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4 Simple Step-by-Step Upholstery Tips

Upholstery Basics

Once you've selected your fabric and a furniture piece with a removable seat, you're ready to begin upholstering.


  1. Flip your furniture piece over and identify the clasps or screws that fasten the seat onto the piece (these are often Phillips' head screws). Simply use a screwdriver to unscrew the cushion from the piece.
  2. Tear the existing fabric off of the foam cushioning, then check if the foam needs to be replaced before reupholstering the cushion. Check for yellowing color, dirt, large tears and holes. If the foam seems old and in need of replacement, measure the foam piece or take it with you to the craft store and purchase a new piece in the same size. You can buy a larger piece and simply use the old one as a template to cut out with a utility knife.
  3. Cut your fabric to the appropriate size, then lay it (right side out) over the foam and wood base. Adjust the fabric to your liking, then begin to pull it from diagonal sides around the sides of the wood base.
  4. Pull and fold the first corner as it slightly gathers and secure it on the bottom side with your hands.
  5. Flip the seat over and secure with either a commercial flat stapler or hot glue. Stapling the fabric is recommended to ensure longevity, but glue can be used as a flexible way to ensure that the placement is perfect before stapling.
  6. Fold down the remaining corners, fastening them to the underside of the seat as you go.
  7. Once the fabric is secure all of the way around, flip your seat over and place back on the piece. Firmly pressing the cushion against the wood frame, use your screwdriver to reinsert the seat screws.
  8. Sit your piece upright, stand back and admire your beautiful new piece.