How to Reupholster a Wingback Chair- Simple Steps

Wingback chairs have been a stylish addition to living rooms for centuries and are worth revisiting in today’s homes. They are sensible, striking, and can be used in different ways around your home. And there’s something special about their exceptionally curvy design- you can sit back and stay awhile. A Wingback chair can be a sophisticated piece of furniture and also practical.

DHow to Reupholster a Wingback Chairid you know that a stained, ripped, or dated fabric can turn a wingback chair into a total eyesore? As long as the furniture is in good shape, you can reupholster your wingback chair that has seen better days. Thankfully, there are many ways you can give that chair a fresh look.

If you don’t know how to reupholster a wingback chair, don’t fret. In this post, we’ll give a step-by-step guide on how you can bring your chair back to its former glory.

How to reupholster a wingback chair without removing the old fabric

With time, your wingback chair is going to get worn or dirty. If you think the chair has gotten too beat-up but it’s still in good condition, you should reupholster it. While there’s likely to be a professional who deals with such kinds of repairs, you don’t have to spend a dime when reupholstering your chair. Even a novice DIYer can work on the chair in the afternoon.

You need a screwdriver, scissors, staples, staple gun, and new fabric.

Steps on reupholster a wingback chair

  • Start by measuring a seat cushion to determine how much fabric replacement you need. During the process, you should leave a few inches on the sides. This is what you’ll use on the underside.
  • Using a screwdriver, check whether the cushion of the chair needs some repairs. If it’s in good shape, reupholster the chair without removing the old cover. You’ll just lay the new cover on the old one. However, you have to remove the staples that hold the old cover.
  • Next, lay the cover on the work surface and cut a piece that conforms to the dimensions as highlighted in the first step. If you’re using a patterned fabric, you should ensure the cutaway is well highlighted.
  • To reupholster the chair, fold one edge of the fabric over the seat and staple the underside of the fabric. Then, stretch the fabric over the cushion before you fasten the opposite side again.
  • Once you confirm the cover aligns properly on the cushioning surface, you should continue stapling along the sides. Be sure to keep the fabric taut – not so much that the pattern gets distorted. If the fabric looks crooked at some point, pop out the staple and reattach again.
  • When you arrive at the corners, you should be more careful when reupholstering the chair. You should staple as you stretch the fabric. This could be a trial and error, but you’ll learn how to attach the fabric without any wrinkles. If you get some, just pop out a few staples, and repeat the process.

After you’ve finished working on the back, you should trim the excess fabric with scissors. You don’t have to concentrate so much on the underside as the cushion will not be visible.

How to reupholster a wingback chair without sewing

You should have the right fabric and batting at hand. And to remove the hundreds of staples, you need the right tool. You need tack and staple remover claws, a pneumatic staple gun, and an air compressor. Believe it or not, you’ll feel like a boss with each pop of the stapler.

As you disassemble the chair, you should document the steps – this will be helpful. You can even take some pictures to track the process. After that, you have to turn the ugly chair into a showpiece.

You should number each panel so that you can know which piece is which. But don’t throw them away – you can use them as templates to cut the new panels. Other things you should pay attention to are the tuck strips and upholstery ribs.

While removing the fabric, you’ll notice that the foam of the seat has holes where the buttons were placed. To fix them, you should bat on the backside. Next, you should use huge gobs of cotton to stuff the holes. Once you’ve covered the surface with batting, you’ll be amazed the chair looks like the holes were never there.

Using the steps, you noted earlier, it’s time to get the brains to work. It may look tricky to get the patterned fabric to line up, but you’ll get used to it. When you follow each step, you’ll be pleased with the results.

Start by folding the fabric on the raw edges and staple it in place. Next, you should ponder the perky backrest. If the seat cushion is worn out, you should replace it with a new one while using the old one as the template.

How to reupholster a wingback chair with wood trim

You’ll need new fabric, a heavy-duty staple gun, staples, and fabric scissors. The fabric selection matters because it must match with the wood trim. If you don’t pay attention to the cloth coverings, you’ll end up with an awful chair that looks dull, wrinkly, or just bland.

This is a project you do yourself. All you need is some patience and sewing ability. It will save you costly professional upholstery fees. Below are a few steps you can use to reupholster your wingback chair.

First, remove the existing fabric and trim down to batting. Be sure to save the old pieces as you can use them as old patterns. Next, you should remove all the staples. You’ll understand how many times the chair has been upholstered. Make sure you remove them all out as you need more space to place the new ones.

After you expose the inner framework, you’ll see the floral fabric peeking through. Begin the work on the seat deck and sew a seam where the arms and the deck pieces meet. You’ll hand sew through the seam allowance down. Then, push the deck fabric through the side openings and pull the front portion down. Generally speaking, the reupholstery order of parts should be the seat deck, interior sides, interior back, and back & sides, respectively.

Once you staple the front part of the deck, you can barely see the fabric under the arm. Next, attach the interior side pieces, cut the new fabric, and add 2″ around the edges. Staple it in place and cut the extra fabric with a knife. Do the same to the exterior backside.

To make the back and sides, you should sew a side seam. While most upholsters use the metal tape track system, a sewn seam works wonders. You should cut the pieces to size and pin them against the chair. Make sure the pieces are of the right size leaving an allowance of half-inch in case of any bulk. Of course, the seam should run down precisely down the edge of the wood trim.

Now that the fabric is on and you’ve trimmed the excess one, you should ensure the seams run down the edge of the frame. If there are any unsightly staples, you can use hot glue to cover them. For the bottom piece of the cover, you should make a finished edge for the two pieces. Be sure to sew the pieces that go down to the wood trim and line up the edges.

How to reupholster a chair seat corners

While reupholstering a wingchair will give it a custom look, you need to be a little bit smart when working on the corners. The corners can be tackled in many ways – it depends on the material at hand. Thick upholstery like vinyl or leather requires creative folding and stapling techniques.

No matter the technique you use on the corners, you should ensure they are equally proportioned. Start by folding one side of the upholstery material over its respective back or bottom and the staple the entire area. Be sure to use the same technique on all the areas. As you work around the piece, you should focus on consistency.

You can also use the angled ear approach. Smooth the fabric along each side of the corner to create neat edges. You should maintain a 45-degree angle such that the excess fabric creates an ear/flap shape. If there’s any fabric sticking out, you can use a utility knife or scissors to neaten it up. Repeat the process on the other side of the chair.

How much fabric do I need to recover a wingback chair?

When collecting your supplies for reupholstering your wingback chair, you should decide on how much fabric to use. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending your money on an expensive fabric only to find yourself making the second trip to the store.

To eliminate any guesswork out of the equation, you should take time to measure the fabric. Start by measuring the width of the fabric – most of them will measure 54-62 inches. Lay the pattern pieces on the floor to ensure it’s no more than the fabric bolt width. Next, you should measure the width of the fabric in the bolt. Then, measure the height of the chair by paying attention to the tallest and widest inches. Find the largest measurements and add them together.

For example, if the chair is 50 inches by 30 inches, then 50 inches should be your largest number. When you add 50 inches to the other measurements, then that will be your total yardage. After that, you should divide the number by 12 to convert inches into feet.

What if you don’t want to measure? Well, a typical wingback chair will take about 5-7 yards of fabric.

How much does it cost to reupholster a wingback chair?

While reupholstering a wingback chair will breathe life in your living room, you could be wondering how much it costs to do the job. Depending on the material used on the chair, it may not be the most affordable option. To be on the safe side, you should ensure reupholstering is the right choice for you.

Before you dive into the costs, you should determine whether the chair is worth reupholstering or not. Besides, many things can contribute to this. Does the wingback chair hold a sentimental value that is difficult to replace? This could be a piece of furniture that you love, heirloom, antique, etc. Is the frame solid and sturdy? Also, if you can’t find a similar wingback chair in the store, the only option you have is reupholstering.

According to upholstery professionals, you should expect to spend somewhere between $500 and $1500. Typically, you need 7 yards of fabric that costs $350. The average labor costs are $600 to $1000. It’s worth mentioning that the labor costs will depend on the upholsterer you choose and the complexity of the project. If you’re doing the job without additional help, the cost of labor will go down. Some of the factors that affect cost include the quality of fabric selected, wood finish on the chair, size of the chair, and any necessary repairs on the wingback furniture.

To ensure you get the right estimate, you should get in touch with a professional. How much your wingback chair costs will depend on the condition it was before restoration was done. If some nails are missing from the frame, or the woodwork is broken, you should expect to pay more. If you want new wingback chair then read  this review on The FDW wingback recliner.

Is it worth to reupholster a wingback chair?

Maybe you have a piece of wingback chair whose fabric has fallen victim to the inevitable forces of wear and tear. Or perhaps, you grabbed a chair from a yard and decided to give it a fresh new look. Whichever route you take, reupholster is the way to go.

One of the things to help you determine whether the chair is worth reupholster or not is evaluating how often it’s used. How much do you truly like the piece? If it’s a family heirloom, you want to bring it back to its former glory no matter what.

Another area to look at is the frame. Is it made of hardwood with a few knots? The chair is worth reupholstering if the wood feels study enough to keep. Next, you should press the arms and cushioned area to evaluate whether you can make them more comfortable. If it feels squishy, reupholstering could be a poor investment.


Final thoughts

With a little practice, you can give your seat a fresh new look. And you’ll be amazed how easy you can reupholster your wingback chair without extra help. If you have one of these outrageous chairs, you should consider yourself lucky. Don’t be afraid to give it a new lease in life. We highly suggest that you use the above ideas in your next upholstery project.

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Daniel is a chair specialist who has researched about gaming chair, office chair, recliner chair, massage chair, etc. He has sound skills and experiences in sitting posture, ergonomic posture, back pain, etc. Daniel is a regular writer on this blog.

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