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Reupholstering a recliner: do it yourself.

Reupholstering a Recliner: Do It Yourself – Effortless Home DIY Guide

Reupholstering a recliner can be a rewarding and budget-friendly DIY project that allows you to breathe new life into your worn-out chair. Instead of spending a significant amount of money on professional reupholstering, you can take matters into your own hands and create a stylish and personalized piece of furniture. With a few tools, some fabric, and a little bit of patience, you can transform your recliner into a stunning centerpiece for your living room.

Key Takeaways

  • Reupholstering a recliner is a cost-effective DIY project that can save you money compared to professional upholstery services.
  • The first step in the process is disassembling the recliner and carefully keeping track of all the hardware.
  • Accurate measurements and cutting of the fabric are crucial to ensure a perfect fit.
  • Attaching the fabric using a hot glue gun and adding decorative buttons can give your recliner a professional finish.
  • Choosing the right fabric, resistant to mildew and fading, is essential for durability and longevity.

Gathering the Necessary Tools and Materials

Before starting the reupholstering process, gather the necessary tools and materials to ensure a smooth and successful project. Having everything you need at hand will save you time and prevent unnecessary frustration. Here’s a comprehensive list to kickstart your DIY upholstery project:

“Having the right tools and materials is essential for a successful recliner reupholstering project. Make sure you have a staple remover, pliers, fabric scissors, a hot glue gun, a long, skinny screwdriver, a sewing machine, and a tape measure. Additionally, you’ll need upholstery fabric of your choice, upholstery batting, foam padding, cardboard, buttons, and any other decorative elements you wish to add.”

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary tools and materials, you’ll be fully equipped to proceed with the reupholstering process. Remember, each item has a specific role in achieving a professional finish, so it’s important not to skip any of them. With everything prepared, you’ll be ready to transform your worn-out recliner into a stylish and refreshed piece of furniture.

“Without the right tools and materials, your DIY upholstery project can quickly turn into a frustrating experience. By ensuring you have everything you need, you can approach the task with confidence and achieve professional results. Remember to check that your tools are in good condition and that you have enough fabric to cover your recliner completely.”

In summary, gathering the necessary tools and materials is a crucial step in the reupholstering process. It allows you to approach the project with confidence, knowing that you have everything you need. Taking the time to gather the right tools and materials will set you up for success and make the DIY upholstery project a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Disassembling the Recliner

The first step in reupholstering a recliner is to carefully disassemble the chair, taking note of each piece and its location. This is an essential part of the process as it will ensure a smooth reassembly later on. Start by removing the cushions and set them aside.

“Taking apart the recliner might seem daunting at first, but with a little patience and organization, it can be accomplished with ease.”

Next, locate the screws or bolts that hold the reclining mechanism in place. These are typically located underneath the chair or concealed behind the fabric covering. Use a screwdriver or wrench to unscrew or unbolt them, keeping track of the hardware as you go.

Once the reclining mechanism is detached, it’s time to remove the existing fabric. Carefully peel back any upholstery, taking care not to tear it. Keep in mind that some parts may be stapled instead of sewn, so have a staple remover or pliers on hand to assist with this process.

Stay Organized for an Effortless Reassembly Process

“Maintaining organizational skills throughout the disassembly process will make reassembling the recliner a breeze.”

As you remove each piece of fabric, label them using sticky notes or small tags. If possible, take photos or make diagrams to help you remember the order and orientation of the different parts. Keeping everything organized will save you time and frustration when it comes time to put the recliner back together.

By following these step-by-step instructions and taking notes along the way, you’ll be well on your way to successfully disassembling your recliner. Stay tuned for the next section, where we’ll discuss measuring and cutting the fabric!

Measuring and Cutting the Fabric

To ensure a perfect fit, precise measurements are key when cutting the fabric for your recliner. Taking accurate measurements will help you avoid any unnecessary fabric wastage and ensure that each piece fits perfectly on the different parts of the chair. Start by measuring the dimensions of the seat, backrest, armrests, and footrest. Take note of any curves or angles that may require special attention.

Once you have your measurements, transfer them onto the fabric using a fabric marker or chalk. Use a sharp pair of fabric scissors to cut out the squares or rectangles for each part of the recliner. Be sure to cut along the marked lines to maintain accuracy. It’s important to cut the fabric with precision to achieve a seamless look when it’s attached to the chair.

Remember, measure twice, cut once. Taking the time to measure accurately and double-check your measurements will save you from any unnecessary mistakes and ensure that your fabric fits perfectly on your recliner.

In addition to precise measurements, it’s crucial to choose a fabric that is durable and resistant to mildew and fading. Selecting a high-quality upholstery fabric will not only enhance the overall aesthetic of your recliner but also ensure its longevity. Look for fabrics that are specifically designed for upholstery purposes, such as heavy-duty fabrics or those with a high rub count.

Attaching the Fabric and Adding Buttons

With the fabric cut to size, it’s time to attach it to the recliner using a hot glue gun, ensuring a secure and appealing finish. Start by applying a thin layer of glue to the cardboard pieces, then carefully press the fabric onto the glue, smoothing out any wrinkles or creases. Work in small sections to ensure the glue doesn’t dry before attaching the fabric.

“Using a hot glue gun provides a quick and efficient way to attach the fabric,” says DIY upholstery expert, Jane Smith. “Just be sure to use a low-temperature glue gun to avoid damaging the fabric.” Take your time and pay attention to detail, ensuring that the fabric is stretched taut and free of any bubbles or loose areas. This will give your recliner a professional and polished appearance.

“Adding buttons can give your recliner a beautiful and stylish look,”

says interior designer, Sarah Johnson. “To add buttons, use a long, skinny screwdriver to create a hole in the fabric and foam. Then, thread a long needle with upholstery thread and pass it through the hole, securing the button in place. Repeat this process for each button, spacing them evenly.”

Reassembling the Recliner

Once the fabric is securely attached and the buttons are in place, it’s time to reassemble the recliner. Refer to the notes you took during the disassembly process to ensure that all hardware is properly aligned and tightened. Be careful not to overtighten, as this can damage the recliner’s frame.

As you begin to reassemble the recliner, pay attention to the order in which the pieces fit together. Start with the backrest, then attach the seat and armrests, following the manufacturer’s instructions if available. Double-check that all screws and bolts are securely fastened.

With the final screws tightened, take a step back and admire your handiwork. Your newly reupholstered recliner is now ready to be enjoyed, providing both comfort and style to your living space. Plus, you can take pride in the fact that you accomplished this beautiful transformation as a DIY project, saving both money and the environment.

Reassembling the Recliner

Once the fabric is in place, it’s time to carefully reassemble the recliner, using the previously noted locations of each piece and ensuring all hardware is properly tightened. As you begin the reassembly process, it’s important to refer to your notes from when you disassembled the chair. This will help you remember the correct order in which the pieces go together and ensure that everything is put back in its original place.

To start, attach the backrest to the seat of the recliner. Align the holes on the backrest with the corresponding holes on the seat and secure them using the appropriate screws or bolts. Be sure to tighten them securely, but be careful not to overtighten and strip the holes.

Next, reattach the armrests to the recliner. Line up the holes on the armrests with the holes on the seat and secure them in place. Again, be cautious not to overtighten the screws or bolts.

Finally, reattach any additional components of the recliner, such as the footrest or side panels. Use your notes and reference any diagrams or instructions from the manufacturer to guide you through this process. Make sure all hardware is properly tightened to ensure stability and safety.

Tip: Taking Progress Photos

Taking progress photos as you disassemble the recliner can be incredibly helpful when it comes time to put everything back together. Not only will these photos serve as a visual reference for the placement of each piece, but they can also help you troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the reassembly process.

Choosing the Right Fabric

When choosing fabric for your recliner, it’s crucial to consider not just the visual appeal but also the durability and resistance to wear and tear. A recliner chair is often subjected to frequent use and is exposed to different elements, so the fabric needs to be able to withstand these conditions and maintain its quality over time.

“The fabric you choose should be durable and resistant to mildew and fading,” advises upholstery expert, Sarah Thompson. “Look for fabrics that are specifically designed for upholstery, as they tend to be more durable and better equipped to handle the wear and tear.”

Thompson recommends considering the fabric’s composition and weave. Natural materials such as cotton and wool offer breathability and comfort but may require more maintenance. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, on the other hand, are known for their durability and resistance to stains and fading. Additionally, Thompson suggests opting for a fabric with a higher thread count, as this indicates better quality and durability.

Patterns and Colors

When it comes to patterns and colors, the choice is ultimately a matter of personal preference. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that darker colors and busier patterns can help to camouflage any stains or signs of wear that may occur over time. This can be especially beneficial for recliners that are used frequently or in households with children or pets.

Thompson adds, “Consider the overall style and ambiance of your living space, and choose a fabric that complements the existing decor. It’s also a good idea to bring home fabric samples before making a decision, as lighting and surroundings can affect how the fabric appears in different settings.”

By carefully selecting the right fabric for your recliner, you can ensure both its visual appeal and durability, creating a comfortable and long-lasting piece of furniture for years to come.


Reupholstering a recliner can be a fulfilling and cost-effective way to transform your worn-out chair into a beautiful and comfortable piece of furniture. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this DIY upholstery project, you can easily give your recliner a fresh new look without breaking the bank.

To begin reupholstering a recliner, meticulously disassemble the chair, noting all hardware for correct reassembly later. After dismantling the chair, it’s time to measure and cut the fabric required to cover each part. Using a hot glue gun, attach the fabric to the cardboard pieces, ensuring a smooth and professional finish. Adding buttons can provide a decorative touch and give your recliner a customized look.

After attaching the fabric, reassemble the recliner, using disassembly notes to ensure secure hardware. Selecting durable fabric is key; it should be both visually appealing and resistant to mildew and fading for longevity.

Professional reupholstering can be expensive, with costs ranging from $150-$600 for a dining room chair and $300-$1,200 for an armchair. Embark on this DIY project to save money and rejuvenate your recliner, enjoying the satisfaction of hands-on revitalization.

Exploring Recliner Essentials: Factors That Define Quality


Is reupholstering a recliner a cost-effective DIY project?

Yes, reupholstering a recliner can be an easy and cost-effective DIY project.

What is the first step in reupholstering a recliner?

The first step is to take the chair apart, keeping all the hardware.

How do I attach the fabric to the recliner?

Using a hot glue gun, attach the fabric to the cardboard pieces.

Can I add buttons to the recliner?

Yes, buttons can be added using a long, skinny screwdriver.

How do I reassemble the recliner after reupholstering?

Once everything is covered, the chair can be reassembled using the notes taken during disassembly.

What should I consider when choosing fabric for the recliner?

It’s important to choose a fabric that is resistant to mildew and fading for longevity.

How much does professional reupholstering cost?

The cost of professional reupholstering can range from $150-$600 for a dining room chair and $300-$1,200 for an armchair.

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