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How To: Reupholster a Louis-style Chair

August 21, 2010

I found this Louis-style chair at The Rink and I just had to get it. I knew it could be amazing after a little bit of work.

The actual work was pretty uncomplicated, but since I had never worked with a chair like this, I psyched myself out every time I looked at it!

Removing the old fabric wasn’t difficult, but there were so many staples in it, my hand started cramping from gripping the pliers! When I was removing the old fabric, I was careful to keep all the pieces in tact and remembered how it was attached in the first place. This is probably the most important step in reupholstering furniture. The old fabric serves as a template for the new fabric.

I was super lucky that the batting was in great shape and that I didn’t have to replace it. The only tutorial I could find online that showed how to reupholster a similar chair was at PoeticHome and just looking at the photos for replacing the stuffing made me want to vomit!

I had considered painting the wood a bright fun color like Jenny did over at Little Green Notebook, but I decided to go with my gut and stain it instead.

Stripping the old paint took a few days… those little grooves are no fun to get paint out of! I stained the wood and finished with a coat of polyurethane.

I cut pieces of the new fabric using the old fabric as templates, adding a couple of inches around the edges just to be safe. Stapling the new fabric on was one of the easiest steps of the entire project. There was a little edge of wood where the wood trim met the batting – this is where the staples went. I put solid colored fabric on the front and a coordinating print on the back.The staples were then hidden by hot gluing the piping around the edge.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jamie F permalink
    February 8, 2011 2:48 PM

    WOW amazing job! I want to do this with two louis chairs i found. How did u make the piping and how has the hot glue held up?

  2. Rachel permalink
    November 20, 2011 5:51 PM

    I’ve just purchased four of these chairs and hadn’t a clue what or how to get the material off, you have just simplified it ten x’s for me!! Thankyou :)

  3. Tracy permalink
    February 25, 2012 5:52 AM

    Great job! I’ve found a similar chair second hand and would love to have a go at it but having not done it before, am a little hesitant. It also has nailhead trim on it which scares me a bit more. What do you think? Would that make things much more difficult?
    Would love some advice

    • July 10, 2012 7:42 PM

      Thanks for the comment, Tracy! Sorry it’s taken so long to reply. I don’t know if you have already redone your chair or not, but if so I hope it turned out great!

      I reupholstered a vintage loveseat and added nailhead trim to that. I would suggest using a rubber mallet so the nailheads don’t get dented as easily. Also, buy extra! I broke a handful because I wasn’t nailing them in straight or they weren’t spaced out correctly and I had to pull them out. I have never been to an upholstery class, I just learned (and am still learning) by trial and error and reading a lot of tutorials online! You might want to practice nailing some trim into a scrap piece of wood to get the hang of it.

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