I know I have talked several times about recovering your dining-room chairs as a quick, easy and inexpensive way to update the look of your room.
I always knew it was a simple project, but this past week I decided to take my own advice and cover my chairs. It was so easy that I did it while watching Frasier reruns and finished in two nights, so I am going to share with you exactly how to do it.
First, you need to evaluate your chairs to figure out if they are the kind that can be recovered. Flip a chair over and look at the underside. There should be four wood blocks, one in each corner, that have screws in them holding the seat in place. If so, you are in good shape to proceed.
You are going to need a few supplies before you can get started.
The most obvious is the fabric. Look for fabrics that will be forgiving, like random prints and solids with a slight amount of stretch. Avoid plaids or stripes, which will be really difficult to line up properly. Also, try to avoid fabrics that have too much give to them because they can end up looking warped on the chairs when you pull them tight. You will need about a half yard for each seat. You can also measure the seats and add six inches to each measurement to get the amount of fabric to purchase. Remember, you need not use the same fabric on all of the chairs. I used three different fabrics, with two chairs in each fabric.
You will also need a staple gun, pliers, screwdriver, scissors that will cut fabric cleanly and a trash bag.
Now you are ready to get started. Flip your first chair over and unscrew each of the screws from the four corners. The seat should just fall away from the chair frame. You now need to remove all the staples from the underside of the seat. You can use the screwdriver to dig them out and then use the pliers to yank out the tricky ones. Once you have all the staples out, the fabric seat cover should just fall off. Throw that out.
To recover the chair, you will want to lay out your fabric on a flat surface with the inside facing you. Make sure there are no wrinkles in the fabric (I had to iron mine). Lay the seat cushion side-down on the fabric. Now wrap the back of the seat in the fabric and staple into place. Make sure to use enough staples to secure the fabric. Then pull the front into place, checking to ensure it is pulled tight, and then staple. Think of it as wrapping presents by folding it over at each of the four corners so there is a nice decorative element.
Once the seat is covered, you just need to screw it back into the frame securely and move on to the next chair.
It really is that simple. If you make a mistake, you just need to pull out a few staples and rework the fabric. The biggest challenge I had was piecing one of my cushions back together after my dog shredded it.
Julie Chrissis is a professional home stager and interior decorator based in Nashua and Malden, Mass. She can reached at email@example.com.