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Have a seat! Refresh an old chair with these simple steps

Have a seat! Refresh an old chair with these simple steps

Guest blog by Rae Fleming, an independent blogger and DIYer in Minnesota.

Let's have a seat, rest, and catch up! It's been a busy summer for me: moving my folks to town, keeping up with baseball schedules, running to hockey clinics, a working teenager, starting a new job, and raising two teenagers. Even with everything going on, I'm thrilled to have partnered with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore again on this SUPER easy DIY project! Nothing is quite as easy as reupholstering a simple chair, so I'm hoping you give it a try.

Keep reading to see the steps I took to make the transformation with a $5 chair found at the ReStore in New Brighton.

A collage of DIY images.


  • Chair

  • Staple gun (and staples)

  • New upholstery

  • Sandpaper (optional)

  • Stain/paint (optional)

  • Screwdriver


STEP 1: Find a chair you LOVE! Well, LOVE and needs a facelift! I LOVE this one from Restore, but it was perfect as is! The Restore has so many chairs to choose from, many sets as well as singles!

The New Brighton ReStore storefront.

Rae in a round chair.

Rae's project chair at ReStore.
Here is the chair I decided to transform. It was only $5!!!

STEP 2: Separate the seat from the chair using a screwdriver.

Unscrewing the base from the chair seat.

The chair and seat sitting next to each other.


STEP 3: Remove the upholstery from the seat (a flat screwdriver works well to remove the staples). My seat just happened to reveal a nice, clean cream-colored upholstery. Not my vision for this DIY, however.

Removing staples.

The chair's original upholstery.

Rae's rabbit Mr. Witherspoon walking on the fabric.
Mr. Witherspoon (aka Reese) was very curious about the buzzing project!

STEP 4: Buy enough fabric (duck cloth or upholstery fabric) to cover the seat. This chair will be for my daughter's desk - she wanted green....and she got it! Boom! I ended up getting a little less than a yard (on sale at Hobby Lobby). Use the old upholstery to guarantee you get enough.

A new lime green bolt of fabric, labeled "Pantone 15-6437 - Grass green."

The old upholstery fabric laid on top of the new.


STEP 5: Trace the old fabric onto the new fabric and cut.

Tracing the shape of the fabric.

Cutting the new fabric.

Comparing the shape of the old and new fabric.

STEP 6: Lay the seat on the newly cut fabric and staple. Don't pull too tightly or it will make dents and pucker. Make folds and overlap as needed to prevent wrinkles and uneven upholstering. It's a bit like wrapping the corner of a gift. It takes a bit of trial and error at first.

The chair seat laid on top of the new fabric.

Stapling the new fabric to the seat.

Close-up of the stapling.

Close-up of a corner stapled down.

The seat after stapling is complete.

A staple gun.

STEP 7 (Optional): Sand and/or clean the chair, before reattaching the seat. I used a sand block followed by an orbital sander to prepare mine (150 grit, followed by 220). I wasn't going for a terribly uniformed look - just something fresh and clean.

Rae sanding the chair.

The chair after sanding.

The chair after being stained.

A can of wood stain.

STEP 8: After the stain/paint dries, re-attach the seat with the original screws. That's it! Easiest DIY, people!! Get yourself to ReStore and give an old chair new life to sit down and rest on!

Tiffany Blog - Reattach Seat

The finished chair!

Finished chair with desk.

I'm looking forward to having the kids BACK at school and having a schedule. Maybe I'll have additional projects to tackle this fall. Enjoy the beautiful weather while you can and get to work on an outdoor project or two!

Feel free to comment below, join me on my own blog, Buzzing Scotch Lass, or connect on Instagram.

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