How to Upholster a Barstool

Item # X-HT-200697

Wooden barstools are common in home bars and at kitchen counters. Give your wooden stools a little more personality and a softer seat by upholstering the top. We’re going to show you how to add upholstery to the top of a plain stool. If you have an already upholstered stool, you can remove the fabric and then follow these same instructions. This is a great entry-level project if you’re interested in trying out upholstery but don’t feel quite ready to take apart a big chair yet.

Finished bar stool with fabric top.

To start this project, we did a little thinking about how we’d like the finished stools to look. We decided to run a row of piping on both the top and bottom of the chair to create a really professional and polished look. This piping is an optional step and can be left out if that’s your preference.

Our stools were going to be for a kitchen counter, so we chose an indoor/outdoor fabric because it’s durable and easy to clean. Any home upholstery fabric could be used for this project, so the choices are wide open. For the foam, we went with a foam batting, which is an economical option for occasional seating like this. If your stools are high-traffic seats in your home, you might want to opt for using polyurethane foam, which is less likely to compress over time. We have several options of antimicrobial polyurethane foam.

If you master this project and want to move on to larger upholstery projects, check out our "How to Reupholster an Armchair" video (#200668XHT).

Video Chapters:

  • Patterning Foam & Fabric – 0:21 min.
  • Making Piping – 4:57 min.
  • Sewing Piping & Boxing to Top – 8:54 min.
  • Stapling Cover on Stool – 13:12 min.
  • Adding Bottom Piping – 16:28 min.
  • Materials List – 18:48 min.

Materials List:

  • Indoor/Outdoor Upholstery Fabric
  • Polyester batting layered to equal 2" thick #100158
  • Medium 5/32" Welting Cord #122444
  • Nylon Thread (we used #106130)
  • Cardboard Upholstery Tack Strip 1/2" #106420
  • Staples #8012GZ

Tools List:

  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LS Walking Foot Sewing Machine (100-230V) #300500
  • Sailrite® Long Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121411 or Heavy Duty Hand Stapler
  • Multiuse Pins 1-1/2" #102985
  • Gingher® 8" Scissors Right Handed #19104
  • Sailrite® Canvas Patterning Ruler #107040
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
  • Cutting Mat 18" x 24" #102990
  • Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter 60mm #9655
  • Tape Measure, Marker, Pencil