On reupholstering my dining chairs…

After just about a year in our new home, I’m finally getting around to a few of those updates that I was just too overwhelmed to tackle early on.  First up, our dining table chairs!


I can’t tell you about our dining set without telling you that my parents are totally rad.  After pinning several chrome dining sets on Pinterest, I started to show my mom a few I was thinking of buying off Craigslist.  “You can do better than that,” my mom said, but I didn’t believe her until she showed up at our house with this beauty they found in a barn sale.

Of course, it wasn’t quite as pretty to start.  The chairs were upholstered in yellow cracking vinyl that had been gloriously patched with grey duct tape.  Obviously we’d want to reupholster them, so on one of their visits up, my mom and I made it our mission.

The hardest part was probably taking the old vinyl off.  The second hardest part was deciding what color the new vinyl should be.  We went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, and I chose a safe color.  (I’m glad I played it safe, and you’ll see why, later.)  I do kind of wonder if I shouldn’t have selected a heavier weight vinyl.  My two year old has already done some damage to the new upholstery, but if Stitch wasn’t living with us, it would probably wear just fine.

We bought 5 yards which turned out to be WAY more than we needed.  If I do this again, I definitely won’t go with more than one yard per chair.  Maybe even less.


Here’s a (glamourous) shot of the underside.  My nephew gave me some of this wonderful chrome polish, which really made the set shine, but, as you can see, I didn’t worry about hitting the underside too hard.  I’ll probably go over it again later.

Everything is stapled, even the piping.  We started with a special cord from the fabric store that was made for upholstery piping, but it was kind of pricey, and I ran out after the first two chairs.  I went to Dollar Tree and bought a thin plastic rope for the rest of the project.  You seriously cannot tell the difference between the two.  I’m not sure I would recommend it for your couch cushions or something like that, but for this?  Perfect!

Also, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of my hair dryer to this project!  The heat is how we were able to staple the vinyl to the chairs with minimal puckering or folding.  DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS KIND OF PROJECT WITHOUT A HAIRDRYER SET TO HOT!


If there’s one part I’m not totally satisfied with, it’s the back.  You can see, I had a few unexpected lumps and bumps along the way with this, and I didn’t expect those decorative tacks to be so tricky to hammer in.  (There’s got to be a trick to those tacks!)  I realize now why the original upholstery had that back piece of vinyl wrapped around a perfectly shaped piece of cardboard.

Also, we had to be incredibly aware of where holes were drilled, so we’d actually be able to reassemble the chairs once they had been recovered!  I promise you, that sounds way simpler than it actually was.


All, in all, not too shabby, and the set has a perfect footprint in our eat-in kitchen!  Next up?  Cabinets!  But don’t expect to see those for another couple weeks! 😉



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