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I’ve now got a beautiful set of six bentwood dining chairs – for less than the price of ONE single chair new! After you learn the keys to reupholster dining chairs yourself – you can have expensive-looking beautiful chairs for oh-so-cheap, too!
My first crack at figuring out how to reupholster dining chairs was when I was nineteen. Like any normal teenager, I loved going to antique markets to find beautiful things for my future home. (Yeah, I was not a normal teenager at all.)
Back then I found a set of six antique dining chairs with the most beautiful lines but they needed new seats and paint.
With some love, and help from my dad, I fixed them up and I’ve used them right up until we got these new (to us) ones! Just shy of three decades.
When I fall for something I fall hard and long term (Ed Note: Wohooo!). I recovered these chair seats at least six times for a fresh new look every few years.
Recovering dining chairs is my favourite DIY – and the first one I ever did on my own – so I KNOW it’s a great project for any beginner. With very simple tools and NO MEASURING, any DIY newbie can learn how to reupholster dining room chairs.
The best part: choosing the gorgeous dining chair upholstery fabric that dreams are made of.
Let me tell you about my latest chairs! I adore them and you won’t believe how little I paid.
With diligent FB Marketplace hunting, I found a set of 6 – and the price?!?!
First, similar bentwood chairs NEW are currently over $200 each here. And these were the cheapest I could find!
So, are dining chairs worth recovering?
You betcha! I now have a set of 6 gorgeous dining room chairs, with custom fabric, for less than the cost of ONE new chair. And the project is easy and fun.
What is the best fabric to recover dining room chair seats?
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing dining chair upholstery fabric:
- Pattern (to disguise spills)
The best fabric to recover dining room chairs is Outdoor Fabric. This fabric is made to be durable and easy to clean. Important for dining room chairs that are going to get food spilled on them – especially if you have kids.
A Laminated Fabric is another great choice. You can also find great Oilcloth fabrics. These are very smooth and wipeable. Generally, the designs are very specific – they lean toward kitschy, which is great if you’re going for a retro look. (I picked up this pretty oilcloth tablecloth to use for the seats on another set of chairs.)
Next best is an upholstery weight synthetic fabric. Natural materials, like cotton or linen are virtually impossible to clean. I learned the hard way when I had a cotton dining room seat fabric and my kids were small – it did not stay looking new long – spaghetti sauce stains were not a great look.
If you fall hard for a natural fabric you can try using a spray-on fabric protectant like this one. It will buy you time.
So what fabric did I choose?
It took me AGES to find it!
I knew I wanted a geometric patterned fabric to go with these bold, floral William Morris curtains that I fell in love with. Another big pattern or floral would be too much. But I knew I didn’t want a bold geometric to compete – and geometrics can be loud.
Sadly for you, I bought the fabric locally and I can’t find this fabric to purchase anywhere online. This is a travesty. It’s way too good to not be available.
Since I know readers will ask, I’ve gone looking for fabrics with a similarly quiet, tone-on-tone feel:
Subtle Modern Geometric Upholstery Fabric Ideas
Should I remove old fabric before recovering dining chairs?
Does it have any stains or odours? If so – yes!
Does it have a coarse weave fabric that would show texture through your new one? If so – yes!
Does it need new foam for the seat? Then yes, of course.
If you’re recovering a number of chairs – I would suggest removing the fabric from at least one chair and looking at what’s underneath. You can always put it back on if you want.
How to Recover Dining Room Chairs – A Super Easy Beginner DIY Makeover Project!
- heavy duty stapler
- pliers, screwdriver to pry out old staples
- screwdriver to remove and reattach seats
- pinking shears
- New Seat Fabric
- As needed:
- new foam
Steps to Reupholster Dining Chairs:
How to Cover a Chair with an Open Bottom
My Total Cost to Reupholster Dining Chairs…
So all in, my chairs cost me $150 for 6! That’s just $25 a chair! Less than it would have cost me for just ONE of these new bentwood chairs – without the personality of a custom fabric.
Other projects in our Dining Room Makeover:
- DIY Faux Board and Batten (We did this simple project years ago – easy and budget-friendly!)
- DIY Apothecary Cabinet Inspired Hutch Makeover with easy Faux Mercury Glass DIY Mirrors
- DIY Wooden Dog Crate Ikea Hack
- Curtains – to come…
- New Budget Lighting – to come…
- Window ledge hack for dog owners – to come…
- Should we add a rug? I still haven’t figured this out, but if we do it will be from Ruggable. (See our honest Ruggable review.)