How To Reupholster A Seat Pad

updated Feb 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Whether you want to change up the overall look of a chair or recover worn or outdated fabric, understanding how to execute minor upholstery techniques can save you big money.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

What You Need


  • Fabric
  • Upholstery batting


  • Staple gun
  • Pliers or Tack lifter


  1. Remove the seat pad from the chair (save all hardware in a bag so you can reuse it later!) and begin to strip away the old fabric. If the upholstery batting is in good shape, you might want to leave it on. If there are any stains, tears, or funky smells, definitely remove it!
  2. Lay the fabric over the seat pad to be sure it is large enough. I used a vintage tea towel and wanted to be sure there would be at least a 2″ overhang around the parameter of my seat. If you decide to use foam on your seat, add the width of the foam plus an additional 2″.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
  1. With your fabric face down, roll out the fiber fill and place the seat pad on top.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
  1. Trim the excess fabric and fiber fill, leaving a 2″-3″ boarder around the parameter of the seat pad.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
  1. Begin to staple the fabric and fiber fill to the underside of the seat pad by placing two anchor staples, one directly across from the other.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
  1. Place two more anchor staples, one on each open end. Be sure to pull the fabric taut, but not too tight so that any print on the fabric would look skewed or out of shape.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
  1. Continue stapling the fabric to the underside of the pad, filling in gaps by placing the staples directly across from one another as you did in the first two steps. Try not to leave more than a half inch gap between staples and remember to slightly pull the fabric as you staple so that you have a taut top.
  2. Trim off any excess fabric and batting that might get in the way when it’s time to reattach the pad to the seat. Attach the pad using the hardware you originally removed.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)


  • Depending on the style of chair you are working on, you might find foam. When measuring your fabric, be sure to compensate for the height of the foam and add an additional 2″ for the overlap.
  • Pliers are handy when you are working with staples. If one of your staples doesn’t go in all the way be sure to remove it and start fresh -you want a really clean finish! If you see more upholstery work in your future you might want to invest in a tack lifter, it will make your life so much easier -especially if you finish your project and decide you want to use a different fabric!
  • Most all staple guns will work great for this project, just be sure your staples aren’t larger than the width of your seat pad.
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

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