This before after is my very first attempt at a fabric chair makeover.
OK, it’s not just a fabric chair, it’s a wing-back recliner! Oh my, what did I get myself into?
To be honest, I had to face my doubts and fears before jumping into my first ( and not-so-beginners’ ) re-upholstery project.
Totally worth it: we love the fresh new look of this makeover, and it was quite a fun learning process!
In this step by step tutorial , I will share with you an overview of everything I have learned about how to makeover an upholstered recliner chair, and lots of helpful tips for beginners . If I can do it, so can anyone!
The beginnings: this wing-back recliner chair was a Craigslist find. Although it is a well-made chair, I never liked the fabric.
It sat in our guest bedroom until we started our epic decluttering a few months ago. The rule for us was: only keep things we truly love, and let go of the rest. ( More on that in another post!)
So a decision has to be made: should we donate it, or transform it into a chair that spark joy every time we see it?
You know I can’t resist a potentially fun before after DIY project. When my dear mom happened to send me some beautiful floral home decor fabric, I took a deep breath, and dived in.
Note: please check out a list of very helpful tips at the end before you start – tips such as : take photos of each step when you remove the fabrics, so you can reverse the steps when putting new fabrics on!
IMPORTANT: follow basic safety rules when working with tools and sharp objects! Learn to use each tool properly. Use caution and work safely. Wear good quality working gloves and safety eye goggles when needed.
The essential tools needed for removing old fabric: ( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. ) a flat screw driver to remove strip tacks, an upholstery staple remover , and safety eye goggles to protect yourself from potential flying staples!
Step 1: start from the back
The back piece is held in place by cardboard strips and upholstery tack strips. Once we remove the back fabric, we get a clear view of how the other pieces are held together so we can begin to remove them.
The upholstery staple remover is such a great little tool that makes the job so much easier. All the staples come up pretty easily with the help of this tool!
Step 2: remove front fabrics
Don’t strain yourself. Turn the recliner chair over when working on the bottom side.
IMPORTANT: put all the loose staples and tack strips in a box so no one steps on these sharp debris!
You can save the piping cords and cover them with new fabrics later.
Related article: How we “remodeled” an outdoor patio using pallets, as renters!
Step 3: remove side panel fabrics
Pay close attention to how the side panel fabrics are attached to the recliner chair frame. Take LOTS of photos for later reference!
I found this area to be the most challenging part of the whole project.
Tip: use the removed fabrics as patterns. Trace them onto your new fabric using a water erasable fabric marking pen or a pencil.
I had planned to remove all the old fabric, then start adding new fabric. But something unexpected made me change my plans. Continue To Next Page…