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How to Recover Chair Seats

Chippendale chair cushions recovered
Recovering a chair seat is one of those easy projects that give you lots of satisfaction. It sort of gives you a new chair for a fraction of the price.

Thank you so much for your kind comments on the previous post about painting the chairs.  I'm going to enjoy these "new chairs" for a while. I gotta go buy more paint, as many of you pointed out, it is highly addictive, and I can't wait to finish the remaining chairs.

This post is all about the cushion or better yet, how to update the old chairs cushions.
Before and after of Chippendale chair

I loved the old fabric, but it was time for a change.

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Begin by removing the cushion underlining material. Let me tell you, getting those staples out of there is not that easy, but working with a good stapler remover and even some pliers helps a lot.
How to remove the staples from a seat cushion
I thought about leaving the old fabric in place, most of those staples were really deep into the wood. But, afraid that two layers of fabric didn't allow the seat to fit in the chair, made me go ahead and remove every. single. one. of them.

A very pointy knife was also a nice tool to loosen up those staples. I dug the knife into the wood and forced the staple to show outside the wood, then with a staple remover they were pulled out. Sometimes they break, if that happens remove both pieces with the pliers.
How to remove staples from a chair seat


While removing the material I paid close attention to how those corners were done.  Lots of pictures were taken for me to follow later on.

It looks pretty easy, one pleat on the top corner and then the other one coming from the bottom corner, stapling them as you work.
How to make the corners when upholstering cushions


Many of you loved the new fabric, well, let me introduce you to it:  Target -New Medallion- Shower Curtain.  I love it too!  Price wise it was a more reasonable alternative to cover all six chairs.
Blue Medallion shower curtain

Place the cushion right side up and bring the fabric right on top of it.
Make sure the main design is centered on the seat, before you cut the fabric. Give five or six inches of material all around the frame.
Once you turn it upside down, the stapling begins.
Target shower used to recover chair seats


You can use a manual, electric or pneumatic stapler, but for this project I used the later one.  Once again let me remind you of how working with the proper tools makes everything go so smoothly!

I used to work with an electric stapler but most of the time the staples didn't go all the way in, other times they got tangled inside the machine, it was so frustrating. This new machine was about $35 with two sets of staples included, way more cheaper than what I paid for the electric one and it works wonders.
Perhaps you don't have an air compressor, but this new stapler and the pair of nail guns I have are at the top of my favorite tools, it would be a good investment to have these tools if you're a serious DIY'er.  However, this manual stapler by DeWalt it's my new favorite if  I didn't have a pneumatic one and it's so light weight!
How to recover chair seats
SureBonder Pneumatic gun |

OK the stapling began, front and back first, pulling the fabric nice and taut, then the sides.
stapling fabric in place
When all the sides are done you can work on the corners.  As I showed you previously, my best technique was: "Monkey see, monkey do" :)
How to make perfect corners when upholstering chairs

The excess fabric was trimmed off and the underlining material was stapled back in place.
Getting the new fabric in place

Every chair is different, I guess is a matter of looking at what you have and try to copy-cat it the best you can.
How to recover chair seats

I LOVE my new chairs!! :)
How to recover the seat on a Chippendale chair

how to recovered a seat on a Chippendale chair

Now is your turn to give new life to those sad chairs!

Here are all the instructions on how I painted these chairs:

For more DIY home decor ideas check these out:

blue duck fabric used to replace canvas. old doors and summer hats

DIY Painted kitchen stools - Free graphics

*This post contains affiliate links.

Enjoy what you read today?



  1. It definitely is a lot of steps but you make it look so worth it. Shower curtains are such a better option too. I love the one that you chose. :)

  2. these chairs are fabulous!! great job, love the print!!

  3. cute cute! LOVe that fabric! Smiles, Jill

  4. lovely fabric/curtain!!! It makes me smile!

  5. That is a shower curtain?! How awesome is that! Even more awesome is that you thought to use a shower curtain on the cushions. Genius! We are working on a project right now and reupholstering and revamping some old theater chairs my husband scored for free! It's exciting to transform the look of something old :)

  6. Wow, this is fabulous! Love the fabric! ~Angela

  7. I love the new cushions! You are so clever to use a shower curtain.

  8. Cristina, it looks FABULOUS!! I never, ever would have dreamed that your new fabric came from a shower curtain. You are one clever DIYer. I love the new paint job. It's the total package. Great job! Oh, and I noticed some blog changes, didn't I? Your new picture is really pretty. You're very photogenic!


  9. Cristina, I too have covered chair pads with shower curtain fabrics! I'm very lazy and do not remove the previous chair cover! hahaha! Love this chair Cristina, paint, fabric, everything! BTW, I posted my Craft room already! So excited about it!

  10. Cristina desde que vi tu silla me gusto el genero que le habías puesto ya que encontraba que quedaba perfecto con tu alfombra , y el que hayas comprado ese de una cortina de ducha me parece !! Un genio!!

  11. It looks great! I can't believe it's the same chair. This is something I've been meaning to do for months to my dining room chairs, but I just haven't found the right fabric. Shower curtain fabric? I'm going to have to pay closer attention next time I'm at Target. And, maybe to the curtains, too.

  12. I really like that! It's simply beautiful. And smart thinking to use fabric you found and liked from some place other than the fabric store. My kind of project ;) Family Home & Life

  13. Love it! Love that you used a shower curtain! Genious!

    House Envy

  14. Cristina, te Felicito! has hecho un gran trabajo de Tapicería, y un Reciclado a la vez, porque para ello utilizaste un género para Cortina... o entendí mal? realmente el resultado es hermoso, esas Sillas se ven magníficas! Victoria

  15. Stunning! I love the final result with the new fabric!

  16. I was going to ask where you bought the great fabric then read down further and here it is a shower curtain from my favorite store!

    Just beautiful Christina, such a great job on the chairs!

  17. Those look fabulous Christina! Just beautiful! :-)

  18. Wonderful fabric choice! Love the modern fabric twist on antique style chairs. Isn't pulling staples the worst job ever?

  19. The chairs look beautiful!! What a difference, and that fabric is so fresh and fun. Great idea using a shower curtain for your fabric. I used one a few months ago when making some outdoor pillow cushions and it worked out great. It is perfect for a dinette set too because the fabric is more durable and will wash.

  20. This is a very timely post, I have two chair seats to recover and have been putting it off....this a great tutorial!!! Thank you! And I love that you used a shower curtain!

  21. That shower curtain is adorable! I always forget to think outside of the box when it comes to shopping for fabric. But shower curtains and tablecloths are such cute options.

  22. Thanks for sharing the tutorial - I'm pretty sure I just bought this shower curtain at Target for my bathroom! :)

  23. Great job, you already know how much I love your choice of fabric, especially in combination with your beautiful striped rug! PS:Love your new portrait on the side bar, too <3

  24. Love it! The shower curtain idea is genius, I never would have thought of it.

    I have never tried an air compressor stapler, but my sore arms after recovering a chair tell me to go out and get one soon ;-)

    xo Anja

  25. I love the difference recovering a seat cushion can make on a chair. You've inspired me to check my fabric stash to make a change for the spring.

  26. This chair is seriously gorgeous! It first caught my eye because I have the exact same shower curtain! Now I want to rip it down and recover something with it! :)

  27. Another gorgeous project! Love the fabric.

  28. I forgot to add that soon we are getting a Target here in western Canada. Looking forward to it! Getting so tired of Walmart's selection.

  29. So pretty! I saw that shower curtain at our newly opened Canadian Target stores and thought about picking one up. Just need to decide where to use it.

  30. Your chairs are gorgeous! So neat the upholstery is a shower are so smart! Love the colors and pattern. Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!!!

  31. Clever, clever woman! Great transformation. Thanks for the tip about the yardage in shower curtains.

  32. Your chair is amazing and the new fabric is stunning. Thanks for joining Inspire Me. Great project. Hugs, Marty

  33. Gorgeous! I love the fabric and it turned out so pretty! Pinned for later! Julia @

  34. I agree, the tedious part is removing those staples! Your corners look great and I am in love with the shower curtain fabric! Beautiful.

  35. I love the idea of using shower curtains! I have been looking for the perfect patterned fabric for my dining room chairs but now I have to think a little differently...ingenious! Love the pattern!

  36. Oh I love it! I have been searching high and low for a pretty shower curtain and have had zero luck, need to shop with you :)

  37. Your chair is beautiful! Love the color and style.. the fabric really makes it! Great tutorial as well. Thanks for sharing with us!

  38. Your chairs look fantastic! I love that you used a shower curtain to cover them...very clever. I would love if you would share this at my link party.
    Take care,

  39. Beautiful job, Christine! I love the paint color, too!
    I'm visiting you today from Common Ground. I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Tile Photo Coasters ~ Gift Idea

  40. I am totally head over heels in love with your recovered chairs! I even went to two Target's looking for the curtains, but no luck ;-(. Thanks for posting such a great tutorial Cristina!

  41. This is a really good read for me. Must agree that you are one of the coolest blogger I ever saw. Thanks for posting this useful information. This was just what I was on looking for. I’ll come back to this blog for sure!

  42. You are going to laugh when you hear that I have 3 of those adorable shower curtains from Target. I loved the fabric but hadn't a clue as to how I was going to use them. You adorable chair has inspired me! Thanks. Love you blog

  43. Impresionante Cristina,estoy totalmente enamorada del resultado de las sillas, la tela es preciosa, nunca hubiera penado que era tela de cortina de ducha!!

  44. What a cute job you did on that chair! Thanks for visiting!

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