Updated at: 21-03-2023 - By: Helen Skeates

Knowing how much fabric to reupholster a chair can be a challenge after deciding to spruce up that antique you’ve been hoarding. You can count on your estimate to be either too high or too low if you don’t take the time to measure the actual value.

One could argue that an abundance is preferable to a scarcity of resources. However, you can save money by purchasing exactly the amount of fabric you need. In all honesty, reupholstering can be pricey, so you’ll be able to put that extra cash toward something else.

Learn more about reupholstering, how much fabric you’ll need, what materials to buy, and how to stay safe while working on your project.

Why Reupholster a Chair?

No matter if you’re refinishing a chair you’ve had for years or a new purchase, reupholstering it can add years to the piece’s useful life. Changing out the worn upholstery on your chairs is a simple DIY project that will refresh the look of your furniture and room.

How to Upholster a Chair (DIY) | Family Handyman

The act of reupholstering a chair allows you to reuse and recycle materials, which can help you save money and keep unwanted items out of landfills. It’s worth a trip to the thrift store to see if there’s a set of matching dining room chairs or a mid-century wingback chair that needs reupholstering.

You can always reupholster another chair, give it away, or sell it if you decide to change your mind about the current look of your home. The amount of money you can make from reupholstering a chair depends on several factors, including the chair’s original price, the brand from which you purchased it, and the quality of the wood used to construct the frame.

Benefits of Reupholstering Chairs, Couches and Other Furniture

Freshen Up Your Space

Altering the look of a room often necessitates replacing the upholstery on a few key pieces of furniture. You can give the room a new look without spending a lot of money by reupholstering old or broken pieces of furniture.


Reupholstering is a viable alternative to simply throwing away old furniture. It’s also possible that you can breathe new life into a cheap chair you picked up at a garage sale by giving it a makeover.

Save a Favourite or Heirloom

You shouldn’t toss out that comfortable sofa or chair that was handed down to you from grandma and grandpa just because it’s showing signs of wear or is out of style. You can give your item a whole new look by having it reupholstered. Maple Drapery has a wide variety of upholstery and general-use fabrics, so they can help you find one that is comparable to the original.

Make the Most of Your Quality Furniture

Finding high-quality furniture can be challenging. Reupholstery is a great option because older, traditional furniture often outlasts its modern counterparts. If you have a sofa with a solid wood frame that is still in good condition, reupholstering it could end up saving you money in the long run.


It’s not uncommon to go shopping for an item and discover that it doesn’t come in the precise fabric, color, or pattern you had in mind. When having furniture reupholstered, you can choose a design that best suits your tastes. This comes in handy if you need a sofa or ottoman but can only accommodate a certain size or shape in your living room. Even if you manage to track down the ideal chair, its seat material probably won’t complement your current decor.

What Fabrics To Use When Reupholstering?

1. Cotton Blend

Although cotton is already a fairly sturdy fiber on its own, the durability of the fabric can be improved by adding synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon.

Dining room chair upholstery made from a cotton-blend fabric will last longer, look better, and be easier to clean.

A stain-resistant agent, such as Scotch guard, makes it simple to care for cotton-blend upholstery.


  • The ability to withstand normal use without being damaged.
  • Enhanced life expectancy.
  • Fabrics that allow air to pass through and keep you at a more comfortable temperature.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • It’s available in a wide variety of designs, colors, and styles.


  • Can soak up water quickly, which can lead to rot or discoloration if not addressed.

2. Faux Suede

Microsuede (also known as faux suede) is a well-liked type of synthetic material. It looks and feels like genuine leather without the high price tag. The fabric is lightweight and simple to clean. On top of that, it holds up well over time.

Keep in mind that dirt, debris, and superficial marks are more noticeable on a faux fabric with a lighter color scheme.

However, unlike real suede, this fantastic plastic-based alternative is cruelty-free to animals and stands up to spills and tears remarkably well.


  • This appears to be a high-end product.
  • Has a gentle texture.
  • Spots and grime can be easily scrubbed away.
  • It’s a great option for families with kids and pets.


  • The light color of the faux suede fabric will show any stains or dirt.

3. Leather

Enjoy some high-end seating options upholstered in genuine leather. The product is offered in three different textures. Top-grain leather, which is also the most expensive option, is the highest quality and most sought-after type of leather.

Full-grain leather, the second type, has more visible natural flaws like hair follicles and skin wrinkles.

Lastly, there is corrected-grain leather, which is the type that is typically buffed to achieve a uniform sheen. Furniture upholstered in genuine leather is resilient, long-lasting, and comfortable.


  • Stylish in appearance.
  • Fits comfortably amongst the aesthetics of the present, the past, and the present day.
  • Inconveniently, it’s not hard to clean.


  • Costs a lot sometimes.
  • Extreme heat makes it feel sticky and hot.

4. Tweed

As a chair upholstery fabric, tweed offers a number of benefits. Tweed is typically woven from long-lasting woolen fibers, which lend the fabric a beautiful and rugged natural patina.

To keep it looking its best, tweed requires only the occasional spot cleaning with a mild detergent and a vacuum, as well as regular vacuuming. Your chairs will have a timeless and elegant appearance when upholstered in tweed.


  • It can withstand being rained on, getting dirty, and smelling bad.
  • This woolen material is much more substantial and robust than ordinary wool.
  • Includes a wealth of nuanced texture.
  • It’s easy and relaxing to wear.
  • It has a classy appearance.


  • Picking the right methods and products for cleaning can be challenging. Avoid letting the grime sink into the fabric.

5. Velvet

You can save money by having your chairs upholstered with velvet. It’s also available in a wide range of hues and designs.

How to Measure Dining Room Chairs for Upholstery Fabric | OFS Maker's Mill

The fact that it lasts for a long time only adds to its widespread acclaim. Velvet is a special fabric because of its luxurious feel, resistance to stains, or intricate weave. Stains can be removed by blotting and the fabric can be gently brushed.


  • High-quality fabric that will last a long time.
  • Soft and pleasant to the skin.
  • Ultra-plush.
  • Cotton, polyester, and mohair are all available.


  • Some pet hair may be attracted to the fibers.
  • The fabric can deteriorate from prolonged exposure to sunlight.

6. Vinyl

Choose vinyl if you need a fabric that won’t fade or crack in the sun, and wipe it clean with a damp cloth.

Vinyl comes in leather-like styles, intricate embossed patterns, and textured woven options in a variety of solid colors.

This material is inexpensive, durable, and stylish all at the same time.


  • Most stains come out easily with a cleaning.
  • A sturdy substitute for genuine leather.
  • Can be found in a wide range of hues and grain patterns.


  • Dried-out materials tend to tear, rip, and crack.

Tips To Know How Much Fabric For Reupholstery Project

1. Assess your chair

After you’ve completed your reupholstery plan, the first step is to examine the chair you’ll be working on. How much fabric you’ll need depends heavily on factors like design, pattern, and your own method of working. You’ll need more yards of fabric if the design calls for ruffles or other elaborate folding techniques.

2. Check your budget

Please check if it is financially feasible to purchase several yards of that fabric after inspecting the chair and making notes on how you want it to look. In order to minimize the financial impact of reupholstering, any savings you can make are appreciated. But make sure it won’t lower the standard of your work.

3. It depends on what kind of chair

The type of chair you’re recovering will also determine the size of fabric you’ll need. In order to cover a standard club chair in fabric, you might need about 7 yards. In addition, the content will rely on some specifics that you may wish to put in your chair.

Dining chairs are another common target for reupholstery. Most dining chairs have elaborate designs that may require more fabric than is typically used for accent chairs, so it’s important to consider the pattern before purchasing any of these seating options.

4. Don’t throw the old fabric just yet

A good indicator of how much new fabric will be needed for reupholstery is to examine the existing upholstery. Before you throw it away, measure it so you have an idea of how much you’ll need to buy the replacement. On the other hand, don’t give up quite yet.

It’s worth noting that a margin of error of a few inches might come in handy here. Old clothing can sometimes shrink. Incorporate sufficient storage to eliminate the need to make repeat trips to the store.

5. Measure it yourself

Don’t fret if you’ve already trashed the worn out material. Get out a ruler, a pencil, and a notebook. Then, take precise measurements of your chair’s frame, seat, back, and any other areas that will need fabric.

Also, keep in mind that you might need a few extra yards of fabric if you plan on doing any additional design work. Avoid wasting resources by allocating too much allowance.

How To Be Safe While Doing A Reupholstery?

Even though reupholstering might appear to be a low-risk DIY task, there are still precautions you should take. To begin, always take precautions when handling potentially hazardous materials; for example, when working with strong adhesives, always use gloves and a face mask. You shouldn’t be touching any of the superglues.

Some upholstery tools, such as staple guns, pliers, and a table saw, require special care when used. When chopping wood, it’s important to wear goggles because the sawdust can irritate the eyes. Wood dust or wood shavings can cause respiratory irritation, including to the eyes, throat, and nose, as stated by CCOHS.

While the time and effort required for chair upholstery projects varies, these tools can be helpful at various points:

  • Remover pliers or a stapler Use one of these to get rid of the staples holding the worn out upholstery together.
  • Scissors Fabric for new seats can be trimmed with sharp scissors, so you can get rid of any excess without wasting material.
  • Screwdriver The seat cushion is typically screwed to the frame and must be removed in order to clean the chair. It will be useful to have both small and large flathead and Phillips screwdrivers on hand.
  • Machine for sewing It’s possible to upholster by hand-sewing the fabric, but a sewing machine will make the process much faster and easier.
  • Plier gun The easiest way to secure the batting or cushion to the seat is to use a staple gun.
  • Strip of adhesive tacks By using a tack strip, you can ensure that your tacking pattern is straight and consistent as you work.
  • Cloth for cushions If you’ve never upholstered before, it’s smart to buy a little extra material in case you need to do a few test runs.
  • Webbing Some chairs, especially traditional chairs, have their seats reinforced with burlap webbing woven in a crisscross pattern.

How to Reupholster a Chair: Beginner-Intermediate DIY GuideHow to Reupholster a Dining Room Chair (No Sewing Required!) - Dengarden

How to Reupholster a Chair

While the steps required to successfully reupholster a chair may seem daunting at first, with the right resources and know-how, the process is actually quite straightforward and inexpensive. If you want to make your next upholstery job easier, try following these steps:

  1. Take out the cushion. It’s best to start by taking the seat off the chair’s frame. In order to get to the screws on the bottom of the chair, you’ll need to turn the frame upside down.
  2. Taking off the old seat coverings Taking care to not disturb the cut lines, remove the worn fabric. Labeling the fabric pieces can help with cutting the replacement fabric to the same dimensions and assembly. Labeling the different sides of the old fabric with terms like “front,” “back,” “right,” “left,” and so on can be helpful.
  3. Make sure the cushion is replaced if it gets worn out. The cushion may have worn out from years of use. Simply trace the existing cushion’s outline and cut a new piece of foam to fit. The new cushion can be secured to the seat’s frame with staples.
  4. Wrap the seat in the new material. Cushions are usually centered on the back (the side of the fabric without the pattern) of the new fabric after it has been cut to size. As you staple it down, pull the fabric taut to secure it. In order to prevent creases and unsightly tucks, fold the fabric as needed, paying special attention to the corners.
  5. Connect the seat back to the base. Put the cushion where it belongs and screw it back onto the frame of the chair.


Knowing how much fabric to use when reupholstering a chair can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Having the right knowledge and using the advice we’ve given above should get you there. Don’t forget that the amount of fabric needed will vary depending on the style of chair you’re making.