How to Upholster a Chair Cushion

March 01, 2018

I love spending my Saturdays perusing the aisles of local thrift stores. You truly never know what you are going to find! Sometimes it's a flop, but I usually find something that inspires me to DIY. 

This chair had a great shape, it was sturdy, and it was cheap. Check, check, and check. When I'm thrift shopping for furniture, I am not looking for perfection. I'm just looking for a starting point. I didn't love -- or even like -- the plasticy, shiny black seat cushion, but I saw beyond it.

Keep reading to see how I transformed this chair!


Chair with a removable cushion
Upholstery fabric that is an appropriate size for your chair
Flat screwdriver
Staple gun with staples
10 straight pins
Tape measure

Step One

Find a chair with a removable cushion. Cushions with square corners are easiest to work on, so I suggest you keep an eye out for those. Make sure that the chair is structurally sound and that you like the shape and style of it -- those aren't easy things to change!

Step Two

Remove the chair cushion and carefully remove all staples and fasteners using a flat screwdriver. Be careful to not cut yourself on the staples. Remove the original upholstery fabric and set it aside.

Step Three

Measure the original upholstery fabric and use the dimensions to help you decide how much fabric you should purchase. Visit your local fabric store (I usually go to Joanne) and buy either upholstery fabric or outdoor fabric. Outdoor fabric has a similar thickness and quality to upholstery fabric, and it is usually cheaper. 

Step Four

Lay the chair cushion on the floor or a big table and drape the new upholstery fabric over it. Adjust the fabric so that the desired pattern is visible on the cushion. Temporarily secure the fabric to the cushion by piercing it with a straight pin. Use the pins to secure all areas of the fabric to the cushion. This step is important so that the fabric does not move when you flip the cushion over. 

Step Five

Flip the cushion over and cut the fabric so that there is enough to cover the sides of the cushion and overlap the back of the cushion by two to three inches. Make sure that there is enough fabric by folding it over the cushion.

Step Six

Use the guide below to fold and secure the corners of the fabric. Make sure to pull the fabric tightly around the cushion so that it doesn't bubble. Use plenty of staples, and be sure to position the staple gun so that it is flat against the bottom of the cushion before pulling the trigger.

Step Seven

Secure the fabric around all sides of the cushion using a staple gun. Pull the fabric tight before stapling. Again, be sure to position the staple gun so that it is flat against the bottom of the cushion before pulling the trigger.. Staple the fabric around the perimeter of the cushion so that it is secure. 

Step Eight

Put the cushion back into the frame of your chair. Voila! You now have a stylish piece of furniture!

Shop this post

Flat head screwdriver //
Fabric scissors //
Staple gun //
Tape measure //

You Might Also Like


  1. Thank you for sharing . I have a couple chairs that need work. Your post will be a help.

    1. You're welcome! Please let me know if you have any questions! :)

  2. This is a wonderful post. I enjoyed the information lot. I will bookmark this page. Thanks for sharing this information about Seat Cushion