How To Reupholster A Sofa Chair For Beginners

We have three steps to teach you how to reupholster a sofa chair. We’ll discuss everything from disassembly to the proper attachment of the new material. You will also learn some techniques for chairs that you can’t take apart and those with wooden arms. 

Additionally, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the proper reupholstery process for the specific sofa you have. For example, check this guide on how to reupholster an antique sofa. The procedure is the same, but there are extra techniques tailored to antique furniture. 

how to reupholster a sofa chair


How To Reupholster A Sofa Chair Yourself


Step 1. Disassemble the sofa and remove the current upholstery

  • Inspect the overall construction of the sofa chair to know how to disassemble it and how the current upholstery is attached
  • You may need to remove the sofa legs to make the upholstery removal easier
  • Tip the chair over to access its bottom cover easier
  • Remove the parts of the chair that attach to the main frame accordingly
  • Document and take a picture of each removal to help you with reinstallation later
  • Mark each piece that you removed to remind you of their placement and direction
  • If possible, keep the tack strips and welting intact because you can use them as stencils for new ones
  • Remove the current upholstery by loosening the tacks or staples with a flat-head screwdriver
  • If the sofa chair have sewn upholstery, find the seams and cut each fabric piece accordingly
  • Know where each upholstery piece attaches because you can use them as the pattern for the new material

Step 2. Check the batting and other parts

  • Once the sofa chair is bare, use this as an opportunity to inspect the batting
  • You may need to replace the batting if it’s too degraded before reupholstering the sofa chair
  • Fix the broken sofa frame if needed or check for any loose parts that need tightening 
  • After ensuring that the general sofa is intact and in good shape, begin cutting the new material Pin the removed upholstery pieces over the new fabric and cut around them with three inches of allowance at the edge
  • Be mindful of the design if your upholstery has one to ensure that they will show well when installed
  • Note that some upholstery pieces can be combined to make installation easier

Step 3. Attach the new upholstery

  • Use your pictures and markings to guide with installing the new material
  • Pull each piece taut before stapling it in place to ensure no wrinkling
  • The staples should be hidden at the back using a separate panel
  • Trim the excess upholstery or tuck them underneath the cracks and crevices
  • Use the old welting pieces as patterns to make the new one and sew them around the bottom of the seat
  • Attach the back panel upholstery using a tack strip 
  • Reassemble the rest of the sofa chair
  • Replace a new bottom panel fabric
  • Turn the sofa chair right side up and check for any adjustments

How To Reupholster A Chair That Doesn’t Come Apart?

It’s possible to reupholster a sofa with attached cushions, which means you can also reupholster a sofa chair with non-removable parts. The process will be a bit different because you can’t separate the seat from the frame.

  1. Measure the seat area from side to side and allocate 10 inches of fabric allowance for the upholstery
  2. Measure the area of the sofa chair from front to back and give 5 inches of fabric allowance for the upholstery
  3. Cut and prepare the new material
  4. Trace the bottom of the seat with a poster board and use it as a stencil for the upholstery foam
  5. Use the same poster board to cut cotton batting and align it over the foam 
  6. Attach the two with adhesive 
  7. Place the batting and foam over the fabric with adhesive
  8. Lay the foam over the sofa seat and pull the fabric underneath
  9. Staple the upholstery underneath the chair
  10. Make the necessary adjustments with the fabric

How To Reupholster An Armchair With Wooden Arms

Reupholstering an armchair or any seat with wooden arms should not intimidate you. The secret is working around them and ensuring that you measure your materials well. 

  1. Measure the seat side to side to get the width and add 8 inches of allowance
  2. Measure the seat from front to back to get the length and add 8 inches of allowance
  3. Cut and prepare the new upholstery using the measurements
  4. Inspect the current attachment of the upholstery and remove it with the upholstery foam
  5. Cut a new piece of upholstery foam utilizing the size of the seat
  6. Spray the armchair seat with adhesive to install the upholstery foam
  7. Layer it with cotton batting and trim the excess on the sides
  8. Center the batting over the upholstery fabric and cut around it with half an inch of fabric allowance
  9. Place the batting and fabric over the foam and pin
  10. Pull the fabric taut and staple it under the chair


Do you need to rejuvenate your sofa chair? In this article, you have learned how to reupholster a sofa chair in three steps. We hope it gives you an idea if this project is something you can do yourself. 

To recap, you’ll disassemble the chair and remove the current upholstery. Then, make the necessary repairs and replacements on the inner parts before installing the new upholstery. The process is relatively easy because you can use the old pieces as patterns for the new upholstery. 


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