3 Things to Know Before Reupholstering DiningRoom Chairs

3 Things to Know Before Reupholstering DiningRoom Chairs

In 2015, I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time. We'd bought our 1920s Craftsman just six months prior, and hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family seemed like the thing to do for a new homeowner/maker! 

I planned a menu comprised entirely of recipes taken from a vintage Jacques Pèpin cookbook given to me by a dear friend, ordered a turkey from a local farm, handmade a tablecloth and napkins ... in short, I went overboard like only a Type A-personality, wanna-be Martha Stewart can. 

Anyway, one of the preparations we made was to buy a new dining room set. Well, new to us anyway. We purchased a mid-century table that seats six comfortably. We got it for a steal at a local vintage store, in part because the dated brown and speckled silver-upholstered chairs were in desperate need of refinishing. 

Refinishing fairly basic dining room chairs is extremely easy. All you need is fabric and a staple gun. You should probably use a measuring tape too, to my point below. There are a few things to keep in mind though, should you undertake this project. Here's what I learned from doing mine:

Choose your fabric wisely. We use our dining room table a lot. In fact, I'm sitting at it right now, surrounded by three beverages, my sewing machine, my cell phone, some magazines, my Kindle and the dish I just ate lunch off of. I've been sitting at this table for the better part of today. My husband has joined me here for two meals so far and so have a couple of cats. I truly should have taken that amount of use into account when I chose the thin cotton/polyester, cross-hatched fabric for the seats of these chairs. After less than a year, they were already showing wear that included stains, fading and fuzzing from vacuuming off mountains of cat hair, and pulls from aforementioned cats' claws. 

If you get a lot of use out of your dining room chairs, consider a wipeable, stain-resistant fabric like acrylic, leather, vinyl or even wool. If you have cats, consider keeping the chairs covered unless company is over. Or training them (Abby says it's not as hard as people think)!

Measure. Duh. I love cooking but hate baking. Know why? I can't stand to measure. I'm notoriously bad about it when it comes to sewing projects. The number of times I've had to fix a curtain hem because it didn't match its pair is embarrassing. Apparently, I just never learn my lesson. 

When I reupholstered my chairs, I just laid the fabric on the floor, put the chair bases and backs on top of the fabric and then cut what I thought would be enough fabric to pull tight and staple. In most cases, I was correct, but there were a few corners and sides where I didn't get it *just right* and as a result, I have fabric that puckers in those spots. Maybe this time I'll learn?

Match your chairs to the rest of the room. Obviously, choosing a color or pattern that goes with the overall scheme of the room is a no-brainer. However, I actually went one step further and used the same fabric for the backs of my chairs and the window valence. The result is a pretty, inexpensive way to give the room a professional designer's touch ... only the whole project probably cost me $100 and eight hours.

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