Furnishing a house can be expensive, especially in the dining room, but it doesn't have to be. Buying used dining room chairs at an estate sale or new chairs at a discounted dining room furniture store can be an inexpensive way to get the pieces you need. Even if those pieces aren't your ideal set, you can customize them and make them your own by reupholstering the seat cushions. Here's how to do it.
The first step in reupholstering is finding your new fabric. You want something smooth that's durable, won't stain, won't wrinkle, and is easy to wash. That means you should avoid soft, easily damaged fabrics like chenille. Instead, look for something like acetate, an imitation silk fabric, or acrylic, an imitation wool fabric. Other great synthetics fabrics include polyester and microfiber. There are also a few wonderful natural fabrics including cotton blends (pure cotton tends to wrinkle) and linen. It's really up to you to choose the fabric you think will work best in your space. Just keep in mind that examining the fabric in person at a fabric store is always better than buying online, sight unseen.
Remove the Cushion
The second step is to remove the seat cushion. Fortunately, in most cases this is easily done. Flip the chair over and take a look at the bottom. Notice the little pieces of wood in each corner of the chair. Each one has a screw in it that is fastening the cushion to the frame. You'll need to remove the screws at each of the four corners. The screws are typically inset into the corner pieces so you'll need a screwdriver or power drill with a longer bit. Once you've removed the screws, the cushion should come right off but you might need to give it a little tap to loosen it.
Remove the Cardboard and Old Fabric
Some cushions have a piece of cardboard covering the fabric on the bottom. You'll need to remove the staples attaching it to the wood before proceeding. Don't throw it away. Even if you don't want to keep it to add to your seats, you'll need it for a pattern to make your own. Now remove the staple attaching the old fabric. Sometimes a flathead screwdriver will work for this or you might need a staple remover. Make note of how the old fabric is tucked and folded. Use the old fabric as a pattern to trace an outline on your new fabric and then cut it out. If the chairs are old, you might want to replace the cushion foam too.
Put on the New Fabric
Now simply wrap your new fabric around the cushion, taking note of how the old fabric was folded and tucked. Use a staple gun with 20 or 22 gauge staples, about ¼" in length, to fasten the fabric. You can pick these up at any home improvement store. Now replace the cardboard and screw the cushion back in place. With the help of some fabric and staples, your chairs will feel more like yours.
For years, I thought that the best furniture was items you didn't have to pay very much for. I spent a lot of time looking for different pieces online, but I was constantly surprised by how poor the quality was with some of the items I purchased. Fortunately, I realized this pretty early, and I started looking for furniture that would actually stand the test of time. I found a beautiful sofa and love seat a few weeks later from a nice furniture store, and the difference was astounding. Furniture is one of those things that really matters, so check out this website to learn more about finding pieces you will love.