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:
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.)
I couldn’t live with these cushions anymore. Years of spilled liquids, food and attempts at cleaning gone wrong.
Just to show you an old versus new cushion (uh, old on left, newly covered on right).
Closer look. BTW, the old fabric was microfiber but never cleaned up very well. The new fabric seems heavy duty, but I still sprayed on some protection.
Ewwwww. Here’s an old cushion unscrewed from the chair frame and ready to redo. I didn’t need to replace any cushion foam or batting–the only thing that was in poor shape was the fabric itself.
Here’s the bottom of the cushion. The hardest part was tearing off the piping on the edges. Images of cutting and stapling fabric are gone, but I cut the new fabric using the cushion as a template, leaving ample amounts of fabric so I could tightly wrap the fabric around and staple to the underside of the cushion.
I cut off discolored fabric ( right side) from bottom of chair (that’s years of cat hair). The new fabric (left) is lightweight flannel I also found in the free bin of remnants. I simply cut shapes using the old fabric as a template.
Images of stapling the fabric have vanished! But, I mimicked how the old cushion looked.
I folded the flannel under to create a hem, then stapled around.
Tried to make the corners as neat as possible (you should see the mess of stapled fabric underneath the stapled down flannel!)
I hammered down the staples that were sticking up so the bottom was smooth to the touch.
Use lots of staples (I hope I don’t have to recover these chairs because it’ll be tough to get all these staples out.)
Finished underside of one cushion.
Finished top of cushion before attaching back to chair frame. This cushion simply screwed back on. Make sure patterns face in same direction in each cushion.