Category Archives: home decor

Do-it-yourself chair upholstery


Cost: $34 for camping foam, $28 for 4 yards of fabric (2 yards used), $4 for staples.  Total = $52
Success:  Better than expected. Also more expensive than expected.

Sometimes I get a whim that I just can’t shake out of my head. One day I decided I wanted to add cushions to my hard, ass-flattening Ikea chairs. I had yards of lovely velour, and I had the chairs. I just needed foam and a staple gun. I acknowledged that I had no upholstering experience, and that my do-it-yourself projects have a spotty track record.

I borrowed a staple gun from a co-worker for the cost of a coffee, and headed to Canadian Tire for the foam. Things were looking a little iffy until a sales associate pointed me towards the camping section, where they had 1″ and 3″ thick foam. It cost more than I would have liked – $31 plus tax for about 6 feet of 3″ thick foam. I sat on the roll of foam while I waited for the bus in the pouring rain. I’m happy to say it kept my butt warm and dry.

To cut the foam, I took apart the chairs and used a pencil to trace the part I would be upholstering. I found the best way to cut it out was by using a bread knife to cut the entire length in one direction, over and over until I cut my way through. This wasn’t ideal and there is probably a better way to do it. I cut fabric to fit the cushions, with about 4 inches to spare on all sides.

Once I got over my initial fear of the staple gun, it was pretty cool. I quickly discovered that the side I stapled first would have the least slope, so I started with the back of the chair. I stretched the fabric around and stapled under the front. Velour worked well because it’s stretchy. As an added bonus, it reminds me of Zapp Brannigan. It was hard to get both sides even, and I still can’t say I’ve mastered that skill.

The chairs went together again pretty easily, and everything looked smoother and nicer than I imagined! They’re not perfect, but I likes ’em anyway!