How to Reupholster an Antique Chair

Bring new life to an antique chair by reupholstering it with a patterned fabric for a beautifully restored vintage furniture piece.

By Jamie Lundstrom
September 2018

reupholstered antique chair
Cover courtesy Page Street Publishing

In French Vintage Decor: Easy and Elegant DIY Projects for Any Home, Jamie Lundstrom makes giving your makes bringing the rustic and elegant look of French décor to your home effortless. Add French vintage style to your home with 70 easy projects that span every season and category, from sewing to painting and upholstery. The following excerpt is from Chapter 4, "Fanciful French Furniture."

The Putty-Colored Chair had needlepoint upholstery that I wanted to update. Gorgeous French toile fabric was the perfect choice. Because the chair was painted in a simple, muted color, it was fun to pick out something patterned. There is nothing more French than toile fabric.

reupholstered antique chair


  • Antique chair
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • 1 meter or yard of fabric
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun
  • 3/8-inch staples
  • Flat jute ribbon
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks


  1. Begin by removing the old fabric and staples from the chair with needle-nose pliers and a flat head screwdriver. Lay out the fabric over the chair and cut it larger than you need for the base. I decided not to add new foam or batting so it kept its aged look.
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  3. Next, put one staple in the middle of one side, pulling taut but not too tight and repeating the same steps on the opposite side. Repeat the same process for the other two sides. Continue to staple one side then the opposite side until all the sides are complete except for the corners.
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  5. Staple the front corners by pulling the middle piece in first then stapling, then pulling one side over and stapling, then the other side over and stapling.
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  7. For around the back and legs, cut some excess fabric off and make little slit cuts with your scissors so the fabric can easily spread around the back. Don't cut too much off as you will need excess for the sides. Once you have about 1 to 1-1/2 inches of fabric near the back, try to fold it under and pull the sides to see if it will lay flat. If not, you might need to cut a little more off or a few more slits. Keep folding and checking if it will lay flat and also checking to see if you still have enough to cover the sides until you have the perfect combination of the fabric laying flat and enough to cover the chair.
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  9. Fold and tuck the excess fabric underneath and staple all along the edges. If you cut off a bit too much fabric, you will be going over the seams with jute ribbon so it will hide slight imperfections.
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  11. Once all the fabric is flat and stapled down, cut off the excess hanging close to the staple.
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  13. Measure and cut pieces of jute ribbon for around the chair to cover the staples.
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  15. Spread hot glue in sections on the ribbon and press the ribbon onto the chair. Because the front corners dipped so low, I ended up hot gluing 2 pieces of jute ribbon over the legs for extra width.
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Reprinted with permission from French Vintage Decor by Jamie Lundstrom, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018. Photo credit: Jamie Lundstrom.

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