How to Cover a Chair

Two Methods:Using Slip CoversReupholstering a Chair

There are several ways you can cover a chair to match your décor or hide a flaw. You can buy or make a slipcover. If you want a more permanent solution, grab your nail gun and reupholster a chair with your favorite fabric.

Method 1
Using Slip Covers

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    Contact the company who made the furniture to see if they suggest a certain type of slipcover. If the chair is in an unusual shape or is heavily upholstered, it may not work with a standard slipcover. Searching for the type of furniture and the term “slipcover” in online forums may also work.
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    Measure your chair to see if you can find a slipcover that will work. Make sure to include the height, width and depth of the chair. Then, measure any additional parts, such as an ottoman.
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    Look for slipcovers from décor and box stores. Target, Walmart, Pottery Barn and Overstock sell a wide variety of slipcovers. You can get a slipcover with elastic bands that wrap around the bottom of the furniture.
    • This is best for upholstered chairs and sofas.
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    Opt for a one-size-fits-all chair slipcover. These are also available from home décor stores and they are designed to tie tightly to cover a chair. Consider purchasing cushion slipcovers separately so that you can create an upholstered look.
    • Remove the cushions. Tie the removable cushion covers on to each one separately.
    • Arrange the slipcover over the chair, then begin to tuck it into the corners of the frame. Tie it where applicable.
    • Push a large paper towel roll into the crevices of the chair. It will keep the slipcover tucked in.
    • Buy twist pins in order to form pleats with the slipcover and hold them in place.
    • Replace the covered cushion on top of your customized slipcover.[1]
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    Purchase dining chair covers from wedding supply stores or home décor stores. These are specially designed to fit over a standard dining room chair and tie at the back. They are good for everyday use or to dress up a home for special events.
    • Good dining chair covers can cost between $30 and $200.
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    Use a patterned sheet if you need to cover a chair quickly. You can wrap the sheet under the base and pin it with twist pins or a nail gun.

Method 2
Reupholstering a Chair

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    Take a photo of your upholstered chair. You will need to remember how it looked from all angles.
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    Begin peeling the upholstery up by loosening staples with needle nosed pliers. When you get a whole piece of upholstery fabric up, lay it face down and label where it goes with a piece of masking tape and a marker.
    • Consider also listing the order in which you removed your upholstery pieces.
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    Repeat until all the sections of upholstery are removed. You may need to remove and label buttons, foam pieces or batting.
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    Purchase six to seven yards of upholstery fabric, in which you will cover your chair. Lay the fabric face down on your floor or workspace. Make sure your workspace is very clean before doing so.
    • Also, find matching piping or make your own if your chair has piping.
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    Place the old upholstery pieces on top of the new fabric. Draw around them with a fabric pen. Your old pieces will serve as a pattern for the new upholstery.
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    Cut out the patterns with a sharp pair of fabric scissors. Sew any buttons or piping that is required. Use this time to repaint or refinish wooden portions of the chair.
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    Reassemble your chair in reverse order. Use tack strips to tack on fabric that must be stretched. Use upholstery tacks for smaller, hard to reach places.
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    Staple the majority of the upholstery fabric at the bottom of the chair. You can always cover that portion with a spare piece of fabric, cut to size.
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    Wrap the upholstery fabric around batting and foam for the cushions. Secure it with staples and tack strips. Consider replacing the foam if it is not very soft.
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    Insert piping around the edges if your chair requires it. Sew the piping into place with a needle and thread.
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    Cut a piece of fabric to cover the bottom of the chair and hide your staples and tack strips. Do a whipstitch around the perimeter of the fabric to attach it loosely. This fabric can be a different color, because it will not be easy to view.

Things You'll Need

  • Sized slipcover
  • One-size fits all slipcover
  • Dining chair slipcovers
  • Patterned bed sheet
  • Twist pins
  • Paper towel roll
  • Cushion covers
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Masking tape
  • Marker
  • Fabric scissors
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Batting/foam (optional)
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Piping
  • Tack strips
  • Upholstery tacks

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