We decided to just put the new fabric right on top of what was already there, but you could certainly take off the old fabric first if you wanted to.


Lay out your new fabric and lay the seat on top.  (I wanted to make sure certain flowers were in the center area of the seat, so I have the fabric right-side up.)  Once you get your placement figured out, cut around the seat and leave at least three inches of extra fabric (more is better; you can always cut it off).  If you removed the original fabric, you could also use that as a guide – just cut a new piece of fabric that matches it in width and length.


Fold over your cut edge, then bring it around to the bottom of the seat and staple in place.  Don’t pull too tight, but also don’t leave it so loose that the fabric wrinkles.


Staple every inch or so, all the way around the bottom.

Screw the seat back onto the chair, and there you have it.


The possibilities are endless!

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