For a great way to breathe new life into an old chair, consider getting it professionally reupholstered. The process is a bit complicated and can be difficult for novices to master, but there are many benefits to hiring an expert upholsterer. The materials and tools needed for the project can be expensive, and reupholstering can require hours of work. However, there are some ways to help reduce the cost and save time when reupholstering your favorite chair.
The first step in reupholstering a chair is to remove the old fabric and any upholstery tacks or tack strips from the chair seat and back. This is typically done using a screwdriver and pliers. It is important to keep all of these parts labeled so they can be reattached in the correct place when putting the chair back together.
When removing the existing fabric from your chair, try to be careful and preserve as much of the original material as possible. This will be used as a pattern when cutting the new fabric and will help to guide you when reassembling the chair. Also, save any tacks or cardboard strips that are attached to the chair; these will be used to hold the new fabric in place.
It is important to choose an appropriate fabric for reupholstery. Ideally, the fabric should be sturdy enough to be pulled tight during the reupholstery process and durable enough to stand up to daily use for years to come. Most upholstery fabrics are sold at fabric stores and will be labeled to indicate whether they are suitable for upholstering. If you are unsure of what fabric to purchase, speak with an upholsterer at the store to get their advice and recommendations.
Once you have chosen the right fabric for your chair, cut it to size so that it will wrap around the seat cushion and be long enough to reach the chair back and bottom frame. The fabric should be slightly longer and wider than the chair so that it can be folded and stapled to create a hem along the bottom and sides of the seat. For a smoother finish, add welt cord; this can be purchased at most fabric or upholstery shops or made at home.
When you are ready to start stapling the new fabric, flip the chair seat over and center the fabric over the bottom of the chair. Lightly stretch the fabric and install a series of staples along the front of the seat, stopping 2 in. from each corner. Continue this process for the back and each side of the chair seat.
Once all of the straight areas are stapled, it is time to tackle the corners. It is recommended that you fold the corner of the fabric into small, even pleats and pull it tightly before stapling. This will make the corners look neat and tidy, and it helps prevent the corner from collapsing and looking uneven. Once all of the corners are finished, it is a good idea to eye the entire area and trim any excess fabric with scissors or a utility knife.