Demystifying the Complicated
The first time I was in the same room with this chair, I didn’t even see it despite its orange color. Luckily, someone took me over and introduced me to it. Some very happily married women might say the same of their husbands. Like love, reupholstering can be intimidating, but let yourself fall or you may miss a chance of a lifetime.
“Just take it apart piece by piece and then put it back the same way,” said instructions for my first reupholstry project. It was that simple. I held my breath and jumped. I’m glad I did.
Here are some general tips to demystify reupholstering.
The fabric on most furniture is only held together by staples and glue. I don’t know why I always thought some massive industrial machine was required. Go to the home improvement store and buy a heavy duty stapler and a box of big staples.
When you pull off the fabric, try not to tear it too much. It will serve as your pattern when you cut the new fabric pieces. I found an awesome surprise in this chair, the stuffing was horsehair! The cushion was down.
Use durable fabric with no patterns or, god forbid, stripes you have to line up! I like chenile for its forgiveness; it hides a lot of sins. The fabric I used on this project was from an old pair of curtains I repurposed. An average chair takes 6 yards. Consider the remnant section for your first try.
This is the most important tip: when you’re taking apart the chair, do 1 piece at a time and pay attention to how it was put together. For example, how is it stapled? And in what order? Sometimes staples are hidden under fabric from another piece of the chair. It’s like a puzzle that fits together piece by piece, so take your time. (puppy not to be confused with stuffing, though she is pretty fluffy)
The staples on the visible parts of the chair need to be covered. This chair had trim glued to it. Brilliant! But trim can be costly. I found a great online warehouse and paid less than a dollar a yard. I used fabric glue to adhere it, but you may be able to use hot glue.
To reference my earlier analogy, upholstery, like a good marriage, involves pulling, tugging, and stretching to get it right, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Final photo by Rick Dumont Images—thank you, Honey.