Recovering Chair Seats: 101

I would imagine that most of you have recovered chair seats sometime during your decorating life, haven’t you?

If not, today is your day to learn how easy this project is.  I have recovered my share of chair seats and it really is as easy as cutting fabric to fit and stapling.  Nothing to it.  An electric stapler works great but if you only have a regular one, that’s fine too.

This is the first step to changing out the fabrics in my kitchen and I’m excited to get this part done.  Then it will be on to the window treatment, which might take a bit longer than this project did.  I’m not so good with sewing. 🙂

First things first.  Make sure you iron your new fabric really well. You want all those creases out before you start stapling. Unscrew the seats from your chairs and start taking off the old fabric.  This fabric is almost 9 years old and as much as I’ve enjoyed it, a change will be refreshing. A screw driver and needle nose pliers are helpful for getting out all the staples.  Get your staple gun ready to work! Once all those staples are out, you can pull off the old fabric. You’re left with the foam and batting underneath, ready for the new fabric. Bye-bye bunny fabric!  You can see this fabric has some wear after this many years. Use the old fabric to cut the new piece.  Sit the chair seat on top and start working your way around the 4 sides of the seat cushion and pull that fabric nice and taut, stapling along the way. recovering chair seatsIt’s best to start on one side, then move straight across to the other side, pulling the fabric taut and adding staples as you go.  Do the first 2 sides and then move around to the other 2 sides.  Then, you just keep pulling your fabric and stapling until you get to the corners.

recovering chair seatsOnce everything is in place and stapled well, I simply fold the corner down into a pleat and staple on top.  You really don’t have to worry too much about getting this perfect, it will look just fine once it’s back on the chair.

How in the world did my mother’s hands get in my pics? 🙂 recovering chair seats

And here’s the seat all ready to put back on the chair, all swankified with new fabric. recovering chair seatsLooking good!  You can see I wasn’t 100% careful with keeping my fabric straight.  Ooops, should have paid a little more attention, but since I’m not a perfectionist, I can live with this little flaw.  I really don’t think anyone will notice once they’re all back on the chairs. Screw the screws back in and you’re all done with this one.  I did add a little piece of white lining fabric on top of my new fabric, since I had already cut them the last time.  Just reused and this gives a little more finished look.  Not that anyone is going to look under your chairs.  Let’s hope not! 🙂 Four screws will get your seat back on tight. recovering chair seatsAnd there you have one finished chair.  I had 4 to do and now this part of my little kitchen update is done.  YAY! Let’s see how they are going to look with the black table.  I love the contrast of this new sunny yellow fabric with my black chairs.  You can see that I have 2 arm chairs and 2 without arms.  I bought these chairs unfinished years ago and they started out stained until I painted them black .  I chose to mix it up with 2 and 2 when I went with this round table and I like the variety. Very pretty. I painted these chairs about 9 years ago too and they have held up just great.  You can read how I did those hereA fresh new fabric will update every single time.  Done! I still have the red fabric up, but in a short while I’ll have a new window treatment in here too.   Excited about a new look. New fabric for old chairs.  I’ve got some fun new things going on here with my antique buffet too that I can’t wait to share with you soon.   I’m experimenting with lighter plates on the walls and those ferns that I dried will play a major role in here too. 🙂   I found a new shade for my bunny lamp.  A cute burlap shade at a yardsale.  Love how it gives a nice update too. A lot of this is moving around and changing too.  It’s fun to move things to get a fresh look. In case you missed the post on Decor Longevity, I talked about how long I usually keep fabrics before changing them out.  Usually between 8-10 years is about the norm for me.

So, these are the new fabrics I’ll be using in the kitchen and I’m SO excited to see it all come together. I’ve bought a board and am planning to make a window treatment stapled on the board, so fingers crossed that it comes out like I’m envisioning.

I think this white background and those yummy colors will really brighten it up in there! And I hope you learned something on recovering chair seats, if you haven’t tried this one yet.

Once I get all of this together, I’ll share my thought process on how I decided on these fabrics without changing my green wall paint.  That is staying and I’m only changing out fabrics and moving a few things around.

Are you in the market for some fun new fabrics?  Fabrics can really change a room from stale to fresh in a snap.

- Rhoda


  1. Love the new chair look! You do such good work – I truly had to go back and really look at the picture to see it was not EXACTLY lined up. No one is going to notice that. They’ll be more interested in your company than the lines of the chair.

  2. You’ve got me going now! I have two different chairs in my garage and I just need to find the right fabric. Joann’s has 50% off all home decor fabric this week so I’m going to do it today! Can’t wait to see what you do with your windows! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love the new look of your chairs! I had that very same red rabbit/tureen fabric on my diningroom chairs many years ago. I still love that fabric but like you, I wanted a change. I also have several pieces of the green majolica repros and still love them too.
    Your diningroom is so pretty.


  4. Love that new fabric on the black! I also loved that red bunny fabric from years ago, but I agree completely about time to change. The new mix is so fresh and bright, can’t wait to see it all together.

  5. Hi Rhoda,
    These did turn out cute. Such a fresh, easy update! All of the fabrics you’re planning to use are just wonderful.
    I am in the market for some new curtain panels. I just ordered some chocolate/white peacock toile for my kitchen/breakfast area. I can’t wait to see it. It should arrive today!

  6. I really like your new chair fabric. I am getting ready to change out the fabric on my dining room chairs. I have never bought fabric before so I have to start by figuring out out how much fabric to buy 🙂

  7. I found your blog from Lisa Leonard! I love it! Can’t wait to see what else I get to read about!

  8. I will miss the bunnies, but am excited to see what the rest of the room will look like all put together. You are reminding me that I need to change out my dining room chair fabric before Thanksgiving. It was meant to be a temporary fix when I bought the chairs (they had ugly fabric and I just ran to the fabric store and grabbed something), and I need to pick a prettier fabric.

  9. Thanks Rhoda for the tips, I love your new fabric…the window treatment will look great too…and yes, I have been thinking of updating my bedroom. I need to paint a bureau, a sidetable, rethink the lamps and curtains – on and on! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Looking sharp, Rhoda!

    I love your bunny fabric, but this is fun for a change. And I’m crazy about that tropical looking botanical (it looks kind of tropical to me) that you’re using for curtains. I need to recover some chairs, and I’ve been putting it off. You just inspired me!


    Sheila 🙂

  11. Hi Rhoda!

    The yellow is fresh and fun and looks wonderful in your adorable kitchen.

    Happy fall,

  12. Love the new fabrics you picked, and the chairs look so great!

  13. Love the fabric on these chair frames! Great combo. This is one of my favorite projects to do, easy and can completely update the look of a room! Janell

  14. I love all your fabrics, especially the seat fabric. I have a sample of it in orange that I’ve been hoping to use somewhere. Can’t wait to see your valance !

  15. Love the new fabric, great choice! Goes so well with the dark wood.

  16. Rhoda the new fabric is perfect against the black of your breakfast table. I love the new look!! Great changes in the works!

    I have a new Giveaway from Metis Linens, do come and enter!!

    Art by Karena

  17. I love the new fabric with those chairs. So beautiful! All the rooms in your house are so graceful and beautiful. Youv’e done a lovely job!

  18. Oh yeah. I’m feeling it – a nice mood lifting cheerful update. Great fabric choice.


  19. Rhoda, I remember when you recovered your chairs with the bunny fabric….has it really been that long? Love the new fabric and can’t wait to see all the changes you have planned for your kitchen. Your table and chairs are beautiful too :o)

  20. I love your bunny print fabric but I agree a change after 8 to 10 years is nice. You have a lovely kitchen – I like how you put it all together. I’m looking forward to seeing your new look.

  21. Looks Great Rhoda! Love the new fabric! Can’t wait to see what else you are up to.

    If you want to sell the window treatment you are replacing, please let me know!!

    Lou Cinda 🙂

    • Hey, Lou Cinda, someone already spoke up for the old window treatment as soon as I mentioned I was changing it out. She is buying the old treatment and my old rug too. I’m glad it’s all going to a good home. 🙂

      • hi i have the same staple gun as you but cant find staples for it anywhere, and i dont no the size im looking for, pleeease can u help Rgds Tom

  22. Love love love that fabric Rhoda! Tonic Living right? Perfect pattern and shade of yellow. Fabulous tutorial ! If anyone ever asks me about recovering a chair seat, I’ll just send them over to you!!

  23. LOVE your fabric choice, Rhoda!!! It’s just yummy. 🙂 Great tutorial!

  24. Your chairs look great, Rhoda! I like the yellow with the black. I can’t wait to see all of your new fabrics in action! I’m feeling an itch for new pillows in my LR for the winter. You may have inspired me to do a quick change!

  25. I recovered a vanity stool this past summer and you’re tutorial is spot on. Great and simple explanations for everything. PS – Love the fabric for your chairs!

  26. what a difference 10years makes! I love the new fabric. And I am really loving the chandelier. I’m going to save that picture of it.

  27. This tutorial couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks so much! Your chairs look lovely and I can’t wait to see what you do with those fabrics.

  28. Your new decor is going to be gorgeous and I’m looking forward to seeing it. I like the fabrics and I really like your new seat covers, that was an excellent tutorial!
    Thanks, Cindy

  29. How fun for you…love the new look and pretty easy at that. Can’t wait to see the rest of the redecorating project.

  30. Rhonda! That is some kind of crazy coincidence because I just recovered my chairs this weekend!!!! I could have used your post a few times to help me along the way, but I did manage to get them all done and featured it on my latest post! Too weird! We must be kindred spirits! 🙂

  31. Great job on the chairs; & the fabric looks fabulous!

    I know it’s going to look amazing!! 🙂

  32. HI Rhoda, the new fabric is perfect with the black chairs and table! I love your selection of fabrics, can’t wait to see the window treatment!

  33. I love that new fabric on your chairs and can’t wait to see the window treatments!

  34. Thank you for your fabric recovering tutorial! It came at a perfect time for me as I am attempting my first chair tonight. This was very helpful. I love your yellow fabric. It’s a nice fresh look with your black chairs. Your dining room looks lovely!

  35. I have wanted to redo our chairs for so long but have put it off until we decide what color to paint the room. I guess I need to just do it then take my paint cue from the fabric! : )

  36. You make it look so easy, with your great step-by-step photos, Rhoda. Thank you for inspiring me! This looks like something I could tackle. In fact, I had my eye on a beautiful old chair at a thrift store recently and this would work well with that.

    SO glad I found your blog!

  37. I never would have noticed that the fabric wasn’t “exactly” lined up if you hadn’t said anything…and even then, I had to look really hard to find what you were talking about!

    I love the bright, sunny yellow with the black furniture! (I will admit, I will miss the red bunny fabric, though…haha)

  38. I love the yellow with the black furniture! I noticed that you also have a white painted piece, and a stained wood piece in the room. How do you decide what pieces should be painted, and what should be stained wood?

    We are in the middle of a redo in the master bedroom; our new bed is black, but we’re undecided on the bedside tables. Have any hints? (Also, newly painted yellow walls, yellow floral drapes, white bed linens)

    • AD, I think there are no hard & fast rules on mixing pieces in a room. I just sort of do it by visual. Since I had a black table & chairs & the antique wood buffet, when I added that corner cabinet, I just felt it needed to be creamy white. I have all white cabinets and that seemed to bring some brightness to that corner that black or another color would not have. So, I try to balance out the mix. I do love a painted piece in every room.

      I definitely think you could mix it up with your black bed. Why not do the nightstands in creamy white to keep it interesting? Maybe stick to black and cream.

  39. You did a great job! They look wonderful, and I love the look and colors of the whole area – thank you so much for sharing. You have inspired me to do the same to my dining room chairs, they are sadly in need!

  40. What a great way to create a new look! I love your fabric choice, it looks great with your black table!


  41. I remember the first time I changed fabrics…I thought it was going to be SOOOOO hard….it’s one of those easy, easy things to do !!!

    I once did a whole room around pillows I bought for the couch, when it alls comes together like you had in mind “it’s a beautiful thing”. I get the wild hair and hubby just goes along for the ride, bless his heart. He is away on business right now and the last thing he said was “please Kath let me recognize the house when I get home” LOL Honestly this time I have nothing BIG planned. Operative word BIG !! 🙂

    It’s always nice to change out a few things in a space…it makes one smile. You should be smiling very soon .

    All the best,
    Kathy 🙂

  42. Looooooooooooooooove your site! I SOOOOOO love the fact that you have incorporated a piece of your Faith in God into your site! Im a Blogging newbie and one thing I do is a daily Verse…so nice to see that with others too.
    I have a GIVEAWAY going on , to be announced winner Thursday, maybe you could visit my blog and give me some feedback…have a BLESSED day…

  43. Your kitchen looks so warm and welcoming, Rhoda. Love it! The new chair fabric is perfect, too. So pretty. 🙂

  44. It’s been AGES since I’ve recovered chair pads, but in looking at yours I’m getting tons of ideas. Maybe I’ll find a use for some of the gorgeous fabric I’ve been hoarding. Yes!

  45. Loving the new look!!! Can’t wait to see it all finished.

  46. I really love what you did. It looks awesome! What a change. I recently re-covered our dinning table seats. I love how our turned out too. This was my first time ever doing anything like this. Stop by and take a peep if you get a chance at

  47. LOVE that fabric! What print is it?
    And great job on the recovering!

  48. What color/brand is this kitchen? I absolutely LOVE it. You have inspired me like I cant even tell you.

    • HI, Lindsey, that kitchen paint is Laura Ashley Olive 4 and you can find it at Lowes. Great color, thanks so much for reading!

  49. I just found this post on PINTEREST and wanna say thanks. I’ve always wanted to do a chair seat and thought it couldn’t be too difficult, but have never had the nerve to try it. Now, Im ready to go find some fabric TODAY, to do my first chair. Oh, and wish I could get your ‘hand-me-down’ window treatment. I love it.
    Hey, Im new to blogland, only 3 weeks in……..sooooo, COME VISIT ME AND FOLLOW. Thanks again.

  50. Samantha says:

    Thanks for this “How-To” information! I’ve been looking at many DIY chair recovering pages across the Web and this one really helps me because you said you’re not a perfectionist and you can live with it…that’s how I feel too! I want to recover my dining chairs and bench, and my desk chair in something sweet and “shabby chic” and now I feel like I really can take on this project.

    Now I need to decide what fabric will be best…and should I match the desk chair with the dining chairs? They are different sets but I thought it would be a fun way to tie the room together. Hmmm…

  51. I’m totally loving that yellow/gold with those black chairs! Of course, being a native GA girl too, I tend to gravitate to anything that has Georgia Tech colors in it 🙂

  52. Love this tutorial. Look so easy and can’t wait to try on a table and chair set I just got to refinish. Just curious how much fabric was needed for The four chairs?

    • Courtney, just from memory, you need about 1/2 yard for one chair seat, depending on the pattern. If you have to center a pattern, it might change things. If it’s a small pattern, you could probably get away with less than 1/2 yard.

  53. Wow! Great job. I just redid some outdoor chairs for my back porch, and this makes me want to do other things. Beautiful job on all of it!


  1. DIY Tuesday says:

    […] your seating than re-cover your seat cushions.  Rhoda at Southern Hospitality gives a complete tutorial on how to do it.  I really love the fabric she chose.  I may have to find out where she bought […]

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