Step-by-Step Guide to Reupholstering Furniture

Have you ever found a beautiful vintage armchair at a thrift store but hesitated to buy it because of its worn-out upholstery? Well, fear not! This step-by-step guide will show you how to reupholster furniture like a pro. With just a few basic tools and some new fabric, you can transform that tired-looking piece into a stunning centerpiece for your living room. From removing the old upholstery to attaching and securing the new fabric, each step is explained in simple, easy-to-follow instructions. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your staple gun, and get ready to give your furniture a brand new look. Let’s dive in and discover the art of reupholstering!

Key Takeaways

  • Select fabric suitable for upholstery, considering style and durability
  • Take time and be gentle when removing old upholstery to avoid damage
  • Thoroughly examine and repair the furniture frame before reupholstering
  • Measure carefully and cut new fabric to ensure a perfect fit and professional look

Gather Necessary Materials and Tools

To gather the necessary materials and tools for reupholstering furniture, you’ll need a few key items. First and foremost, selecting the right fabric is crucial for achieving a professional-looking finish. Consider the style of your furniture and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. Whether you prefer a bold pattern or a solid color, make sure the fabric is durable and suitable for upholstery.

Next, choosing the appropriate padding is essential for both comfort and longevity. Different types of padding, such as foam or batting, can be used depending on the level of cushioning you desire. Thicker foam provides a plush feel, while batting can create a softer, more traditional look.

In addition to fabric and padding, you’ll need basic tools such as a staple gun, scissors, and a screwdriver. A staple gun is essential for securing the fabric to the furniture frame, while scissors are necessary for cutting the fabric to size. A screwdriver will come in handy for removing any existing upholstery or making adjustments to the furniture frame.

Remove Old Upholstery

How do you efficiently remove old upholstery from your furniture? It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done smoothly. Start by flipping the furniture upside down to access the underside. Use a staple remover or a flathead screwdriver to carefully remove the staples holding the fabric in place. Take your time and be gentle to avoid damaging the frame or the foam underneath. Once all the staples are removed, carefully peel back the fabric, making sure not to tear it. You may encounter layers of foam padding underneath. To remove the foam, simply pull it away from the frame and discard it. If the foam is glued to the frame, use a scraper or a putty knife to gently pry it off. Be cautious not to scratch or gouge the wood. With the old upholstery and foam removed, you are now ready to move on to the next step of the reupholstering process.

Repair and Prepare the Furniture Frame

Now that you have removed the old upholstery, it’s time to assess and repair any damage to the furniture frame. Before you start the reupholstering process, it’s important to ensure that the frame is in good condition. This will not only ensure the longevity of your newly upholstered furniture but also provide a sturdy foundation for the upholstery.

Start by thoroughly examining the frame for any signs of damage or weakness. Look for loose joints, cracked or broken wood, or any other structural issues. If you come across any problems, don’t worry! There are repair techniques that can help you strengthen the frame and fix any damages.

For loose joints, you can use wood glue to reattach them securely. Apply the glue to both surfaces, press them together, and clamp them tightly until the glue dries. This will help reinforce the joints and prevent them from coming apart.

If you find cracked or broken wood, you can use wood filler to repair the damage. Apply the filler to the affected area, smooth it out with a putty knife, and let it dry. Once dry, sand the filled area until it’s smooth and even with the rest of the frame.

Measure and Cut New Fabric

After assessing and repairing the furniture frame, it’s time for you to measure and cut the new fabric. This step is crucial to ensure that the upholstery fits perfectly and looks professional. Here are some expert tips and techniques to help you with this process:

  • Start by measuring the dimensions of each piece of the furniture that needs to be reupholstered. Use a tape measure and be precise to the nearest inch or centimeter.
  • Consider the pattern and design of the fabric when selecting your material. Make sure the fabric is durable and appropriate for the piece of furniture. Take into account factors such as color, texture, and pattern to ensure that it complements the overall aesthetic.
  • Add extra fabric to your measurements to allow for seams and tucking. This will ensure a snug fit and make the reupholstered piece look polished.
  • Use quality fabric scissors to cut the fabric along the measured lines. Take your time and make clean, straight cuts to achieve professional-looking results.

Now that you have measured and cut the new fabric, it’s time to move on to the next step: attaching and securing the new upholstery.

Attach and Secure the New Upholstery

To attach and secure the new upholstery, you will need a staple gun and staples. Before you begin, make sure you have chosen the right fabric for your project. Consider the durability, texture, and color of the fabric, as well as how it will complement the overall design of your furniture. Once you have your fabric ready, it’s time to add decorative elements if desired.

Start by positioning the fabric over the furniture piece, making sure it is centered and aligned properly. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases. Beginning at one corner, use the staple gun to secure the fabric in place. Place a staple approximately every inch along the edge, ensuring that the fabric is taut but not overly stretched.

As you work your way around the furniture, continue to staple the fabric, pulling it tight as you go. When you reach corners or curves, make small pleats or folds to create a neat and professional finish. Trim any excess fabric, leaving a small allowance for a clean edge.

Once all the fabric is securely attached, step back and inspect your work. Make any necessary adjustments before moving on to the next step. With the new upholstery in place, your furniture will have a fresh and updated look, ready to be enjoyed for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Fabric Do I Need to Reupholster a Chair?

To reupholster a chair, you’ll need to calculate the fabric yardage. Consider the chair’s dimensions, pattern repeat, and any additional pieces like cushions. Tips for choosing the right fabric include considering durability, style, and color scheme.

Can I Reupholster Furniture Without Removing the Old Upholstery?

Yes, you can reupholster furniture without removing the old upholstery, but it’s not recommended. The benefits of reupholstering over replacing include preserving the original structure and having more options for fabric and design. Consider upholstery alternatives like slipcovers or reusing the existing fabric.

What Type of Fabric Is Best for Reupholstering Furniture?

When reupholstering furniture, it’s important to choose the right fabric. Consider factors like durability, stain resistance, and style. Upholstery fabric options include cotton, linen, and polyester. Each has its pros and cons, so choose wisely!

How Long Does It Typically Take to Reupholster a Piece of Furniture?

On average, reupholstering a piece of furniture takes anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the size and complexity of the project. With some tips and tricks, you can make the process more efficient.

Is Reupholstering Furniture a Difficult Task for Beginners?

Reupholstering furniture can be a challenging task for beginners, but it is a cost-effective option for restoring old pieces and a sustainable alternative to buying new items. With knowledge and experience, you can tackle this project successfully.


In conclusion, reupholstering furniture can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to give new life to old pieces. By following the step-by-step guide provided, you can confidently gather the necessary materials and tools, remove old upholstery, repair and prepare the furniture frame, measure and cut new fabric, and ultimately attach and secure the new upholstery. With a little patience and attention to detail, you can transform your furniture into something fresh and stylish. Happy upholstering!