How Much Fabric to Reupholster a Chair: A Complete Guide

Imagine you’ve started your project, and you find out you’re short on fabric. And there is no fabric left in the store. You’re left scratching your head.

So the question “how much fabric to reupholster a chair?” is more important than you may think.

How Much Fabric to Reupholster a Chair

I know the answer from experience. We had a set of chairs and a sofa, kind of regarded as a family heirloom. Understandably, it lost its beautiful design to the passage of time.

Everyone wanted to replace it, but I wanted to keep it. This decision is a hard one. The sofa still looks great and holds memories but is it worth the cost? For me, it was.

I had two options; give it to the professionals or do it myself. After considering both the options, it seemed to be more cost-efficient if I did it myself. DIY-ing can be hard, no doubt, especially if it needs a specific skill set. Nonetheless, it is more satisfying.

How Much Fabric to Reupholster a Chair?

From my experience, there is no single determining amount for it. It will vary a lot depending on the fabric’s dimensions, the size of the chair, and how much of the chair you want to cover.

If you’re looking for a general idea, you will require about 3 yards to 7 yards of fabric. Then, multiply it by the number of chairs if there is more than one. You will have a bit of fabric left, and that’s good.

But that’s not going to be much help to you if you’re also going towards the DIY route. You want to be accurate and precise about what you need. Use the previous upholstery as a reference for your project.

How to Determine the Amount of Fabric?

It is a more complex process than you might have thought about how much fabric do I need to reupholster a chair. If you can consult an expert, it’d really help you as it did in my case. There are a few factors you want to consider before you take up the measuring tape.

Fabric Thickness

When I first searched online asking the same question, there was a lack of info regarding this point. I had to learn after getting stuck. It might be something that most people don’t think too much of.

But, I really didn’t like how the fabric completely covers the color of my chairs and sofa. What I wanted was a layer of fabric that shows off the internal color as well. On the other hand, some fabric was too thin for my choice.

Therefore, the fabric thickness is something worth considering. If you genuinely like the pattern of the fabric, but it’s thinner than you’d like, buy a separate fabric of the same color without the pattern.

Fabric Dimensions

You learn a lot if you do something by yourself from A to Z. I learned how different fabrics come in different widths. It does affect the amount of fabric you’ll need. If the width of the fabric is less than the width of your chair or sofa, you’ll need to do some stitching. So there will be an extra cost.

More often, you won’t be facing this issue since most fabrics intended for the restoration of sofas and chairs come with the appropriate dimensions.

After taking those into account, I’d suggest that you follow a chart that explains the amount of fabric you need for a specific chair.

If you need some help, knowing the types of chairs can make things a bit easy.

Read Next: Clean Your Upholstered Dining Room Chairs Right Way

What Type of Chair Do You Have?

Here are a few common types of chairs. If your chairs and sofas are not out of this world, they should fall between these chairs.

Dining Room Chair

This is the most common type of chair that requires reupholstering. Being around food and water, it loses its beauty and needs makeover and restoration.

Most chairs have the same structure, but the measurement of the sitting space and the back can vary slightly. If the chair has its fabric, you can use this fabric as a template to cut your purchased fabric.

There are edges and corners to cover as well, no matter what kind of chair you have.

For a general rule, you can reupholster two seats of a dining chair with 3/4th of a yard of 54-inch thick fabric.

Parson’s Chair

Designed during the 1930s, this Parson’s chair is a common dining chair. It’s an armless chair. Compared to the previous one, this has more of a linear design and square-shaped legs.

You’ll need 3 yards of fabric to reupholster a chair of this kind. If you want to add a skirt, you’ll need half a yard more.

Wing Chair

Wing chair, aka The Grandpa chair, is a much laid-back and long-backed chair. You’re going to need a lot of fabric to reupholster it. If it has a convenient size, you will need around 7 yards of fabric with a standard width.

Chesterfield Chair

Traditionally Chesterfield chairs used to have leather as the upholstery. Later down the road, it adopted fabric to cut down the cost. But still, the fabric is chosen to give that aesthetic of leather. You’ll require 7 yards of fabric for this chair as well.

Sets of Sofa/Couch

Sofa/Couches will need more than 15 yards of fabric. But you can’t find the exact amount by multiplying a unit’s measurement with the number of seats on the sofa. Because they’re attached together, you do not need all of the sides.

Advice from Fellow DIY-er

Buy Extra

You don’t want to regret it after starting your project. So it’s never a bad idea to purchase extra fabric. Buying extra fabric for your reupholstering project is like buying insurance for it.

I know you’ll measure and re-measure your chairs quite a few times, as did I. Nonetheless, you never know! You may mess up while dividing the fabric, or something else may spoil your fabric to the point of no return.

Buy two or three yards of extra fabric. Even if, in the end, you don’t use it, you can use it elsewhere.

Take Pictures

When you take out the worn-out upholstery, make sure to take pictures. It will help you to know which piece goes to which side. And also, it will help you to do the corners of the chair more efficiently.

Replace or Reupholster?

In my case, it wasn’t an issue since it was a matter of sentiment. Who wants to let go of a family heirloom that has the touch of predecessors? If that’s your case, you know what you should do.

For those who don’t have such sentimental aspects, you should also be reupholstering your furniture. Why am I saying it? It’s from the perspective of quality. The quality of your old chairs and sofas is better than what you’ll find today at the same price or more. Especially, the quality of the wood was far better.

Types of Fabric

The different types of fabrics commonly used for upholstery are cotton, linen, wool, leather, acetate, hemp, silk, polyester, and so on. There is no end to it. You’re free to choose anything! But it’s certainly better to choose the same fabric type as before. You don’t want to get used to the new texture and feel.

Online Charts for Help

There are quite a few charts that mention the dimensions and types of chairs along with the required amount of fabric. These charts might be of more help to you than any professionals. It certainly helped me.

Final Words

How much fabric to reupholster a chair? – The answer to this question should be pretty clear to you now. Comfort is your target so make sure to buy natural fabric. And for the second time, follow the charts and buy the extra amount of fabric as insurance.

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