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6 DIY Upholstery Ideas To Restore Your Favourite Chair

Interior Design & Contemporary Furniture Blog

Sharing the latest news, tips and advice from the interior design, contemporary furniture and home furnishings world.

6 DIY Upholstery Ideas To Restore Your Favourite Chair

Lee Smith

We all grow attached to the things we have at home now and then. Be it a favourite rug, a special painting or perhaps some decorations that we hold dear to our hearts. One of the most depressing feelings, however, is when our favourite belongings start to suffer from wear and tear. Perhaps it was due to an accident, or maybe it’s due to neglect.

As we grow older, we get more and more attached to our chairs. We spend a lot more time in them watching television, reading books and sometimes even eating our dinner, which is why they can sometimes suffer from stains and damage that could be expensive to repair.

However, repairing your chair doesn’t need to be an expensive thing, and there are plenty of DIY upholstery ideas that you can utilise from the comfort of your own home to restore your favourite chair.

1. Reupholstering a chair from scratch

If you have a lot of time on your hands and the will to reupholster a chair from scratch, then it’s possible to do so with just a few tools. This can completely rejuvenate a chair and make it look spectacular, even if the chair is several decades old. It will, however, look completely different and it might lose some of its charm, so this isn’t a good idea if your attachment is to the designs of the chair itself.

You’re going to need to remove all of the staples from the upholstery first so the fabric comes loose enough for you to completely remove. This is a gentle process, so don’t try to tear it off. Pry off each staple with a flathead screwdriver and keep the staples safe out of harm’s way in a small bowl or box and throw them out. Keep an eye on how the fabric is woven and stapled down, preferably taking pictures as you go along so that when it comes to reupholstering it, you can mimic the same design and shape of the fabrics that you removed.

2. Give your armchair a good clean

If you spend some time eating near your favourite chair, then no doubt it’s suffered some cosmetic damage. This is where a deep clean can come in handy to remove stubborn stains, grime, dirt and all manner of noticeable mess. Although it’s recommended to clean these stains as early as possible, there are times when you might miss a drop of tea or some crumbs that eventually caked onto the back of your seat. Remove the cushions, vacuum up all the dust and bits and pieces, then assess the damage. Cleaning with steam is preferable so that the chemicals don’t rub off the design or fade the fabric.

Modern-custom-made-cocktail-chair.jpg

Cocktail Chairs

Beautiful custom-made chair in Heathered Tweed Wool from Bute Fabrics. 

3. Refresh it with a new design

Visit a local upholstery store and purchase yourself some new fabrics to line your cushions with. Since the cushion you sit on suffers the most wear and tear, it’s a good idea to replace it now and then. You can use clashing colours to create a wonderful retro look, or you can try to match the same colour and design. There are plenty of upholstery ideas available on the web if you’re itching for inspiration.

4. Replace the cushion itself

If the fabric design is something you absolutely adore, then perhaps replacing the cushion could be what you need to give your chair a much-needed refresh. Carefully remove the fabric from the cushion so that it doesn’t rip or tear, and purchase a cushion that can fit into your favourite chair. This is difficult if you have something with a peculiar design, so be sure to contact the manufacturer or custom-make a cushion that is similar to the original one.

5. Swap the legs

If your favourite chair’s legs have worn out, then it could be a good idea to give them a modern or rustic replacement. Armchair legs have to hold the weight of the chair and you, so if you’ve been using the chair for a while and you have moved it around from house to house, then it might suffer some damage over time. They’re usually quite easy to replace, but it involves tipping the chair over in order to remove the legs, so ask someone for help if you’re not physically able to do so. There are plenty of designs available for your upholstery ideas , so don’t hesitate to pick something extraordinary or beautiful.

6. Personalising your favourite chair

If you want to make it yours, then why not sew a special or unique pattern into the upholstery? You could add your name, you could weave some patterns, or you could just fix up some cosmetic damage that you noticed. This takes a bit of skill, but it’s a wonderful way to invest time and money into your favourite chair.


If you decide you don't have time to dedicate to your upholstery ideas and would like some help with yours, check out our upholstery service in Manchester