How to Reupholster a Barrel Chair

Have you ever seen a piece of furniture that looked rundown and thought to yourself, I could really make this look amazing? Well, you’re in luck! Reupholstering is not as difficult as it sounds and can be relatively simple with the right tools. With a little patience and imagination, you can transform an old barrel chair into something stunningly beautiful.

How to Reupholster a Barrel Chair

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll show you all the steps on how to reupholster a barrel chair successfully and give your home interior the wow factor!

Can You Reupholster a Barrel Chair?

Yes! Reupholstering a barrel chair is a simple yet rewarding project. Not only does it give you the opportunity to customize your furniture, but it also breathes new life into any room. However, before you begin, make sure that you have all of the necessary materials and tools ready – this will ensure an easier and smoother upholstery process and a better end result.

To begin, start by removing the existing fabric from the barrel chair. You will need to use scissors or an exacto knife to cut through any staples that may be holding it in place. Once all of the old fabric is removed, you can start preparing the base for reupholstering.

This will involve cleaning and sanding the wood to create a smooth surface for the new fabric to adhere to. Once the base is prepared, you can begin reupholstering your barrel chair. Start by attaching the new fabric with staples – make sure that you pull it tightly as you go around the chair so that there are no wrinkles or sags.

You can also use a staple gun for this step, as it will give a more professional finish. Once the fabric is secure, you may need to add padding or foam to make your chair comfortable – this will depend on what type of chair you are reupholstering and whether or not it had any cushioning, to begin with.

Finally, once the cushioning is in place, you can finish off your barrel chair reupholstering project by adding decorative tacks or trim to the edges of the fabric. This will give it a more polished and finished look, as well as help hold the fabric in place. That’s all there is to it – your new barrel chair should be ready for use in no time!

Remove the Fabric From Barrel Chair

10 Methods How to Reupholster a Barrel Chair

1. Remove the Old Fabric

The first step in reupholstering a barrel chair is to remove the old fabric. Use a screwdriver to remove the staples that are holding the fabric in place. Be careful not to damage the wood of the chair as you remove the staples. Once all the staples are removed, take off the fabric and discard it.

If the old batting or stuffing is in good condition, you can reuse it for the new seat. If not, you will need to purchase new batting or stuffing.

2. Cut the New Fabric

Once the old fabric has been removed, cut the new fabric to size. Make sure to allow for enough fabric to wrap around the sides and back of the chair. Use a sharp pair of fabric scissors to cut the fabric and use a seam ripper to detach any seams that need to be removed.

If the chair has a skirt, cut it out and reattach it to the new fabric. If the chair does not have a skirt, use the old fabric as a template to cut out the new one.

3. Attach the New Fabric

Attach the new fabric to the chair using staples or upholstery tacks. Start by stapling or tacking the fabric to the bottom of the chair, then work your way up around the sides and back. Be sure to pull the fabric tight as you go and smooth out any wrinkles. Trim off any excess fabric with a pair of scissors.

Although it may be tempting to use a staple gun, it can be difficult to control and could damage the chair. Instead, opt for upholstery tacks, as they are easier to manipulate and will give you a much cleaner finished look.

4. Add Foam Padding

If desired, add foam padding to the seat of the chair for extra comfort. Cut a piece of foam to size and attach it to the seat with spray adhesive or upholstery tacks. Cover the foam with a layer of batting for a softer feel. Secure the batting to the chair frame with staples or upholstery tacks.

Though adding foam padding is optional, it can make your chair even more comfortable for long-term use.

Cut the New Fabric to Size

5. Attach Buttons or Tufting

For a more finished look, you can attach buttons or tufting to the seat of the chair. Buttons can be sewn onto the fabric or attached with upholstery tacks, while tufting can be done with either method. If you are using tacks, be sure to hammer the heads in properly so that they don’t snag on the fabric.

Tufting adds a luxurious feel to any chair and is one way to give it an extra special touch. Once you’ve finished your tufting or buttons, your barrel chair will be ready to use. Enjoy your handiwork!

6. Add Trim

If desired, add trim around the edges of the seat for a decorative touch. Upholstery cord or bias tape make good choices for trim. Attach the trim with upholstery tacks or hot glue. Place the trim in small sections at a time, stapling or pinning it into place before moving on to the next. Make sure each piece of trim is securely fastened before moving on.

It’s a good idea to use fabric glue or upholstery tacks along the edges of the trim for added stability. Once all of the trim has been applied, use scissors to trim away any excess fabric or thread.

7. Reattach Arms and Legs

If applicable, reattach any removable arms or legs that were removed during disassembly. Screw or bolt them back into place using screws or bolts that are appropriate for your type of chair. Make sure not to overtighten the screws or bolts, as this may damage the wood.

Use a level to check that they are even, and then secure them with a dab of glue for extra stability. If you are unsure of the best way to reattach arms or legs, consult with a professional.

Add Foam Padding to the Chair Seat

8. Finish Up

Once all of your desired details have been added, finish up by trimming any excess fabric from around the edges of the chair and reattaching any remaining hardware, such as caster wheels. If you plan to use the chair, a spray of fabric protectant can help keep it looking nice for longer.

Finally, admire your handiwork and take pride in the fact that you breathed new life into an old chair! Reupholstering a barrel chair is a great way to add your own unique style and flair to any room, and you can be sure that your new chair will be the conversation piece of the space. Enjoy your own one-of-a-kind chair!

9. Check for Loose Staples or Tacks

Check the chair over for any loose staples or tacks, and remove them as needed. Be sure to wear gloves while doing this, as the sharp edges of staples and tacks can be dangerous. Next, you need to remove the old fabric and foam from the chair. Begin by taking off any decorative trims or borders that cover the edges of the upholstery.

Use pliers or a flathead screwdriver to remove the staples or tacks that are holding the fabric in place. You may need to use a hammer or mallet to loosen the more stubborn staples and tacks. Once you have removed all the fasteners, carefully peel back the fabric and foam from the chair.

Pull them away from the frame gently to avoid damaging or to tear any of the material. Once you have removed the old fabric and foam, you’ll be ready to begin reupholstering your chair.

10. Enjoy Your New Chair!

Your barrel chair is now ready for use. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and admire your handiwork! Try to keep an eye on the materials you used to reupholster the chair and have a plan in place should they begin to deteriorate. With the proper care and maintenance, your chair should last for years to come. Happy reupholstering!

Finish Up by Trimming Any Excess Fabric

Congratulations on successfully reupholstering your barrel chair! With a few simple steps, you’ve created a beautiful piece of furniture that will last for many years to come. Now it’s time to sit back and relax in the comfort of your completed project. Enjoy!


Now that you know how to reupholster a barrel chair, you can give new life to any old piece of furniture. With a little time and effort, you can transform an outdated chair into a stylish statement piece.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fabrics and patterns – the possibilities are endless! So what are you waiting for? Get started today and enjoy your new, one-of-a-kind chair for years to come.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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