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DIY: Junk chair refresh

Ya just never know what a secondhand find can inspire. That’s what happened when I found the most beautiful upholstery fabric in my local thrift store. It was a large piece that I paid maybe $5 for. And it’s helped make magic happen for a few dated chairs. This DIY took me an afternoon to turn trash into treasure and I love it!


  • chair
  • fabric
  • foam (optional)
  • scissors
  • upholstery tacks and upholstery tack hammer OR staples and staple gun

Scour your local thrift store for fabric. Ideally you can find some upholstery fabric to work with.

Next find a chair in need of refreshing. For your first upholstery project I would look for a straight-forward reupholstery job and nothing overly complicated.

I bought this chair for $1 from the Sechelt dump’s Share Shed. You’ll want to remove the seat then refinish the chair.

Next remove the old fabric and add the new. If you’re lucky removing the old fabric is easy and hopefully the foam can be reused. Clean the surface then add your new fabric. You can use a staple gun but I like using plain tacks and an upholstery tack hammer.

Once you’ve reupholstered the chair, you can place the seat back on the chair. And you’re done!

Since you have leftover fabric why not find more chairs to reupholster! I managed to reupholster a few chairs with my thrift store find. Total cost for this chair was under $10 for the fabric, chair and tacks.

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