How to Upholster an Outdoor Dining Room Seat

Item # X-HT-200656

It’s amazing how something as small as a seat cushion can change the look of your whole dining set. As a part of our Outdoor Dining Area Makeover, we sanded and refinished the wood on an old dining table and chairs to give them new life. The seats on these chairs had seen better days, too, so we decided to recover them and we’re going to share the process with you! Re-covering seat covers is a great beginner-level upholstery project. Let’s take a look at how to re-cover dining chair seats and how to add a moisture barrier to the foam.

Reupholstered dining room chair seats

Even though our chairs are under a covered porch, we wanted to add some moisture blocking elements to protect the foam. On the cushion’s interior, we took the extra step to add a layer of Cushion Wrap Silk Film (#103933) around the foam. If your cushion has batting and foam, the silk film would be placed on top of both of those layers. For the exterior, we covered the cushions with a Sunbrella® Upholstery fabric, which is water, mildew, stain and UV resistant.

If you are using a decorative fabric with a pattern, you’ll want to take care to line up the pattern in the same way on all of your chairs. Select an element of the fabric pattern that you want to be centered on the chair, and lay out your fabric accordingly. If using stripes, choose a center stripe and then make sure it is straight on the seat before stapling.

You can use the upholstery principles from this project for chairs of the same style inside your home too. For interior use, the silk film is optional; you can leave it out or add it for protection against spills.

In this video, you will learn how to remove the old fabric from your chair seat, plump up the foam, add silk film, and attach decorative fabric.

Have you ever re-covered seat cushions before? What advice would you have for the process? Share your experiences in the comments!

Video Chapters:

  • Removing Old Fabric & Applying a Thin Foam – 0:29 min.
  • Adding Silk Film – 3:21 min.
  • Stapling Decorative Fabric to Seat – 4:37 min.
  • Materials List – 9:28 min.

Materials List:

  • Fabric Backed Sew Foam #121507 (to build up old foam) OR Medium Density Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foam #182M2480
  • Cushion Wrap Silk Film #103933
  • Decorative Fabric (we used Sunbrella®)
  • Cushion Underlining (we used Gray #774100)
  • Galvinized Steel Staples #8012GSZ

Tools List:

  • Tack and Staple Remover #104319
  • Sailrite® Short Nose Staple Gun #121410
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver