DIY: Rejuvenate Dining Room Chairs for a Few Bucks

dining room chairs
Old on the left, new on the right.

Embarrassing. Cringe-worthy.

Recovering the cushions on well-used dining room chairs is a must…and relatively easy if it’s simply covering up the old cushions with new cloth. Not perfect, but pretty good and very, very much improved.

I used free fabric picked up long ago from a drapery workroom that listed remnants on Freecycle. The bin of delicious designer fabric sat in my basement for years, but finally, I had to do something about the gross cushions. I had just enough of one remnant for four cushions and enough of another remnant for two other cushions. I don’t have six matching cushions, but that’s okay with us!

If I can do this, so can you 🙂 It just takes some elbow grease, time and basic tools, but the results are worth it. I probably saved hundreds of dollars doing this myself with fabric and labor costs. My cost: new box of staples for staple gun–$3.00 approx. and can of fabric protector around $12.00 (I spent way too much at a hardware store on that can, unaware they sell the same thing $5 bucks cheaper at ShopRite, ack!).

Total to redo six chairs: $15.00. Good for another ten years. Ready for the next holiday 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • screwdriver
  • pliers
  • staple gun
  • lightweight hammer
  • scissors
  • fabric (use upholstery fabric, not flimsy fabric)
  • lightweight flannel, linen or muslin to cover the underside of chair
  • elbow grease, seriously–enough to pull old staples and stretch fabric as you staple


Putting fabric on a seat like this is like putting canvas on a frame. Pull. Stretch. Staple. Repeat. The objective is to make it as tight as possible. (Again, mea culpa for not taking those images! I tried to sketch it out, but that would not be of help!)

Process: minus the important part, the pull, stretch and staple part 😦

(Click on each image for full caption.)