How to Reupholster a Sofa Chair?

  • By YL CHEN
  • Published on January 06, 2023

    Folding Sofa Chair

    If you want your living room to look polished and new, one of the ways in which you can achieve this is to reupholster a sofa chair. This simple process can breathe new life into an otherwise tired piece of furniture and make it a fresh focal point for your space. However, you should not be intimidated. There are dozens of online tutorials that will show you exactly how to do it - from disassembling the old cushion to replacing buttons on the back. Read on for tips on how to successfully reupholster a sofa chair.


    • Choose the Right Fabric
    • Remove the Old Cushions
    • Replace Back Straps
    • Replace Buttons With New Buttons
    • Replace Cushion Foam
    • Apply Some Finishing Touches
    • FAQs
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    Choose the Right Fabric

    When you are looking to reupholster a single sofa chair, choose the right fabric. First, think about your colour palette. Most upholsterers can match fabric for you, but if you want something truly custom you will need to buy it yourself. Once you have settled on a colour, think about your style. Do you want an elegant floral print for your living room or would it look better with some stripes? Take all these choices into account before choosing the perfect fabric. Once you have decided on a fabric, take into consideration the frame of the chair as well. Most upholsterers will let you know ahead of time whether or not the fabric will fit with ease, but if it has been a while since your old chair was reupholstered this is something to keep in mind.

    Remove the Old Cushions

    Before you get started, find a place to store your old sofa cushions. Most companies will hold onto them for safekeeping while they are in the process of being reupholstered, so check and see if your upholsterer can provide you with safe storage. Once you have gotten rid of the old cushions, take off whatever buttons or zippers were on the bottom of them (you can keep these if they are still intact and reuse them later).

    As for the old cushion, if it has a zipper on the bottom, you can completely remove both it and its frame from the bedroom sofa chair. If this is not possible, you can still remove the back straps but keep in mind that the front straps are what hold your cushions in place, so you will want to cut them off (but do not throw them away). For all upholstery jobs, you will need some scissors, a ruler and something to measure measurements with (a tape measure is ideal).

    Replace Back Straps

    The easiest way to remove these straps is to simply cut them right off. If you cannot do that, you will need to take your cushion and the old strap out of the cushion frame. Sometimes it will slide right off, but in other cases, a screw or hinge might be holding it in place - so check underneath your office sofa chair and remove any screws or hinged pieces before you continue.

    Once the back straps are removed they will be easy to replace. slip them through each loop on the cushion frame and then pull them tight (be sure to double-check where they go as well - sometimes these aspects do not last for an extended period). Once they are all in place, you can start securing them with more fabric tape (covering up all the holes made by the screws or hinges). You will want to do this in a rectangular or square pattern, depending on where your straps are actually placed. If you are doing a cushion with a zipper instead of straps, you can skip the back strap piece altogether.

    Replace Buttons With New Buttons

    Most folding sofa chairs will have buttons down by the bottom, but if yours is different you will need to check and see if there are any additional buttons hidden under the cushion. Once you have found them, remove them one by one with your fingers (or gently pull them away from their original location). If you need to make sure that the buttons are in position before you sew them down, put a small dot of glue on the back. Once you have removed the old inner cushion, remove any zippers or buttons from their original location before replacing them with new ones.

    Replacement cushions usually come with buttons, but if yours does not make sure to find replacements that match your chair's colour and design. Attach them one by one in a simple row (be sure they are located exactly where they are supposed to be). Once they are all in place, sew them down with a regular sewing machine or by hand. Replace zippers with new zippers that match the colour of your fabric. Simply sew them in place, right next to the old one.

    Related Reading: Can you Have Different Colored Sofa and Chair?

    Replace Cushion Foam

    This is an optional step, but if you want to ensure that your new cushion fits as well as any old one then you will definitely want to replace its foam. If you are lucky this might already be done by the manufacturer, but some older cushions - especially those made of a coarser material - needed new foam before they could be properly used again. You will need a sharp knife, some craft scissors and a grade-A foam piece (you can get it at any craft store).
    Sofa Chair Without Arms

    Apply Some Finishing Touches

    When you are happy with the results, apply a few coats of sealant to protect the new fabric from moisture. Special spray paint is best for this purpose - buy an extra can if you want to experiment with colours too. If you want to put your furniture back into place straight away, rope off the area for a few days so that the pieces do not get messed up. It is also best to have friends help you move them - you will save both time and money if they help out at this stage in the process.

    If the design on the fabric is too intricate or does not fit in with the theme of your home, try replacing those buttons or straps with something that looks more similar to what you have now. If your old cushions are still in good condition and you want to use them for something else, donate them instead. There are several great donation programs around if you need some help finding a place that can take them from you. You can also reuse foam cushion pieces and replace this step entirely. However, if your cushions are beyond repair or you want to try something new, then you will have no problem getting creative with your furniture. You can add some pops of colour or texture in any way that catches your eye. Replacing the fabric on your sofa chair will go a long way toward giving it a brand new look, but do not stop there.


    Q1: How do I replace back straps on a sofa chair during reupholstering?
    Cut off the old straps or remove them from the cushion frame. Slide the new straps through each loop on the cushion frame and tighten them. Secure them with fabric tape and cover any holes made by screws or hinges.
    Q2: How do I replace buttons on a sofa chair during reupholstering?
    Remove old buttons and replace them with new ones that match the chair's color and design. Attach them in a row and sew them down with a sewing machine or by hand. Replace zippers with new ones that match the fabric.
    Q3: Should I replace the cushion foam when reupholstering a sofa chair?
    It is optional, but if you want the new cushion to fit well, consider replacing the foam. Use a sharp knife and craft scissors to remove the old foam and replace it with a new foam piece.

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