out with the new & fancy, in with the toddler proof [or reupholstering dining chairs]

i completed one of my very first DIY feats a couple of weeks ago!
i’ve done crafts stuff before sure.
but this was like a whole new level of home DIY for me.
i was pretty proud of myself
{no matter how poor of a job it was… ha}

we didn’t have a dining table when we first moved since we were borrowing one in our old place.
my grandparents happened to be moving the same time that we moved in and had a new table {still in the box} they needed “stored” until they were moved into a bigger place.

it’s a beautiful set and fits perfectly in our nook!
however, the light colored fabric on the seats is not really the most ideal when you have a messy two-year-old.
and since i wasn’t sure if/when my grandma wanted the table back, i didn’t want Elijah to totally ruin her pretty {and expensive} chairs for good.
so i decided to re-cover the chairs with some new material to protect the original fabric underneath.

this is what the chairs looked like before:

and here’s the after:

they are not perfect by any means
but i’m so so proud of them!!
they also cost less than $15 to make [not counting the staple gun which i decided everyone needs in a toolbox] so that was a HUGE plus knowing how much i love bargains :)

i meant to do a little tutorial but i forgot to take pictures until Adam reminded me when i was on my last chair.
so here’s my {rather poor} attempt of showing you how i did it :)

materials needed [for my cheap unprofessional upholstering version]:
fabric [i got cotton instead of upholstery fabric cause it was TONS cheaper]
about a yard and a half of fabric covered 2 cushions but make sure you measure the widest part of the cushion, the length, and the thickness as well as giving yourself room for stapling when you purchase your fabric. 

:: vinyl to protect the existing fabric [if you choose to go that route. but i actually used a vinyl shower curtain instead cause it was only $2 :)]

:: staple gun [i recommend one from a home improvement store. the one from Joann’s was terrible]

:: a strong husband to help you stretch the fabric tight :)

i ended up covering the existing upholstery with vinyl first for two reasons.
1. to protect the original fabric so any spills/stains don’t seep through
{especially since i just got cotton fabric and it was thin}
and 2. since the cotton fabric was thin and a light color i didn’t want the original fabric to show through. so i used the white vinyl to make it more opaque.

here’s how i recovered them:
[again i forgot to take pictures from the beginning so… sorry about that.]

1. first, i put my cushion upside down on the vinyl to measure how much i would need.
i folded over the sides to make sure it gave me enough to staple but not too much because i was going to stretch it tight to fit on the cushion snugly.

2. then, i stapled the sides of vinyl first around the cushion.
since it was a vinyl shower curtain instead of thick vinyl from the fabric store i had to be careful to make it tight fitting without ripping it from the staples.


3. next, i pulled up the corners, making sure i didn’t leave any folds/creases on the top side of the cushion. then i stapled the vinyl down around the edges of the vinyl as well as closer in toward the edge of the cushion to make sure it was held down securely since it was thicker in those areas.

chair recover

this is what the cushions looked like once they were flipped over with the vinyl covering.


[this is where i forgot to take pictures]

4. after the vinyl was on it was time it was time to add the fabric!
it was basically repeating all the same steps as before with the vinyl but now just with fabric.
it was a little more important though to pull the fabric tight {this is where you may need help} so that it was snug against the cushion.
i think in some areas i pulled it too tight though or wasn’t as consistent cause if you look closely the edges are kind of bumpy… so just don’t look closely :)

5. once the fabric is on, the bottom of the cushion will kind of look like a hot mess with fabric stapled everywhere. i am really picky so i couldn’t handle the ugly view of it all.
plus, you could kind of see the fabric hanging down under the chair which was annoying.

SO! i found some old muslin fabric i had on hand and used it to make a kind of “dust cover” to hide the mess. i just cut the muslin in the shape of the chair and stapled it to the bottom making sure it was covering the other staples and fabric edges.

it looked like this afterwards:


6. finally, i attached the cushions to the chair and was done!


i decided to use two different fabrics for the chairs because i liked them both and couldn’t really decide which one to use, haha.
i also like that it gives it that fun eclectic look but still being very classy and uniform
{perfect mix of both mine and Adam’s style}

[the one of the right was one of the first i did so it doesn’t look as good as the one on the left which was the last one after i got the hang of it, ha :/]

like i said before, it’s definitely not perfect at all.
and maybe some of you more seasoned DIYers are dying from laughing at my attempts.
[which i’ll probably look back and think the same]
but i’m still so proud of them!
and they truly help make this space feel more like our home.


now that i taught myself something like this, it helped me gain a new sense of confidence to try new things and take on different challenges in the DIY department.
can’t wait to do more!

have you recovered anything before?
any tips on recovering other furniture?
i’d love to hear about your reupholstering projects!


:::note- i know i could’ve put vinyl over the top of the cushions instead of in between the original fabric and the new fabric. or even over the old fabric. but Adam adamantly refused to have plastic covered chairs. he had very strong moral objections to it. so that’s also why i did the weird “unnecessary-but-necessary-random-vinyl/shower curtain-layer-under-the-fabric” thing. it’s weird but it works :)



linking up with I Heart Naptime & Tatertots & Jello


Meredith Hilton said...

feels good to accomplish something like that, doesn't it! :) and oh the things we do to protect our home from our toddlers! crazy but so so necessary!

Rachel said...

When I was growing up, my Mom always had a strong requirement that our chairs good not have cushions on them because she knew that between the 7 of us kids, we'd ruin them. This is a good alternative if you're in the situation of being given a table and chair set like that! And I love that you used two different fabrics for the chairs.

Amber M. said...

I did this once except I didn't do nearly as good a job as you did. I just kind of rushed it to see if I could. Yours look amazing!

Ariel Tyler Henley said...

Looks great!!

Amy Harrison said...

Great D.I.Y. :D And this is a really nice blog you have here :)
Amy x

Rachel said...

Megan! It's amazing! Way too go, it seriously looks great. Now if you could just tell me a way to protect our white carpet from getting destroyed... ha.

April Phillips said...

Fabulous!! *applause* :)

Bri Rios said...

Omg, good for you!!! These look great!! :D I always feel like that after big DIY's, although it's not perfect, I made it and put the time in and so I love it. :) Your chairs look great, and I hope you are getting used to the Arizona heat!

Magz and Mez said...

You should be proud! They look so pretty!

Love the print on them,

Magz and Mez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Goodman said...

Good job! They look great. Those fabrics (but in the teal color) are what we have in our nursery. :) So cute.

Kristen said...

You did a fantastic job! And the vinyl shower curtain - what a fab idea!! I am needing to do ours too, but I'm glad you did yours first and blogged about it so now I can make sure I use the vinyl too!! :)


Anonymous said...

Wow, you did such a great job. I've always wanted to try reupholstering chairs, but I'm so nervous I'm going to ruin them. But hopefully if I ever try it will end up looking like this :) cause they certainly look great. Love the fabric you picked too and how they're different patterns. Genius!