Re-Upholstering 101: How I re-upholstered my swivel armchair

Holy SMOKES……..this post is WAY overdue!  I hinted way back in October that I was working on re-upholstering a chair for Chloe’s nursery, from a chair that I bought from a thrift store about a year before that.  I finally tackled/finished it (except for the seat cushion) before the holidays and then I saved it to share until after the New Year.  But OOPS, it got pushed back.  And then other projects cut in line.  And then all that ugly sickness hit our home last week.  Whew! (P.S……we’re buying a home too.  Can I throw that in there, while I’m throwing out other excuses??  I know, I can’t believe it either!  Our very 1st HOME!!!!)



Anyway, that old velvet-y blue rocking chair is no more………and has been replaced by a clean textured white one.




And hooray……Chloe’s nursery is now complete!  Yeah, I know, a white chair??  In a nursery?!!  But our bedrooms are upstairs, where no food is allowed, and shoes come off once we walk in the front door.  Also, her nursery doesn’t get a lot of traffic…..just a lot of sitting and rocking.  So the white wins! :)



It took several days to re-upholster but once I got going, it was very satisfying.  And all the details came together so nicely.  And I think you’d be shocked how much sewing is NOT involved.  (So, don’t even tell yourself you can’t do this because you’re not a whiz on the sewing machine yet.)


***The fabric is from Joann’s. Isn’t that texture great?




Now, there’s a nice little upholstered chair, sitting in the nursery corner……ready to be cozied-up in.




It’s where we sit and do one of Chloe’s favorite things in life……Story Time!!!




So glad it’s done.  And I’m so glad I took the time to re-finish it!





Would you like a little mini lesson in Re-Upholstering??



WARNING:  There are tons of pictures in this tutorial.  TONS AND TONS!  Re-upholstery projects are all different shapes and sizes but the main idea is all the same.  If you pull it apart, one piece at a time, it’ll go back together the same way.  And watching the process unfold piece by piece, will hopefully help some of you tackle your own re-upholstery project.  So get ready for some serious picture scrolling!! :)


To get started, you need to buy fabric.  A thicker upholstery fabric works best.  If you use a printed upholstery fabric, keep in mind that if it’s a high traffic piece of furniture, the print will most likely fade.  So, if you want to use fabric with different colors for your upholstery project, try to find some where the colors are woven in.  (However, if this is mostly a decorative piece of furniture, printed would be just fine.)


I found this guide online at Restoration Fabrics that can be used as a quick reference:




I bought about 5 yards to finish off my chair.  I found my fabric at Joann Fabric and used a 40% off coupon but there are less expensive options.  Always check the discount rack in the back of the store, dig through your fabric stash, browse through the old curtains at the thrift store, etc.  If you think re-upholstering is too expensive……look harder!  You can probably make it work somehow! :)



Now…..the FUN begins!


Before you start tearing things up, take pictures.  Lots of them.  Take a picture of every corner and fold and pleat……just so you can reference it if you need to.  Lift the fabric, take pictures of how things were put together, and then take more.  Because you’ll thank yourself later. 



Now, start on the most outward piece of fabric and start taking the fabric apart.  You’re probably going to be shocked at how much a piece of furniture like this is NOT sewn.  So, don’t stress the sewing too much! :)  Layer by layer, your piece of furniture will come apart and you’ll want to take pictures of how you took it apart as well, because you’ll work backwards putting it back together.


For my chair, I started taking apart the bottom skirt first.  There were staples everywhere.  So I dug around and pulled out tons of staples……and kept a little bowl right next to me to drop them into.







Then, I took the back panel off the chair by sliding my flat head screwdriver into the side and pried it open.  I could see that it was a tack strip (a row of nails along a strip of flexible plastic) holding the back panel on… it all pulled up together.



I continued to pry it open…



And then started working on the side panels, which were attached with the same tack strips.  Then I kept peeling more and more layers off my chair.








Until whew, it was all bare.  Then, I started with the last thing I took off and decided to begin right there.  I placed the piece of fabric for the front base of the chair, right down on my new fabric, and cut around it.  There is only very minimal sewing involved with upholstery projects… cutting doesn’t have to always be exact.  ***Just be sure that you cut any sort of pattern or print in the same direction, if you can help it.  Floral or messy prints won’t matter.  But if you have something that is uniform and goes in a direction, be sure that it goes in the same direction every time you cut.



Then, I started to re-attach it, the very same way it came off.



For each arm rest, there was a bit of piping.  I unpicked the old piping because I wanted that sturdy plastic cording to use.  So I cut out a strip of fabric and re-sewed a strip of piping for each of the chair arms.  (Need help with piping?)


Then, I attached them the same way they were taken off.


Now……let me introduce you to a little secret weapon: Cardboard Tacking Strip (I bought mine at Joann’s).  This stuff will give you a nice crisp edge when you re-upholster something. Just take note when it was used in the original chair and then you’ll know when to use it.  (It may have been plastic in your furniture though……but the cardboard is common and still works really well.)



Here’s an example of how it works.  I cut out a piece of fabric to cover one of the arms and on the wrong side of the fabric, I lined up a piece of the tacking strip down on top of the fabric, and butted it up against the piping that I already attached to the front of the arm.  Then I stapled the tacking strip down.  The cardboard tacking strip will give the fabric a nice edge once I flip that fabric back over.  Without it, you’d be able to see where each staple was placed and it wouldn’t be a nice clean line.



And just like it was before, I folded over little pieces of fabric before stapling down the tacking strip, to give the fabric some fullness after turning the fabric over.



See?  And once the fabric is flipped back over……’s nice and clean.  It makes it look as if those fabric pieces were sewn together.  But really, it’s the tacking strip placed right next to that piping, from the underneath side.



Then, I pulled the fabric for the arm rest back and down and stapled it in place in all directions.





Next, I cut around the large piece of fabric for the tall section of the front of the chair.  And then attached it the same way it came off.  And tucked and folded and stapled around the top back of the chair.  (For some reason, I didn’t take many pictures of the process while stapling all those folds around the top back of the chair.  But it’s so unique, I’m not sure how many other chairs are actually done that way.)



Next, the outer sides of the chair.  I started on one side and cut out the fabric.



And used some tacking strip down below the arm rest and stapled the fabric down in place. 



See?  This stuff will give this a nice clean line.



This is what you’ll need next…….another secret weapon: Nail Tacking Strip (I bought this at Joann’s too).  It’s basically a sturdy piece of cardboard (that is still a bit flexible) with a bunch of nails embedded in it.  In my chair, it was a plastic strip with nails in it but I’ve also seen it as a flexible piece of metal with nails coming out of it.  If you can re-use your strip, great.  Otherwise, whatever variety you find is great.



This nail tacking strip will go in face down right below that line of piping.  But when I lay the fabric on top and before I turn it under, I will line it up right on top of the piping.  Play around with yours and see where you need to align it before attaching the fabric and rolling it under.



Then, I cut a piece that was just the right length for the side of the chair.


Then I placed the strip down right on top of the piping (and used the seam as my guide) and then started pulling the fabric down pretty snug onto those nails.



Then, once all the fabric was in place on the nails, I began turning the nail strip under and tucked all the extra fabric under to be hidden.



To get a nice pretty corner, fold the fabric under nicely and out of the way.



Then use a rubber mallet to pound the nails into place.  (If you don’t have a rubber mallet, cover a regular hammer in a thick towel.)



Then, I pulled the other sides tight and stapled them into place……..just like chair was done initially.



Next, I did the same thing with the back panel of the chair.  I stapled in the tacking strip up top…..



Then, pulled the fabric down and added some Nail Tacking Strip to both sides to hide the fabric edges along both sides.




Now, the skirt around the bottom of the skirt. 


Not everyone’s going to have a skirt for their chair and even if you do, the process would probably be different……so I’m not going to show super detailed instructions on how to put them together.  But here’s what I did.  I took all the pieces apart (label them with tape if needed) and placed them down.



Then, I took apart the piping and reused the plastic cording and made some new piping.  (I didn’t cut it on the bias because it didn’t need to go around any curves. I just straight strips of fabric for the piping.  More on making piping here.)






Then, I started pulling each piece apart, one at a time, and kept the lining from each pieces so that I could re-use them.


Then I cut around each piece of fabric.


And then re-constructed it the exact same way it was taken apart. (Take picture while you take it apart, if needed.)


Then, I pinned each flap to the bottom of the chair, spaced exactly how you need it.


Then, keeping that spacing exactly how it was, I pinned the piping right to the top of the flaps……which keeps the flaps all together in a long line.


Then I sewed the piping right down.


Next, I marked exactly where the flaps would go, minus the top raw edge of the flaps/piping.  Then, I marked a little line with a pencil all the way around.


Then, starting at the side towards the back of the chair, I placed the strip of flaps upside down and facing downward…….and then started stapling it down right below the line of piping.  The piping really helps with giving it a nice clean edge so you don’t need to use the tacking strip.  But also, if you used the tacking strip here, it would be really thick to staple through.


See?  Then, once you pull the flap down, it looks nice and finished.  Now, finish stapling all the way around the flaps and pull the flaps down for good.  (It helped me to run a hot iron along the flap, to give it a flat finish.)



And lastly, the seat cushion.


Again, every cushion will be a little different but here’s a few pictures of what I did.  I took lots of pictures of how the cushion was sewn together….


…..and then started picking it apart.


Until the whole cushion was in pieces.


Then I re-cut every piece:


And I even picked out the zipper to re-use it……but then ended up running the zipper of the end of the cut zipper and then couldn’t put it back together.  So if you’re re-using a zipper, be careful with it!  But I also pulled out the cording to use to re-make the piping.



And then re-sewed the center strip of the cushion back together.


Then, sewed the cushion back together.


Just remember, take lots of pictures while you take your cushion apart, so that you can remember exactly how it was put together.


Then stuff your cushion inside of it’s new cover……….and your chair is now complete.


Whew!  All that work.  TOTALLY worth it!!!! :)


Now enjoy!





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171 Responses to “Re-Upholstering 101: How I re-upholstered my swivel armchair”
  1. 1
    Megan says:

    I’m impressed! You even have all the pattern matching up. It looks great!

  2. 2
    Heather says:

    WOW! That is amazing!! I wish my upholstery job on my chair looked as well as that does.

  3. 3

    That is an awesome project! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  4. 4
    Suzan says:

    This is the best upholstery tutorial I have seen! I love all the pics and the great explanations!

    • 4.1
      Anonymous says:

      I agree- I have about ten pinned on pinterest- this one actually gives me some hope! Thanks for the detailed breakdown :)

      • 4.1.1
        Anonymous says:

        I also agree. I have seen and read a lot on re-upholstering, and this one is by far the best! Thank you very much for sharing :)

    • 4.2

      Yes, I agree, too! So happy I found this. Best overall finished product I’ve seen on DIY upholstery yet.
      Great work!

  5. 5

    Wow. That’s impressive! The chair looks really great!

  6. 6
    fitri says:

    wow, I’m really impressed !!! My hubby has own upholstery company, and I know how hard this work.. you are so talented ..

  7. 7
    Rachel says:

    Wow! Just…wow! Awesome tutorial. I never really wanted to do this till now. You make it look so doable

  8. 8
    Rachel says:

    That’s beautiful!

    Where did you get that new fabric? I don’t know if white will work in our house, but that texture is gorgeous!

    • 8.1
      Ashley says:

      The fabric is from Joann’s. And yeah, this is probably the only room where this white would work. It’s upstairs in the nursery……so no food or shoes up there. It would be a nightmare in our family or living room. But yes, isn’t the texture great? :)

      • 8.1.1
        Anonymous says:

        I found this fabric in gray and love it. How easy is it to clean? I want it for a couch but it must be easy to clean!!!

  9. 9
    Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’ve always seen people making slip cover type things that require so much sewing and measuring and pinning that I didn’t want to be bothered. But this I could do and I completely understood it too! Thanks again!

    • 9.1
      Ashley says:

      Oh gosh, slipcovers would pretty too but you’d have to be a lot more precise. And do a lot more sewing. And it would probably take just as long. Who wants a shifty slipcover anyway?! ;)


  10. 10

    Wow! This is stunning! I almost feel like I could do this myself. Almost.

  11. 11
    Limara Lis says:

    Congratulations! Seu projeto ficou lindo e você é muito habilidosa e paciente, por isso inspira muita gente e é sucesso na Internet.

  12. 12
    Jenny says:

    Wow! What an improvement! Love it!
    Thanks for sharing tips on all of your hard work!

  13. 13
    Katie80 says:

    This is great! I actually feel like I could do this myself … providing I don’t get lazy on the photo-taking part! I can see how important those initial photos are to the final product.

  14. 14
    Heather says:

    Awesome tutorial! So detailed and so informative!
    Where did you get your tacking supplies?

  15. 15
    Kasia says:


  16. 16
    Mary Claire says:

    This looks fantastic! This is a great approachable tutorial. It does leave you feeling as if you could easily do this yourself! Did you use a pneumatic stapler or a hand held one?

  17. 17
    Michelle says:

    What an AWESOME JOB!!!

  18. 18
    Lana says:

    Wow, you did an awesome job! The chair looks like an expensive chair, you just purchased! I am very impressed! – Thanks for sharing!

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Erin says:

    Thank you, thank you, for such detailed photographs! This is very helpful!

  21. 21
    Sophie says:

    What a job!
    Buy I’m not sure I’m confident enough to do it… Not yet!

  22. 22
    Bethany says:

    I’ll admit I’ve been anxiously awaiting the completion of this cute re-upholster ever since I saw the “sneak-peak” last year, because we have the exact same chair! Now I feel like I can maybe do something similar! Maybe. You make everything look so doable. It looks fabulous! Thanks for taking the time to share your process!

  23. 23
    Michelle says:

    Seriously girlfriend!? You are amazing. The chair looks awesome. I will have to find a chair to reupholster now….love this project! Thanks!

  24. 24
    Heather says:

    What did you use for the staples or nails? I have a staple gun, but I don’t think it would work for this and I have a chair that really needs to be done.

  25. 25

    A very ambitious project well done. Great tutorial with so many pictures. I’m pinning it.

  26. 26
    bethmarie says:

    I am a new follower to your blog and already you’re reading my mind!! Five minutes ago, I was rocking my baby girl (now 2 1/2) before her nap and dreaming about “what if I could re-uphoster this old thing!” and then opened up this post and am now thinking “I think I can”!! You did an amazing job on yours and thank you so much for the tutorial…I hope to find some inspiring fabric soon :)

  27. 27
    Noe says:

    Ashley, I am so impressed!! Have you done this many times before? What kind of stapler did you use? I have a stapler, but the staples look totally different. This was a great tutorial, and it makes me want to try this sometime in the future. I am excited that you are buying a house! This means to me that you’ll have a lot of neat new projects and tutorials to show us in the future!!

  28. 28
    Maggie says:

    Thanks for the terrific tutorial, Ashley. I’ve been keeping an eye out for it since you mentioned it. My mom gave me her rocking chair that she rocked all her babies in, and my grandma before her rocked all of her babies in it. I love it, but the fabric is stained, outdated, and faded. Maybe I can pull it apart and reupholster it before my baby comes in the next 3 weeks! Thank you!

  29. 29
    Liz says:

    This is just simply AMAZING!!! I have always felt very intimidated by the prospect of reupholstering things, but with your set by step tutorial, it really made sense to me!! How is the chair holding up daily use? So excited to get to work on some of my home projects!!!

  30. 30
    Shantel says:

    Wow! Just Wow!

  31. 31
    Debbie C says:

    Ashley, this is so so amazing. I’ve seen other tutorials for reupholstering before, but they seemed complicated or not very professional. Your chair looks professionally done! Thank you for this tutorial…please accept this virtual hug from me! :) I have confidence now that I can recover a large skirted ottoman I got for a great deal on Craig’s List! So excited to learn about tacking strips (and that I can easily find them at Joann)!

  32. 32
    Wyndee says:

    You are amazing! I love all the details and pictures. I’m very excited to start working on my dining chairs.

  33. 33
    Anonymous says:

    SWEET, totally awesome and SWEET!!!

  34. 34
    Karin says:

    You are my hero. This is amazing. Your chair looks absolutely beautiful!!!!! Makes me want to go drive around and find an old chair on the street! hahaha awesome awesome awsome! You did such a wonderful job!

  35. 35
    Melanie says:

    Definitely the best tutorial I have ever seen, awesome job! You are amazing!

  36. 36
    Holly says:

    Wow – amazed by you once again. The chair looks absolutely perfect. Baby spit on white though – yikes. Might want to make some arm covers. :-) Any guesstimate on how many hours you put into that job? I know you work when time permits and that is sometimes hard to gauge! :-)

  37. 37
    Monica says:

    Wow, thank you for this. You are so inspiring. May try this in the far future one day.! It looks AMAZING!

  38. 38
    Adri says:

    I recovered my nursery rocker with textured white a couple years ago, and have loved it!

  39. 39
    Jennifer G. says:

    Oh. My. Freaking. Gosh! Amazing! You are some kind of special woman to take on that task. Good for you! Excellent tutorial and the chair turned out so professional looking. Great tips on tacking strips too. I didn’t even know those existed.

  40. 40
    cucicucicoo says:

    oh my gosh, i am EXTREMELY impressed! you’re right, it is shocking how little there is to sew in a project like this. but i don’t think i would dare try. as always, you are amazing! :) lisa

  41. 41
    Chelsey says:

    I think almost everyone started their comment with “Wow!” and rightly so! This is beautiful. I’ve been playing with the idea of refinishing my couches and this gives me SO much more courage. Actually to be honest, any time I have a big project I want to do I check your website to see if you’ve done something similar because you do such amazing tutorials! I am getting more excited to give this project a try! Next time you’re in Idaho you can just come over and help me out, right? :)

  42. 42
    Mary W. says:

    I’ve had a couple of chairs that I’ve been wanting to reupholster for a while now, but was too nervous to try. Your tutorial is so clear, I think I can work up the courage to try it myself! Thank you for sharing!

  43. 43

    Perfection hand work!!

  44. 44
    Sheila says:

    That turned out so well! Congratulations on the house also! One question, and forgive me if I somehow missed this in your post, but how did you know how much fabric to buy?

    • 44.1
      Debbie C says:

      If you go about 8 pictures down from the beginning of the post, there is a picture guide of how much fabric you need, depending on what you are recovering.

      • 44.1.1
        Sheila says:

        Wow. I am embarrassed. I read your comment that it was a helpful guide, but the font was so small I didn’t realize it had yardage on it! Good grief! Thank you!

  45. 45
    Eve says:

    SO AMAZING and you’ve made it so doable. Love the steps, tons of photos and all the great details. I will have to try this the next time I come across a piece of furniture that needs a facelift!

  46. 46
    Brittany says:

    great job. I remember when I reupholstered my lazy boy recliner and man I will never do that again! It took me 6 months to complete! I love the crisp white look of you chair though. Very nice!

  47. 47
    Amanda says:

    Wow! This is so helpful!! Thanks so much for sharing, now I’m not so afraid of reupholstering my own chair. Time to shop for fabric ;-)

  48. 48
    grace says:

    AWESOME job … beautiful “after” armchair. I can’t believe you did this .. guess I need to start learn to sew. Had this old wing chair, love the shape and all but it has this nasty old “skin” on it and right now it’s covered but someday I will try to handle this upholstered job. Thanks for sharing!

  49. 49
    Amy K. says:

    What a fantastic tutorial!! I have a recliner that fits my body *perfectly*, but it is also a lovely mauve ‘velvet’… I just may try to recover it, especially now that I know about the tacking strips! It also has a tufted back – any suggestions on how to tackle that??

  50. 50
    KerryQ says:

    Awesome! Now if you could just hold my hand while I try it. :)

  51. 51
    Louise says:

    Great job! You make it look so easy. Love the fabric and tutorial.

  52. 52
    Esther says:

    How did you figure that out? I love to create things in my mind and then do them. I’m not nearly nearly nearly as good as you though. Currently Im working on a small charger case and I can’t do it how I thought I would. I also have a purse waiting to be finished from a year ago that I started. I need to work on the finishing part of projects.
    Love the chair!!

  53. 53
    Tatiana says:

    Super!!!! I am in admiration, because you are all easily done

  54. 54
    Jennifer says:

    Wow, that’s beautiful!

  55. 55
    Amy Sue says:

    Love this!! I have a chair (free a friend gave it to me!) that I have been wanting to reupholster for quite some time, have been looking for a really good tutorial….FOUND IT HERE!!!
    Can not wait to find the perfect fabric for the project…..wonderful job!

  56. 56
    Becky says:

    WOW!!!!!! Great job!
    And CONGRATS ON GETTING A HOUSE!! You guys totally deserve it after all your hard work!

  57. 57
    Elie says:

    Looks better than professional…great job! My hubby and I recovered a loveseat years ago. Gives one a lot of self-satisfaction, doesn’t it!

    • 57.1
      Maureen M. says:

      I agree completely…I did a similar one for a teacher who was saving it from the dumpster and then a loveseat for my daughter’s dorm room. Didn’t even know about tack strips…love that! We used a microfiber suede…still will always be one of the projects I’m most proud of!

  58. 58
    ira lee says:

    i love it! i’ve been thinking about re doing some chairs! its just a big project to tackle, not so much hard- just a LOT!! lol

  59. 59
    Erin says:

    Wow! That looks AMAZING! I want to re-upholster my couch so bad but have been too scared. Thanks for the tutorial and making it look, well, semi easy.

  60. 60
    Michelle B. says:

    Ashley – this is an awesome tutorial. I just traded a few chairs with my MIL and I’m going to attempt the reupholstery myself. Thank you very much for taking the time to document your process. It makes tons of sense!

    I know someone already asked in the above comments, but do you have any idea how long it took you to do this project?

    Did you prewash your fabric? Or was there really not a need since it’s not a slipcover?

    Thanks again!

  61. 61
    Tracy says:


    I have never seen directions this detailed. I have a chair that has been waiting to be reupholstered for literally years. I have the fabric and and everything bought, but I’ve been too afraid to start ripping. I think this is the final push I needed.

  62. 62
    Charity says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize that chair could be made to look SO good! Impressive job! I love the fabric too.
    Maybe someday I will have enough time to make use of your lovely tips. =)

  63. 63
    Lacey says:

    This looks beautiful! You have given me the confidence to at least toy with the idea of covering the hideous floral rocker that currently sits in my baby’s room with a blanket thrown over it. It’s just SO comfortable, but truly ugly.

  64. 64
    Stacey says:

    Is there anything you can’t do?!!

  65. 65
    Guest says:

    Wow, that is really impressive! :) You actually make it look easy (in some way) :)

  66. 66
    Emmanuelle says:

    You did an amazing job! (as always!) I love the fabric you chose, it gives a very elegant look to the armchair. It makes me want to do the same now!

  67. 67
    Azy says:

    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing :)

  68. 68

    Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest
    authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my readers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  69. 69
    Liz Farnsworth says:

    This is such a great tutorial! After reading it I totally thought this is something I could do! You are fabulous!

  70. 70

    Wow! Well done! Now I am empowered to do one!

  71. 71
    annely says:

    This is absolutely amazing! It looks like it’s lots of work but I can imagine how happy you are with the end result. The chair looks so beautiful!

  72. 72
    Rose Vernon says:

    Thank you sooooo much!

  73. 73
    Morgan says:

    Did you wash your fabric first? I have a chair I’ve been wanting to do for years but I’ve always been too scared! Thanks for the tips!

  74. 74
    Julie says:

    I rarely ever comment, but I just had to, to tell you what a great job you did! It looks fabulous and you’ve given me the confidence to maybe try this myself! Thanks so much. Well done!

  75. 75
    Kate says:

    I’m so excited that you did this! I’ve seen people doing this on Pinterest and it looks so overwhelming. But I think your tutorials are so easy to follow! I have a Lazy Boy chair with great cushions and ripped upholstery so I’m excited/scared to try!

  76. 76
    MJ says:

    Wow this is beyond impressive! It look relatively easy at the beginning of the post, but by the end I’m like ‘I could never do that’! LOL. My compliments, the chair looks amazing!

  77. 77
    Maggy Wheeland says:

    WHat kind of stapler you use? A stapler gun? I want to reupholster a chair and a little couch in my living room but need to know if I have to buy and stapler gun.
    Thank you!

  78. 78
    laura says:

    You are amazing, and so is the chair! I can’t thank you enough for this…I just inherited my grandmother’s chairs, and the upholsterer quoted me $350 for each chair…I am going to attempt it myself now! Thank you so much for taking the time to help others like me!

  79. 79
    Jen in NM says:

    I bought this fabric a few weekends ago when Joann’s was having their 60% off sale to make an upholstered headboard (photos can’t do it justice – it’s fabulous!) and thought how great it would look on a chair. Thanks for showing not only how it looks but how to make it happen! And those pillows look great against the white.

  80. 80

    OMGosh….you’ve saved my life! ok, maybe I’m being slightly melo-dramatic, but I have A LOT of recovering to do and this is the best tute, I’ve seen yet! Thank you!

  81. 81

    Lovely! I tackled an Ikea Poang chair not too long ago, but this one is so impressive. I’ve wanted to learn how to reupholster a proper chair for a while now! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I will definitely get some use out of it some day soon.

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    Great tutorial, Ashley. I made my way here via CG’s best of the blogosphere. I have a naked chair that’s waiting for a new cover, but it was already stripped when I got it, so I didn’t have an example to work from. Now I do! I figured I’d have to use at least a couple of tack strips, but had no idea how they work. Thanks so much for the step-by-step instructions.

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    EXCELLENT tutorial! I have reupholstered furniture and it is tedious but well worth the effort. I’ve never taken pictures of the process. Duh! What a stress saver! Thanks so much!

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    Sarah says:

    I have that exact same chair (and its matching ottoman), bought new to rock my 1st daughter in. Two babies and years of toddler abuse on its original white and green toile upholstery left it in sorry shape so I reupholstered mine. I did exactly what you did, and it’s held up beautifully. It was my first project, and now I want to redo everything that’s not nailed down. I got 11yds of fabric (because I did the ottoman, too; I had a good bit left over) for a steal on eBay, so the whole project cost about $50.

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    Thanks SO much for the great step by step tutorial! I may even get brave enough to attempt it on a recent Goodwill find!

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    Maggie says:

    Wow! The Armchair looks amazing all made over. I know how much work that is (I re-upholstered my couch and love seat some time ago) so I know how much effort you put into getting staples out and just getting it all apart only to start over. Well done!

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    Arialvetica says:

    In case anyone is wondering, the chair is by Best Chairs and is called NAVA.

    I purchased my glider for $430, and the matching ottoman for $232. Mine’s finished in a lovely tweed fabric. Bookmarking this tutorial for when it’s time to reupholster it! :)

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    Kristen says:

    I have always wanted to learn to upholster, and now you have made it seem so possible! I’ll never look at those cute thrift store chairs the same way again. Thank you, so much!

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    Victoria says:

    Awesome job! I’m so in awe of how good a job you did. I wish I had half your talent. What type of stapler did you use for this? I think you might have given me courage to redo our bar stools. You made this look so easy!

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    Jan Spohn says:

    Beautiful job of reupholstering!!!! I did a couch and two arm chairs many years ago and wish I had seen your tutorial. I was going with only a little black and white booklet I had picked up at JoAnns and then to boot used PLAID upholstery fabric. Matching those seams was a bunch of grief. They did well though and held up a long time. Thanks for sharing your work!

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    Laura says:

    Love the tutorial…I have done boat cushions, a chair, and a love seat. I love doing it. It is like working a puzzle and is a lot of fun.

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    LeRae says:

    Amazing!! Will have to muster up some courage and do a chair!!

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    Charlotte says:

    How inspirational! You make me feel like, even though I’ve never done it, I can finally tackle that wing back chair I’ve been wanting to reupholster. Thanks so much for the great how-to pictures.

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    Lisa E says:

    You did an amazing job. I picked up a chair that has the same general shape as yours, including that rolled back, some tufting, yet no skirt for just $4.99 at Savers (thrift shop). I bought fabric at a great sale at JoAnns. I bought 5 yards, hope that’s enough! From somebody else’s blog I ordered online the cardboard tack strip, the nail tacking strip and even this metal stuff called curve ease. Now I just have to get my butt in gear and tackle it. I’m not sure I’ll try the tufting. We shall see. This is a wonderful tutorial. So detailed. It definitely gives me confidence to tackle the project sooner than later! I did find some awesome videos as well on You Tube by Kim’s Upholstery so I will be using both. I have a question that I see a few have asked, but it has yet to be answered and I’m hoping you will help us out. The professional in her videos uses this electric stapler that is so quiet. I have the usual staple gun that is hard to push and is definitely not quiet. Will you please let us know what type you used? I’d really appreciate it. Again, awesome job and thanx for the detailed post!

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    Claudia says:

    Holy Crap ! (Am I allowed to say this ?) This is such a GORGEOUS chair ! I think this is one of the last realms of DIY I have not stepped in yet but with this tutorial, that I could not stop reading, I definitely feel confortable to try it ! Thanks so much ! This is extremely helpful. As well as the yardage table. I am definietly keeping this preciously in my files (I am not into pinning yet…). And thanks for the little tricks and all those wonderful pics ! You are truely heroic ! Quick question: How many hours did you spend on the project ?

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    Abbey says:

    Your work is amazing. The chair looks fab and the tutorial is so helpful and detailed. Abbey :)

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    Eileen says:

    Thank you! no really your amazing and THANK YOOOOOUUU! :))))))

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    Eugenia says:

    Love all of this and will try to post pics of my project, which is very similar, but involves a huge comfy old chair and matching ottoman. Thinking of doing something a little in between a reupholstery project and slip cover… an attached cotton cover with some pinch pleats here and there to give it a whimsical look.

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    Mary says:

    Great job, and very inspiring.

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    Melanie says:

    Wow! Great tutorial. I just recovered a chair and wish I had found this before.