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How to Reupholster (it's easier than you'd think!)

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

I love small arts and craft projects but typically put off larger ones like reupholstering furniture, because just the thought of reupholstering is overwhelming.

I had no idea how to reupholster but our dining room benches were in pretty bad shape. **cough, cough** (I'm looking at you, kids). My husband wanted to replace the benches, but at $120 each, and me being cheap AF, that wasn't going to happen.

As I started researching furniture upholstery tutorials, it seemed like most upholstery projects are done in basically the same manner. As far as the individual furniture you're working with, you don't really know what you're dealing with until you get in there. Typically, all you need the following: a staple gun and staples (heavy duty, depending on furniture), a screwdriver, some fabric glue and fabric.

Step 1: Break it down

Taking the dining room bench apart was way easier than I thought it would be. I only had to remove the screws that were holding the furniture together. Of course, I took the legs off individually, then realized I didn't need to. I didn't even need my drill (which wasn't charged anyway). A screwdriver easily took out a few screw from each side.

My staple gun had a staple remover on it, but the thick fabric made it tough to get the staples out. I used a flat head screwdriver and pliers to get them out, but would NOT recommend it. It was time consuming and I almost stabbed myself many times. If you really want to half a** it you could just leave the fabric and apply the new one over it.

Pay attention to how you're breaking it down, as you'll need to put it back together.

Step 2: Measure

After removing the fabric, stretch it flat and measure. Take a look at the foam and anything else underneath to see if anything else needs upcycling. Have you heard the expression- 'Measure twice, cut once'? It applies even more when you have to go somewhere and pay for fabric cut by the yard. It's better to pay for an extra couple inches than have to buy more and have your first purchase completely useless.

Step 3: Purchase fabric

My benches had leather on them. I wanted my upcycled furniture to be made with something more economical, and less dead-animal-y. I found some gorgeous vinyl with a diamond pattern sewn in. It was the most expensive choice and I got about 50% more than I needed, since I figured I'd find a way to mess it up. I still only spent about $20 and have a ton of fabric leftover. Had I gone with a simple solid black or brown, it only would have been about $5!!

Step 4: Put it back together

After cutting your fabric to size, wrap your furniture how the previous fabric was.

Be sure to pull the fabric taught when stapling it in place. The corners can be cut and/or folded accordion style for less visible creases.

After reupholstering with vinyl, I replaced the interfacing fabric to hide the staples and give a cleaner finished look. We screwed the base back on, and voila- A reupholstered / upcycled bench.

I had no idea how to reupholster furniture, but instead of spending $240 and throwing these in a landfill, I only spent $20 to reupholster 2 dining room benches, and I like them way better than the originals!

Do you plan on reupholstering any of your furniture?

I'd love to see before/after photos! E-mail me here so I can see and share your work.

If you liked this furniture re-upholstery tutorial, be sure to pin it and subscribe below for e-mail updates and other DIY projects.

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