I often come across dining chairs that I like the shape of but the seats are ruined or covered in horrible, old fabric. Usually, these chairs are very, very cheap but I’ve always walked away in the past because I’ve thought that to re-upholster the seat is a professional’s job and it would cost me a fortune.
However, I recently recovered a Lloyd Loom laundry basket, which isn’t too dissimilar to a seat pad, and I realised how easy it is. So I want to show you how simple and cheap it can be to transform a good chair.
I have found the perfect fabric to match the chair. Lorna Syson is a designer of contemporary interior accessories, including fabric, wallpapers, lampshades and cushions. I love the retro edge and the influence of the Great British outdoors. I fell in love with one particular print that I decided to use for my chair and I now want a whole room wallpapered in it!
You will need:
Webbing, upholstery tacks and a staple gun. I bought the webbing and tacks from Heritage Upholstery Supplies, which is a great online shop with lots of information about each product – perfect for the novice. I bought 50g of the 13mm improved tacks and 5m of the quality elastic webbing 25.
You need foam for the seat pad. I always buy it from efoam as they cut it to measure. I chose a 5cm thick piece as I want my seat well padded but you can choose a thinner base.
Polyester wadding that I buy from eBay.
Pliers (or an upholstery tack remover if you have one)
The ‘before’ shot. Enough to put you off buying the chair?
1. Remove the tacks holding the old fabric in place. Use pliers or an upholstery tack remover if you have it. I have to say this was the most difficult part! Keep the old fabric, as this can be the pattern for your new fabric.
2. Remove all the old webbing and padding.
3. Remove the tacks that held the webbing in place.
4. When your frame is free of tacks you need to begin attaching your new webbing. Cut pieces of webbing to stretch the length and width of the frame and add 10cm so that you can fold back 5cm at each end of the webbing. Lay each piece side by side and make sure they are taut when you tack them with your hammer.
5. Now attach the widthways strips in a similar way, but weaving them in and out of the webbing already in place.
6. Spray the woven base with glue and stick the foam on top of it.
7. Place the frame, foam side down, on the wadding and staple gun it onto the underside of the frame, pulling it as tautly as possible. This helps to smooth the corners and edges of the foam.
8. Place the frame, foam side down, onto your fabric. Make sure you have the pattern facing in the right direction. Begin tacking the fabric onto the underside of the frame, working outwards from the middle. I did one tack in the middle of the front of the seat and then one tack in the middle of the back of the seat and so on. This way your fabric remains taut and in the correct position. Next do the sides, leaving the corners until last. I turned the raw edge over and used enamel pins for a neat finish. However, you can use the staple gun or tacks as you won’t be able to see it when the chair is put back together. If you want to, for a neat finish, you can buy a piece of hessian 5cm bigger than the size of your seat frame. Place it over the underside of the chair, then turn the raw edges and staple or tack close to the folded edge.
9. When you get to the corners you need to pull the fabric over the corner as tautly as possible and secure it with a tack.
10. Fold over one side and tack it.
11. Fold over the other side and add another tack (I’ve used an enamel pin but this is not necessary). The thicker your fabric, the trickier this step is.
12. The most important thing when you are doing the corners is to make sure the fabric is as taut as possible.
Finished! Pop your seat pad back in the chair (with some chairs you will need to screw them in).
I love the combination of the yellow of the fabric and the honey tones of the wood. Perfect!
And look who else likes it…
I hope you all have a go – it really is very easy and the best bit is you can’t see the bottom so if you make any mistakes it doesn’t matter. Such an easy way to transform an old piece of furniture.
Thank you very much to the lovely Lorna Syson for the beautiful fabric. Do have a peek at her website and here are a few of my other faves from her collection:
I love the beautiful greys and angular shapes of this Blizzard fabric.
Modern prints with a retro aesthetic, like these cushions, work really well with vintage furniture.
Hope you all have a great weekend x