How to: Revamp an old chair

Have you ever revamped an old chair? As trends change, the furniture we once loved can suddenly look ugly, dated and very shabby, which is exactly what happened to my set of dining chairs (image below). My husband was insistent that we took them to the skip, but I had other ideas ;0) Nothing gets skipped in our household until I am sure it can’t be up-cycled, free-cycled or painted!  On this occasion it was an up-cycle procedure.

I had some gorgeous mustard fabric left over from a fashion shoot, and so I thought I would have a go at re-upholstering (similar fabric found here).  I would like to point out at this stage, I have never re-upholstered a chair like this before, but seeing as nearly every household owned one just like this in early 2000, I thought it only right to have a go.  You now have the option of bringing yours into the 21st century…!


You will need

  • A chair
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors
  • Gloves (if you have a lot of chairs to do as it helps to protect nails)
  • Fabric of your choice, it needs to be fairly thick
  1. Cut out a rectangular panel and drape it over the  back rest , leaving about 3 inches all around the edges.
  2. Push fabric ends into the crease, where the seat meets the back of the chair.
  3. Pull the fabric taught at the sides and top to create a smooth appearance. Now staple down the sides and top to fix this panel in place (don’t worry too much about neatness as this will be covered, it’s just important to pull the fabric tight!)
  4. Now cut a seperate piece of fabric to cover the back panel, leaving about 3 inches around the edges.
  5. Start at the top and fold the fabric in on itself, then staple.  Next do the sides, keeping the fabric taught at all times, leave the bottom hanging down.
  6. Pull the bottom panel down tightly and turn the chair upside, then staple it to the underneath of the chair.
  7. Take care to make neat folds at the corners (see image ref).
  8. Cut a square large enough to cover the seat and again, tuck the fabric in to conceal the ends.
  9. Pull the fabric taught at the sides, turn the chair upside down and then tuck the fabric under to make a neat edge.
  10. Staple all around keeping the fabric taught, making sure the staples are nice and neat.




Meet Pippa

Pippa Jameson is an author, tv designer and interiors expert. The previous interior editor on several leading UK titles, Pippa has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Throughout her 25-year career, Pippa’s unique and creative approach has won her commissions for large retail brands and celebrities to deliver exciting and engaging projects. 

She’s written the curriculum for the British College of Interior Design, produced and styled shoots for well-known brands including John Lewis, H&M & Team GB/DFS, worked as an International Stylist for leading paint brands in Asia, consulted on the launch and creative direction of major retail names including George Home and Wren, and most recently, published her first book, The Sensory Home. Pippa possesses expertise unmatched in the interior industry.