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How to Reupholster Antique Chairs

How to Reupholster Antique ChairsI’m a thrift shop shopper. I can find almost anything that I want or need in a thrift store. Plus, the prices are very affordable and I can be kreative when putting things I find to good use.  Recently, my sister-in-law introduced me to garage sales. It’s not as if I haven’t heard of them before. It’s just that I like thrift stores because everything is in one place and I don’t have to drive around the city looking for a good deal. Well, she has shown me the light!

I realize that there are some really good buys at garage sales and some people don’t even realize the worth of some of the things they own and are willing to sell it for a couple of bucks.

We moved into a pretty nice size house with a large formal living room and a formal dining room. We’ve never had a formal living room plus a formal dining room, so we’re trying to find ways to decorate the rooms without having to spend way too much money. Plus, since we’re in the military we move often and the next house we move to may not be as big and it would be a shame to have to put so much expensive furniture in storage, or worse, sell it. Eek!

Now that I’ve “discovered” garage sales I’ve found some really great pieces. I purchased a set of chairs for only $10 and refinished them! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I want to share my find with you all. Here is my garage sale find and I learned how to reupholster antique chairs. Enjoy!

How to Reupholster Antique Chairs

From the before picture above you can see what I had to work with, so I removed all nails, fabric, and stuffing from the chair in order to start this diy reupholstered antique chair project.

The chair was sanded down and stained a deep brown. You can see the difference between the old and new colors.

diy reupholstered antique chairs

I measured the length and width of the back of the chair and added 2” inches to each measurement. I cut out a piece of upholstery fabric according to the measurements.  

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The measurements allowed the fabric to overlap the sides. (This is important for later.) I used upholstery staples to attach the fabric to the back of the chair.

I used fabric glue to attach a 2” piece of padding to the upholstery fabric, ensuring that the edges of the fabric are hanging over the sides.

I cut a piece of the fabric for the front and added a little extra width and length to the measurements. I used fabric glue to attach the fabric to the front of the cushion and tucked the extra fabric under, so it won’t unravel along the edges.

I used a flat tip screwdriver to push the edges into the creases of the chair for a smoother finish. I used this same technique for the arms. For the seat, I added fabric to a cushion layered with batting. I think the chairs came out very nice considering I just learned how to upholster an antique chair!

How to Reupholster an Antique Chair

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  1. That is so cool! You did a really great job. I love taking old things and making them new again, too

  2. That looks so amazing! The only thing I’ve ever redone is a stool. It would be fun to try doing a chair like that.

  3. How gorgeous! I’m glad you didn’t cover those gorgeous details on the armrests. It’s little details like that that I feel like a lot of furniture now doesn’t have. That’s why I wish you were half as creative as you are… I’d be able to go antiquing and find some great stuff for my 1800’s era house. It fits so much better than the modern stuff. – Jerusha, TheDisneyChef.com

  4. What a great project. I too love garage sailing, but I tend to focus more on painting furniture. I’m sure you could teach me a ton about other fun projects!

  5. Love the finished project! I’ve some loveły fabric I want to use to reupholster a chair for my office. Great tutorial!

  6. Wow, what a great find and what a great job you did! I love garage sales, but I have never tried to reupholster a chair! That is awesome. After seeing this, I may attempt it. Excited that its garage sale season now!

  7. I have been doing a lot of reusing of furniture, but have yet to jump into the reupholstering game. I have some new chairs that I would love to be reupholstered, but we’ll see if I make that jump. I never thought about using fabric glue. I guess I didn’t think it would hold.

  8. That is really an AMAZING job! It turned out great. It is awesome to have an eye to see what something can be instead of what it is. 🙂 Good work!

  9. Wow! I need could use some help on some of my antiques to look new once again.

  10. This looks really nice! I love the look of these old chairs. Love the fabric you chose!

  11. So much more work goes into it than one might think. I’m always impressed when I see a great upholster job!

  12. WOW!!!! What an amazing job you did!!! I can’t believe that is the SAME chair! I don’t have the patience to do something like this but you did an amazing job!

  13. Hi, The room we were in was amazing! Located on the top floor (floor 22) meant we had wonderful views of Waikiki, including the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. The large king size bed was a treat to sleep on, with linen so comfortable it took all my willpower to get out of bed in the mornings. The wall mounted flat screen television meant we could be a little lazy and watch TV in bed after a long day of walking around Waikiki.

  14. WOW!!!! What an amazing job you did!!! I can’t believe that is the SAME chair! I don’t have the patience to do something like this but you did an amazing job!I love the transformation.