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I loved these parsons chairs in my dining room, but, frankly, was getting tired of the brown paisley fabric. I didn’t have a budget for new chairs, so I decided to try reupholstering them. You won’t believe how easy it is – I’ll show you how to reupholster parsons chairs!
In an afternoon, my chairs went from brown paisley, above, to this:
Here’s how I did it.
Fabric – I found this upholstery-weight gray fabric at Joann’s. How much you need will depend on the number of chairs you are recovering, but I would estimate about a yard and a half to two yards per chair (I estimate on the high side, in case I mess up the fabric somehow).
Staple gun (manual or electric) – I used THIS ONE.
Scissors – I use THESE.
Rubber mallet like THIS ONE
Nailhead trim. I purchased this roll of nailhead trim. The roll of trim is much easier to work with than nailing each individual nailhead in!
Measure the Fabric
How you measure the fabric will depend on whether you are pulling off the old fabric or covering over it. I was using a heavy fabric to reupholster the chairs, so I could just go over the existing fabric.
If you reupholster over existing fabric, then measure the back of the chair, the seat of the chair, and the back seat cushion (perpendicular to the seat). For the back seat cushion, don’t forget to measure the part that goes over the top of the chair and around the sides.
I added an extra inch to each measure of fabric, just in case. I could always trim the extra off later; I’d rather have too much fabric than too little.
If you are pulling off the old fabric, the best way to measure is to remove the fabric in one piece, without rips or tears, and then measure that. In other words, use the old fabric as a template for the new fabric.
Attach the Fabric
To attach the fabric, you can either use a regular, manual staple gun or an electric staple gun. I used this electric staple gun because the fabric I was using was thick. I was afraid a manual staple gun might not have the power needed.
I started with the back seat cushion of the chair. I draped the fabric over the back seat cushion and stapled it around the top edge. Staple in a line around the edge of the chair. The nailhead trim will cover the staples that way.
Staple the fabric in place all around the back of the seat cushion. For the corners, fold them neatly like a present to make a tight fit, then staple in place.
The staple for the corner fold won’t show, so don’t worry if it’s not in line with the other staples.
For the part of the back cushion that meets the seat, tuck the fabric in between the seat and the cushion and then create a fold and staple it either around the back of the cushion or underneath the seat, whichever works best.
Next, do the seat. Tuck the fabric between the seat and the back cushion; for the rest, pull it taut and staple it underneath the seat. Fold the corners like you’re wrapping a present and staple underneath. Cut off any excess.
Lastly, do the back of the seat cushion. Take the fabric and start at the top of the chair. Fold the top cut edge under and then staple around the top edge. Then fold under the cut edges all the way around the chair and staple in place. This way, you have a neat edge without having to sew a seam.
As you staple, try to keep all the staples in a straight line. That will make covering them with the nailhead trim easier.
Here’s what it should look like after stapling:
Cut off any excess fabric after stapling.
Apply the Trim
Lastly, apply the nailhead trim. I used a roll of trim, because it was much easier than nailing in each individual nailhead. All you do it unroll it and nail it in at the designated spots on the roll (you’ll see some of the nailhead spots have holes for the nails (included in the kit)).
Hammer the nails in with a rubber mallet to avoid denting or damaging the nails.
I did this with the chair in this position (above) because it made nailing the trim in much easier.
Voila! Here’s the final product:
I’m so happy with the result!
FYI: I recovered these chairs two years ago and they are holding up beautifully, even with more activity in the dining room!
What do you think? Would you try this with your chairs? As always, please leave a comment or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions!