How to Recover a Parson’s Style Chair {Furniture Revamp}…

DIY- Upholstery- Chair- Interior Design


How to recover chairs- Upholstery- DIY- Interior Design


I have talked in the past about how great Parson’s style chairs are for inexpensive desk chairs, accent chairs for a corner in a room, or for when you have very little space. What I love most about using these chairs are that they are very inexpensive {$50.00-$100.00} and easy to find.  Best of all, you have the ability to incorporate fun and bold fabrics in a room simply by recovering them.

I am in the middle of updating my bedroom and decided to go with an inexpensive slight wing back style Parson’s chair that I picked up at Home Goods for $99.00 for a little accent chair:



I wanted a chair that I could incorporate a bold geometric pattern into the bedroom and I have very little space for a traditional chair. The chair is really just a way for me to add another layer of pattern into the space.

Ok, so here’s the deal.. There are several ways to recover this style of chair. I actually reupholstered this dang chair but take it from me, unless you are over the top- DIY gungho and just really have this overwhelming desire to do this, I recommend another route {I will list the other easier options}.

I don’t know what possessed me to attempt this but there was zero joy factor involved. I’m not gonna lie to you and go through a tutorial and tell you that it’s a cake walk. I will say though, if you really do want to learn how to upholster, this style of chair would be the perfect project to learn the basics. If you have the time, desire and patience, learn how to upholster on this style of chair. The best part of all is that the back panel pops out on the Parson’s chair and pops back in, so you’re really only upholstering half the chair {more on that in a minute}.

Ok, so I will at the end of this post tell you how I did this project. Before I get to my painful tutorial, let me sell you on the easier routes to recovering a Parson’s chair first.

The easiest route is to create a slip cover and slide it over the chair, or run as fast as you can to your local upholsterer. Whatever he wants, give it to him/her because it’s worth every penny.

If you sew, you probably know what to do to pin the fabric around the chair and create your own pattern. If you don’t sew, you can contact someone local who does sew and ask them if they would create a slip cover for you. I have had this done in the past and usually all they need is the chair itself and your fabric {you will need at least 3 yards depending on your style of slip cover}.  A word of warning though, if you want to have a slip cover made, do not buy a thick velvet chair. Buy a thinner fabric chair.

The other easier route is to buy a thinner fabric chair {not velvet like I did} and reupholster over the existing fabric. Just pop the back panel off using a flat head screwdriver to pry off. You can then use an electric staple gun and go over everything and then hammer the back panel back in place. The back panel has a long metal bar that has shark like nails that just pop out {look at the lower left hand corner and you will see the bar of nails going up the fabric}:
DIY- Interior Design- How to Recover a Chair- Upholstery
You would save on fabric if you purchased a fabric that coordinated with the fabric on the back panel. If not, you can just cut and fit over the back panel and fold over and then hammer the back panel back in. I would just go right over the existing piping and staple the ends under the chair.

I wish that I had thought this through and bought a chair with thinner fabric so I could just staple my new fabric over it but unfortunately, I did not {sigh}. I had to remove all of the fabric. Thank goodness that the back panel coordinated with my fabric and I didn’t have to do the back!

So instead of giving you a long and painful tutorial on how I did this project, I’m going to give you some pointers if you’re interested in taking this on. This is one of those projects that you really need to just start pulling the upholstery off, starting with the back panel to see what you need to do. The good news is that once you see the inside, it’s very clear what you need to do.

1) This project requires a really good electric staple gun! Without it, it’s really gonna be tough! I used a Stanley Sharpshooter with heavy duty staples and it worked great.

2) I used two sizes of flat head screwdrivers to pop the back panel off and to pry up old upholstery staples.

3) Instead of prying up all old upholstery staples, I used a sharp exacto knife to cut the fabric off around the staples. No need in spending countless hours removing staples. This saved so much time:
How to Recover a Parson's Chair- DIY- Interior Design- Upholstery


4) Since I had to remove the fabric, I had two panels {top and bottom of chair} that served as my pattern:
DIY- How to recover a chair- Interior Design- Instructions


5) I placed the two panels that came off of the chair over my fabric and cut along the lines. Big disclaimer here, cut at least 3-4 inches of extra fabric as you cut around the old panels!!! You are gonna need it! I made the mistake and did not cut enough and paid for it later!


DIY- How to Recover a Chair- Upholstery- Instructions


6) Once you remove all of the fabric, you will see that the top panel bottom slides down and through the crease of the chair. The bottom panel does the same. They are both stapled to the back wood piece in the back of the chair. Take note of this and make a mark on the old panels to remind you to cut at least an additional 6-7 inches so you have ample fabric to pull through and staple.



7) Center your fabric and begin stapling it. I learned that it’s not necessary to pull as tight as you can. Pull tight but not too hard that your stretching your fabric and will create stress on the fibers. You can either remove the old piping or pull your fabric over the old piping and staple under chair.

8) When you have stapled everything and hammered on the back panel. You can add piping if you want.


How to recover chairs- Upholstery- DIY- Interior Design


Well… I hope my helpful hints will help. I  really don’t want to talk you out of doing this if you are really interested in learning how to upholster. I think if you go into it knowing that it’s going to be a lot of work and it’s gonna take a lot of time, then I say go for it! I have never done a big upholstery project like this before and I really wanted to give it a try. So now I can move on {lesson learned} and take it to my favorite upholstery guy next time!

My bedroom revamp is nearly finished. I have several projects to share with you this week and I hope that I will be finished and be able to finally show you the final picture. I’m not sure if it will all be done by Friday but I’m going to try!
I’ll be back on Wednesday with another project. The next one is a lot easier, I promise!!


TDC Before and After

  Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special  handmade projectsUndertheTableandDreaming  Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

This entry was posted in DIY, Do It Yourself Projects, Furniture Revamps and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to How to Recover a Parson’s Style Chair {Furniture Revamp}…

  1. Amanda Eck says:

    1st off it looks amazing! 2nd I feel your pain! I too learned the hard way and now I never ever ever do my own reupholstering. Its worth my sanity to have my upholsterer do it. Ive even hired him to reupholster pop in seats to dining chairs-something I could totally do myself- but when we he only charges me $25 a seat-and they are in and out and look so professional. And I have to be honest I can see now why its mostly men who do reupholstering- it takes some serious muscle to tear all those staples out, ya know?
    BUT that being said yours looks awesome and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

  2. Joyce Yoder says:

    Looks like you did a fine job! I have an upholstery business and have done it over 30 years-and yup, I’m a gal!! Gals can do it, and yes it is hard work! But don’t give up if you wanna try-you can do it!

    • Cyndy says:

      That is so great to hear Joyce!! It really is so much work but every upholster that I have ever met has told me how much they love it and how relaxing it is. I’m sure you love it after 30 plus years. I bow down to you Joyce!! Thanks so much for your kind comments and for stopping by!

  3. Joyce Yoder says:

    :)!! Can’t always say it is relaxing, but for the most part I do enjoy it! I love being my own boss and having my shop behind my home! Enjoyed your blog-keep up the great work!!

  4. Hi Cyndy! I love parsons chairs, and I love the fabric you used! If/when I need to do this, I think I will go with one of your easier ideas – this looks intense, but you did a fantastic job with it!!

    Also – you recently started following me on Pinterest, but I decided to scrap that account and just use my personal account for my blog as well, since I was finding the 2nd account redundant (I’m new to the blogosphere and trying to figure out how I want to manage everything!). If you’d still like to follow me, my account is:


  5. Terry says:

    Love your new fabric. I have done this before and you make it look easier than it really is. Well done.

  6. Kelly says:

    It may have been said somwhere in the post, so I apologize if it was. Where did you get your fabric?

  7. Preet says:

    hmm wow !! Its now looking brand now .Also nice print you have chosen.

  8. Lily says:

    this is an awesome post. I find it really awesome and interesting. Thank you for sharing this!

  9. Vaueli says:

    I’m just wondering how much fabric is needed to reupholster a parson chair? Thanks.

  10. Karissa says:

    where did you get he fabric love it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *