By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Add pizzazz to an old chair from a flea market with bright, colorful fabric and you'll make it a focal point in a room. Reupholstering a straight back chair seat, as opposed to a larger overstuffed one, is a good first-time project for the not-so-handy homeowner because it's small in size and doesn't require a lot of time or expensive tools. The most difficult part of the job is choosing from the myriad of decorator materials. For planning purposes, do any refinishing or painting to the chair frame before reupholstering the seat and back.
Compare the cost of hiring a reupholstery service and doing it yourself. To reupholster a basic 20-inch square chair seat in moderately priced fabric, a reupholstery service will charge $197, which includes the labor and material. You can do the job for $85, the cost to reupholster a chair which covers the fabric and batting to pad the seat. Use a long-nose pliers to remove nails or staples in the frame, then unscrew the old seat with a screwdriver and remove the fabric and padding. Cut new fabric the size of the old material and center the design of the new fabric on the seat. You'll need a pair of sharp scissors to cut the fabric and batting to size. Then use an electric staple gun to fasten the new covering to the bottom of the chair frame and reinstall it with the screws you removed.
For instructions go to wikiHow to learn how to Reupholster a Chair.
There are several good books on the subject: The Little Upholstery Book by Shelly Miller Leer, Cane & Rush Seating by Charlotte LaHalle and Style Stitch Staple: Basic Upholstery Skills to Tackle Any Project by Hannah Stanton.
Don't want to get involved doing this job yourself? Click
Home Advisor, a free referral service that connects homeowners with local prescreened contractors. Just type "reupholster furniture" in their Find Pros search box.
Now you know the average cost to reupholster a chair, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020