When I bought my house, I had the opportunity to purchase the “model home” in my neighborhood. Sweet! My house came already decorated, and had some furniture as well. While I like the majority of the choices made by the decorator, there have been some things that I’ve wanted to change. Over the course of the last three and a half years, I’ve been trying to make it more and more “Cori” and less and less “Starbucks” or “fabulous gay guy.” (Not that either of these things is bad — they just aren’t me!)
One of the things I never liked was the fabric on the dining room chairs. I love the chairs and the table, but the fabric was a little like a cosmic petri dish. A couple of years ago, I would have said, “buy new chairs!” But now that I am a) more thrifty, b) more crafty, c) more eco-friendly, d) more adept with a staple gun, I decided to recover them with a pretty/fun/slightly-Seussian P Kaufman interior design fabric that I picked up at my local Hancock Fabrics during their 50% off sale over Presidents’ Day Weekend.
Friends, this was EASY. I had several people ask me on Facebook if it was difficult, and I can say that it’s one of the easiest updates I’ve done. So easy, in fact, I thought I’d share it here to prove it. I wish I’d taken step-by-step photos, but I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. But here’s how to do it if you have similar chairs:
- Pick a fabric that will hold up well to the wear and tear of daily use. I picked upholstery fabric, and also added a coat of ScotchGuard, so it would be easy to clean. I don’t have kiddos, so I picked a fairly light-colored fabric. You might want to go darker if you expect stains.
- Flip the chair upside-down and set on a table or counter. The seat of my chair was held to the frame with five screws. Unscrew them and lift the frame off and set aside. I left the screws in the upside-down frame so I wouldn’t lose them.
- Measure the size of your seat and add ten inches to each length and width measurement (five inches in each direction). This will be the size you will need to cut for each seat. I only added five total (an extra 2.5 inches in each direction) on the first one I did — and it was just baaaarely enough fabric to cover the seat.
- Cut out your fabric using scissors or a rotary cutter. You don’t have to be really exact — just get it within an inch or two.
- Place the fabric right-side down and set the seat of the chair, padded side down on top of it. Note: I just covered straight over the other fabric. If you originally had dark fabric and you cover it with light fabric, it might show through. If so, remove the old fabric first.
- If your pattern has an obvious left/right or up/down pattern, take this into consideration. You don’t want a slightly skewed pattern. Make sure the pattern is going the correct direction.
- Attach the new fabric to the seat using a staple gun. Begin by stapling the fabric to the seat at the center of each side, about four inches in from the edge. Then secure at each corner, pulling the fabric taut around the seat. The corners are a little tricky to get smooth, so I ended up just have some tucks. Once they were finished, it was hardly noticeable.
- After sides and corners are stapled in place, continue securing the fabric with a lot of staples. Just staple away. It’s better than having them come loose. I had ten staples on each side.
- Screw the base back on the seat — I could feel where the original screw-holes were on the seat, and I marked them with a pen. It helped me line up the base on the seat.
- Voila! A new look that’s cheap and easy.
Let me know if you try this out, and if you had any problems or need further clarification of the instructions. I think it’s such a great, easy update — I’d love to see your results!