A lot of people consider their recliners their favorite piece of furniture, and they use them all the time. If you happen to fall into that category, you know that after some time, the recliner will start to look a bit worn out. That is when you have to learn how to reupholster a recliner and apply the skills to fit your favorite chair!
This guide is dedicated to the reupholstering of recliners and making them look brand new. You can apply the same steps if you have a recliner couch or a recliner sofa that you want to reupholster. Also, you will be given a list of tools that you can use for any one of these pieces of furniture.
Read the instructions carefully and you will have no problem doing the entire process at home by yourself. Let’s get right into the basics of reupholstering. I am ready when you are!
Tool List For Recliner Reupholstering
You cannot start the re-upholstering process without a few key tools. The process of upholstering requires a lot of cutting, stapling, gluing, measuring, screwing, and sewing in certain cases.
Depending on how you are planning on attaching the new fabric, you can use a sewing machine or just rely on a stapler to attach the fabric to the chair. The sewing machine can be really helpful, but if you do not have one or you do not know how to use it, you can stick to the stapler.
Aside from the stapler or staple gun, you will need some heavy-duty scissors, a hot glue hug, some glue sticks, a screwdriver, a wrench, measuring tape, regular thread and wax-coated thread, a kit with covered buttons, some upholstery needles, tack remover, and seam ripper.
In case you do not have the majority of these tools at home, I would suggest that you get an upholstery tool kit. They usually come at great prices and are worth it, considering that one kit includes all the tools that you need. If you are planning on doing upholstery regularly, you must get one of the professional kits!
Finally, you need some foam and the material that you will be using on your chair. You can go with leather material if you are looking for something durable, or choose from one of the high-performance fabrics that can come in various colors and different patterns. You have total freedom to choose the fabric you like best!
Try to measure the chair and guess approximately how much fabric was used to make it. Then, go out and buy more of the new fabric just in case. You do not want to start your project and run out of fabric in the middle of it!
How To Reupholster A Recliner
Before you start reading the step-by-step guide, let me tell you that reupholstering can be quite a challenge. If you have never done it before, you might not be aware of how much work it is.
When you want to start reupholstering your recliner, make sure that you have enough time to go through the entire process and that you are mentally prepared for all that work. The process requires a lot of thought, precision, and careful work so that everything falls into place and looks well-done.
If you are not up for the challenge, that is understandable, and you can find someone experienced to do the reupholstering for you. However, if you want to try to reupholster the recliner by yourself, all you need to do is follow my easy guide. Here are the steps you should follow!
Step 1. Disassemble The Chair
You cannot reupholster the chair when it is assembled – you need to take it apart and then go from there. You can remove the footrest, armrests from both sides, the seat cushion, and the back cushion if there is a removable one.
After disassembling, you should be left with nothing but a simple frame, some springs, and cables. At this point, it might be a good idea to check the frame and see if there is anything that needs tightening.
Step 2. Check The Mechanism
Another thing I want to mention before getting started with the actual reupholstering is that you should check the mechanism and see if it is working properly. If there is any part that is causing a problem, you should fix it or replace it before reupholstering the parts and putting them back together.
Step 3. Remove The Old Fabric
Using scissors or another sharp tool, you can start removing the old fabric from all the parts of the recliner. Do not completely tear it apart because you can use it as an example for the patterns you need to make with your new fabric.
Step 4. Check The Foam Padding
Under the fabric, you will find foam padding. Check to see if that padding is good and reusable. If it is not, you should get some new foam as a replacement because you want the chair to look like new once you apply the new fabric – and that means no holes or dents!
Step 5. Reupholster The Armrests
Depending on the type of chair you have, the armrests might be slightly rounded or they might be sharp. You should adjust the fabric to fit the end of the armrest and the old fabric can serve as the perfect example. It will show you exactly how you need to cut the fabric.
At this point, you can decide if you are going to use a sewing machine or not. It might be a good idea to use one because it will make the chair look more professionally done, especially if the armrests are sharp.
However, you can opt not to use the sewing machine. In that case, you should measure the old fabric, cut a slightly wider and longer piece of the new fabric, and lay it on top of the armrest.
You can go in with the staple gun at the bottom of the armrest and secure the fabric, but make sure that it is tightly wrapped around the armrest and the foam. If the fabric seems uneven, you can try ironing it and then putting it on the armrest.
If you want to, you can place a bit of fabric around a thread, sew it nicely, and then decorate the edges of the armrests. You can completely skip this part if your armrests have a shape that does not have edges.
Step 6. Reupholster All The Cushions
Depending on your specific recliner, you may have anywhere from two to three or more cushions. One is the footrest, then you have the seat cushion, and some recliners usually come with a back cushion as well. The next step, which is fairly easy compared to the others, is to add the new fabrics to these cushions.
The reason why I say that this step is easy is that the cushions usually have a simpler shape that can easily be reupholstered. As said before, you remove the old fabric and use it as an example for the shape you need to cut and the amount of fabric you need to cut.
Cutting a larger piece is a good idea because it will give you more space to pull. Make the new fabric slightly wider and longer than the old one.
If you have a patterned material, also make sure that the cushions have patterns in the same directions. This will help the recliner have a more unified look!
You can sew the fabric from three sides and staple it at the bottom so that the staples do not show easily. If there are certain places where you cannot use a stapler, you can also go in with a hot glue gun.
Once you finish with the fabric, you can add buttons or wax-coated thread on the edges of the cushions, but that is not necessary. It depends on the type of chair you have and the look you are going for.
Step 7. Reupholster The Frame
Of course, you should not think about wrapping everything up without putting some new fabric on the frame. As with the steps above, use the old fabric to cut the new, then place it around the frame and staple it together. You can use a hot glue gun or even an upholstery needle and thread to secure the material tightly.
Step 8. Assemble Your Chair
If you have gone over all the previous steps, well done! You are very near the end of the process!
Let’s just summarize – you removed the old fabric, put the foam back in or replaced it with new foam if necessary, then put the new fabric over the foam, and sewed, glued, or stapled everything tightly and neatly. You have done most of the work and are left with only the finishing touches.
Re-attach the recliner legs if there are any, then adjust all the cushions in their place. You will need to do some screwing for the footrest, but the rest of the cushions should be easier to place. That is all; enjoy your old-new recliner and its gorgeous new material!
FAQs On Recliner Reupholstering
Reupholstering any furniture, not only recliners, can be a bit tricky. However, the results make the entire process worth it. As a final note before wrapping up, I want to share a few other pieces of information that I think will come in handy at some point:
What is the average cost to reupholster a recliner?
If you are planning on doing the reupholstering yourself, you should only buy the fabric and the tools. That will cost you a few hundred dollars. Letting someone else reupholster the recliner for you will cost about a thousand dollars.
In many cases, it is cheaper to just buy a new recliner instead of going through the difficulty of reupholstering an old one. Make sure you do the math and that your investment is worth it.
How much does it cost to reupholster a leather recliner?
Reupholstering a leather recliner can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000, depending on the specific material and the size of the chair.
Just to put it into perspective: A luxurious brand new Irene House Power Recliner with a dual OKIN motor and infinite positions costs less than $1,000. You can also get the Homall Padded Recliner with full adjustability and an upgraded footrest for less than $200, as well as the JOVNO PU Modern Leather Recliner that has the easiest cleanup and assembly for less than $300.
Again, make sure that upholstering is worth it before you get started. This goes especially for the leather recliners because they are the most expensive type of recliners to reupholster!
Final Thoughts On Reupholstering A Recliner
That is all you need to know about reupholstering a recliner! I hope you found this guide useful and easy to comprehend. I also hope that you will use the tips and tricks I mentioned today when reupholstering your recliner.
Reupholstering can be a fun activity that will get you moving throughout the day! Let me know in the comments how the process went or when you are planning on trying it out. I cannot wait to read all about it, so make sure you share all your stories with me!