DIY Upholstered Dining Room Chairs

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Our dining room table was one of the very first pieces of furniture we bought when we got married. We splurged on this table and found some simple dining room chairs to go with it. They were a super clearance find at Ikea and matched the angled legs of our table pretty darn closely. So for the past couple of years we’ve been using the chairs with some Orla Kiely chair cushions on them. I’m a big fan of Orla’s prints but our chair cushions had seen better days. I’ve sewn and resewn the buttons on each one several times so I decided it was time for an update.

The seats came upholstered with a solid tan microsuede fabric that was pretty boring. So to give them a refresh I created my own fabric on Zazzle. It added some color and pattern and took them from plain Ikea to something a little more custom. Now, I cannot stop starting at them! This might be one of my favorite home projects to date and it was one of the easiest too.

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Zazzle offers several types of fabric (7 to be exact) so you can find just the right material for your project. They even have a helpful fabric guide that explains the differences between each one and the recommend uses. I ended up going with the polyester poplin fabric and it’s proven to be just right for chair cushions. It’s a durable woven polyester fabric that doesn’t wrinkle much and has some weight. I went with my bright yellow modern floral stem print. The pattern printed crisp and the colors are vivid—just what our dining room chairs needed!

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Below is the process I used for reupholstering our chairs, including my trick for creating perfect corners each time!

Supplies: chairs with upholstered seats / fabric / staple remover / staple gun + staples / fabric scissors / screw driver / pliers (for removing stubborn staples) / ScotchGard fabric spray (optional)
Time: 30 minutes per chair

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

  1. Gather your supplies and remove the chair cushions. There are usually just a couple of screws that hold each cushion in place. If your staples are nearly flush with the wood, like mine were, I highly recommend investing in this staple remover. It would have taken so much longer and my hands would have definitely blistered has I just used a screw driver.
  2. Remove the old fabric using a staple remover. You may need to pull out some stubborn staples using a pair of pliers but I only had to do this a couple times.
  3. Drape the new fabric on top of the cushion. If the fabric is directional, make sure it’s going the way you want. (I definitely recovered one cushion onto to realize I had the print backwards!) You can use the old fabric as a template, however I found it much easier to work with a larger piece of fabric.
  4. Cut the fabric so it’s about 3″ wider than the cushion. Position the fabric where you want it then carefully flip the cushion over so it’s upside down.
  5. Staple one side at a time. Pull the extra fabric taught while you staple.
  6. Trim the excess fabric when you’re done.

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

How to fold the corners

  1. When you get to a corner, pull the fabric on the other side over, so it’s in a straight line. Staple it to hold it in place.
  2. Pull the fabric towards the middle at 45° so it slightly folds around the corner. Staple this into place and continue finishing the other long side. Repeat the same steps when you get to the next corner.

Give life to old chairs with your very own custom printed fabric! (Click through for tools, tips and tricks to upholstering chairs yourself)

To help keep my fabric looking nice and new, I sprayed each cushion with a thin, even coat of Scotchgard spray and allowed it to dry completely before reassembling them. This part is optional, but a little stain protection can never hurt, especially if your chairs are going to be near food like mine are.

What piece of furniture are you just dying to give a makeover? It’s a fun weekend project and if you haven’t tried reupholstering something before, chair cushions are a great place to start!

This post is a collaboration with Zazzle. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Sarah Hearts going!

Leave some love:

  1. this is awesome! I have the same set (or very similar) chairs and want to do the same thing! The fabric on there now is this weird green tweed and I need to refresh it for my updated decor!

    • It’s such a simple project but really gives your dining room a big update! Definitely the hardest part is removing the staples. After that it’s smooth sailing!

  2. ohmygosh I just love that fabric!! the colors are so pretty! I also love those cute wooden birds!

  3. Wow Sarah, this is amazing work. Love the pattern of the fabric and your creativity with upholstering the chairs. Thanks for the DIY.