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  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)
  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)
  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)
  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)
  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)
  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)
  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)
  • (Photo: Koko Tchorbadjian)

Reupholster a chair with Tyffany Pratt

It’s the perfect time of year to evaluate your space and do a bit of sprucing up! And reupholstering a flea market find.

It’s the perfect time of year to evaluate your space and do a bit of sprucing up! And reupholstering a flea market find (or let’s be honest, a side-of-the-road find) is a great way to do just that.

But first, a pep talk: Fellow makers, you do not have to be good at anything to accomplish this! I am living proof. I try lots of projects and end up winging it to get the job done. I’ve learned a lot along the way, including a few quick and dirty tricks for reupholstering a chair. Just in case you fall in love with a gem on the side of the street and want to make it yours. (It happens all the time!)

Things you will need:

  • A small chair or stool that needs a facelift
  • A glue gun and glue
  • Cotton batting
  • Scissors
  • Fabric and trim
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Bristol board
  • Screw driver (or a drill)
  • Great music!

Step 1. Assess the situation

If you see something at a market or on the side of the street, the first thing you need to do is check out the condition of the found goods. Is the structure in good shape? Is it sturdy and worthy of the love you are about to bestow? Is the padding in good shape? Will you need to replace anything? This is the time where you ask yourself if this chair is going to change the face of your room and your life. Is it worth the investment?

Step 2. Accept the mission

If you answered “yes” to the last question, then collect your supplies, carve the time and let’s get started! Please find all of the items listed above and do not forge ahead until you have it all. Once you do, head outside or to some spacious place, put on some tunes and get ready to rock.

Step 3. Destruction and creation

Using your screwdriver or drill, remove the seat from the base of the chair and check out the condition of your padding. If your padding looks ample—leave it. If not, trace an extra layer or two of cotton batting and hot-glue that puppy on top of the existing padding. Then pull out your new fabric and roughly cut out a generous amount of it to tightly wrap around your new padding. Use your staple gun to tack the fabric down on the bottom of the chair. Snip off the excess fabric from around the stapled edge. Trace your seat shape out on Bristol board and cut a shape large enough to cover over the raw edges of fabric on the bottom of your seat. Staple the Bristol board to seal up the fabric edge. Repeat these steps if your stool has a back (like mine did!)

Step 4. The cherry on top

Once you have your seat recovered in the new fabric, now is the time to add any fancy new trims to it with some good old hot glue. This step makes any “unprofessional” ripples or edges disappear instantly and creates a fun, textured finish. Once this final touch is added, it is time to get that screwdriver out and re-attach your seat to the base.

That’s it! You did it! Yes, you really did. You recovered your own chair and it looks really good.

-by Tiffany Pratt