How to Reupholster an Armchair

SKU: X-HT-200668



Do you have an old armchair that is looking dated but otherwise is still in good shape and comfortable to sit on? Pieces like that are the perfect candidates for new upholstery. Upholstery projects can look really intimidating, but if you take your time and work step-by-step they aren’t as tricky as they seem. If you can use a staple gun and do simple sewing, you can reupholster a chair. With the guidance of our expert seamstress and upholsterer, we'll show you how easy it is to reupholster an armchair when you break it down into simple, easy-to-follow steps. Join us for this fun upholstery how-to.

The frame of the chair that we are reupholstering is still sturdy and the cushions are plush and comfortable to sit on, but the fabric was outdated and we just weren’t loving the look of the armchair anymore. To give our armchair a fresh look, we chose a bright and fun floral upholstery fabric. We also removed the skirt, revealing the chair's legs, which helped to modernize the look and style of the armchair.

Different chairs can be very different on the inside, but many of the principles are the same. So although your chair may not be exactly like ours, you can use the techniques outlined in the video to redo almost any upholstered chair.

Since we chose a patterned fabric for our chair, you will see Cindi, our seamstress and upholsterer, carefully patterning the fabric pieces so the main flower in our pattern is centered on the chair. This does use more fabric and takes a little more thought, but the end result will look professional. She breaks down all of her methods in the video, so you'll also be able to align your fabric's pattern in the most eye-catching way.

In this video, we’ll show you how to systematically disassemble and reassemble your chair and how to use cardboard and metal tack strips in your upholstery to get clean edges. You’ll also learn how to make bias piping and how to apply it to the edges of your chair.

Our chair has an upholstered frame with removable cushions for the seat and the backrest. This first video will only cover the upholstery of the frame. Watch the companion video, "How to Make Armchair Cushions" (#200669XHT), to see how to sew the seat and backrest cushions.

If you’re unsure how much fabric you need for your chair reupholstery project, check out our helpful Fabric Calculator, which provides general estimates for a variety of upholstery projects. Let us know how your upholstery project went! Post photos of your before and after upholstery DIY using #Sailrite so we can see your amazing work!

  • Evaluating the Chair – 0:50 min.
  • Removing Old Upholstered Fabric – 2:16 min.
  • Patterning and Installing:
  • Deck – 14:43 min.
  • Inside Arm – 42:16 min.
  • Inside Back – 01:01:22 min.
  • Outside Arms – 01:07:07 min.
  • Outside Back – 01:14:07 min.
  • Front Arm Stump Panel – 01:24:02 min.
  • Making Piping – 01:30:20 min.
  • Applying Piping – 01:35:09 min.
  • Applying Dust Cover – 01:41:15 min.
  • Fastening Front Arm Stump Panel – 01:43:00 min.
  • Materials List – 01:45:15 min.
  • Home Décor Fabric
  • Tex 70 Nylon Thread
  • Polyester Batting #100158
  • 1/2" Cardboard Upholstery Tack Strip #106420
  • Cotton Braided Piping
  • Black Cambric Dust Cover Fabric #122549
  • 27" Upholstery Tack Strip #106422
  • 21 Gauge 1/2" (12mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Galvanized) #8012GZ
  • Twine #29206
  • Tack & Staple Remover #104319
  • Rawhide Upholstery Mallet #106423
  • Seam Ripper Deluxe #18104
  • Multiuse Pins 1-1/2" #102985
  • Assorted Curved Hand Sewing Needles #100100
  • Sailrite® Long Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121411
  • Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter 60mm #9655
  • Cutting Mat 18" x 24" #123112
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
  • Marker, Pliers, Wire Cutters, Scissors, Tape Measure, Twine, Pencil, Nails, Sewing Machine