Brooke, Furniture TransformationsHow to pick a chair to reupholster

Mar 9th, 2010

Before you go on a chair hunt, you need to know how to pick a chair to reupholster. I have some guidelines that I follow, and I’ll gladly share them to all of you who are ready to begin your first project.

Small Disclaimer:
Before I tell you the guidelines, I should tell you that reupholstering is not for those that are afraid of a challenge. It is very time consuming and every chair presents a new set of challenges. Don’t let me scare you off, but I felt it necessary to be 100% up front with you readers on this. We have had a few inquiries from readers about reupholstering couches, and I’m honestly terrified to try a couch. So, if you are ready to tackle that project more power to ya, but I’m definitely not ready yet.

#1. Sit in the chair before you buy it. You need to make sure that it is comfortable.

#2. Make sure it is sturdy. Reupholstering requires solid “bones.” It will make the reupholstering process much easier if you have a sturdy foundation to work with.

#3. Don’t spend too much. I can’t tell you a specific price per chair to follow because obviously each chair is going to be different, but be careful because people are asking outrageous prices for chairs out there.

#4. Remember that fabric can be expensive. Most single chairs out there will require at least 5 yards of fabric; however, my double wing back chair took closer to 10 yards of fabric. You need to buy a thick fabric that can with hold a lot of pulling.

#5. Ask yourself how much time it will take you to reupholster the chair. I know that if this is your first reupholstering project, you will not know how much time it takes. Just let me tell you that each chair I have reupholstered has taken me at least 7 to 10 hours. The double wing back took me much longer than that.

#6. Start small. We have had a few inquiries regarding reupholstering couches…I’m not going to sugar coat this. Reupholstering a couch scares the crud out of me. I’m not ready. So, if you haven’t reupholstered a chair yet. I would not suggest to tackle a couch. Start small.

#7: Find someone close by that you can ask questions to. This one may surprise you, but a lot of Grandparents know how to reupholster. It was really popular back then. Ask your Grandma or Grandpa, I bet she/he would love to help you. Doesn’t hurt to ask. :)

#6: Find an inspiration chair. This is the fun part. When you find a chair that you love, try and find a fabric to mimic it. My suggestion? Go BOLD. I like fabrics with a large pattern.

Here are few chairs I have found that inspire me. Where did they all come from? Hmmmmm. I honestly can’t remember. I remember a few from pottery barn and pier 1, but the rest, no idea. I search the internet for inspiration almost daily, and I don’t recall where most of these came from.

Here is my latest chair that I just completed this weekend. Didn’t it turn out awesome!?!?

This is what this bad boy looked like before the process began.
I thought it would be fun to reupholster an ottoman to go with it.

Here is my fabric of choice. I loved the fabric because A. It is neutral in color and can be added to almost any room, and B. because the pattern was fairly large.
THIS CHAIR IS FOR SALE. Contact me at allthingsthrifty@gmail.com if you are interested. Here are a few more pictures to remind you of the end result. I was pretty pumped.
Here is a side view. FYI: this chair is extremely comfortable.
I wish I had unlimited rooms so that I could keep all my projects. But, one of you lucky readers will get to enjoy this one.

UPDATE: The CHAIR has been SOLD.

Comments

  1. I saw a chair almost exactly like that at our DI a few weeks ago. I told my SIL that it would be awesome…she looked at me like I was crazy, and I didn't get it because I don't have room for another project right now…but after seeing your after…well, I guess at least I know I was right about it having potential :)

  2. Great tips! I've never done it before, but would love to try one day. Yours came out great!

  3. Ok this may seem like a lame question…but when you buy your fabric for your chairs, do you have to buy "upholstery" fabric, or can you buy just a thick "regular" material? The upholstery fabric is mega expensive. THanks!

  4. I really enjoyed this post! Thanks so much for the advice. I've never tackled this, but I've always been interested!

  5. How did you redo the wood on that chair and ottoman? Is it paint or stain? I love it.

  6. Totally awesome!

  7. I LOVE your website….it's my new favorite! I also had the same question about upholstery fabric that Scott and Jess asked. Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge with us!

  8. 1scrapnmomma says:

    Thank you so much for addressing all these questions! :)

  9. Brooke & Kallie@ AllthingsThrifty.com says:

    Hey girls,
    No you do NOT need upholstery fabric. I tend to use canvas most often. Just make sure it is thick. Good luck!
    -Brooke

  10. I really enjoyed your post and I have noticed that turquoise is indeed the color of the moment and making a come back in a huge way. Loving the fabric choices in your pics as well. I'm going fabric hunting today. Wish me luck!!!! I also posted about all the things I love in turquoise. Bye for now.

  11. Thank you for this! I needed a good dose of reality. I really want to tackle a chair – but I may start with one that only needs the seat recovered first.

  12. I just found you from TCB today! I have always wanted to do this but just nervous I'll make it worse than it was! I will try! Thanks for the great pictures!!!

  13. I love, love, love that chair! I want to try to re-upholster my dining room chairs but they have a back where you can see the material on both sides. You have inspired me!

  14. ok ladies. again – i wish i had you on speed dial so i could have called you from the Salvation Army today. i think i need to go back. i found the motherload of all chairs. the wood frame is gold, the fabric is hideous… but i see cozy princess reading chair in my head… thank you for making me SEE! now i just hope the chair is there when i go back tomorrow!

  15. Your latest project is beautiful! What a transformation. Something like that would be a great starter project because you don't have to worry about reupholstering the back or the arms. Definitely doable…

  16. great tips! The chair came out amazing! Love it.

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