Reupholstering an Arm Chair Tutorial Part 1: How to Remove Old Upholstery

It's Monday and you know what that means.....another makeover to share. I will be sharing this chair transformation in 4 parts, simply because it is way too much information to share in one post AND I really do want this tutorial to be helpful and not overwhelming.

Several weeks ago on one of my Restore shopping adventures, I came across this chair for FREE. Apparently, it had been for sale for several weeks, and with no takers, they marked it down from $50 to free. I probably wouldn't have been interested, but it was sturdy and I was ready to take on a bit of a bigger reupholstering project.

I began by assembling my tools. With the exception of the needle nose pliers and electric drill, I bought all these tools at JoAnn's Fabrics. If you plan on tackling many reupholstering projects, you might want to invest in these handy tools. The drill and scissors excluded, each cost less than $10.


Tools Needed:

  • Needle Nose Pliers

  • Seam Ripper

  • Fabric Scissors

  • Heavy Duty Staple Remover (Blue Dritz Home)

  • Tack Remover or sometimes called Claw Tool (wooden handle)

  • Staple Remover (red handle)

  • Electric Drill

Lift up seat cushion and with scissors, clip threads pulling the cushion away from seat.

Once cushion is removed, it will look like this. This is a good time to mention to try to keep as much fabric in tact so that you can use it as a pattern for your new upholstery.

Turn chair over and with tack tool, remove the dust cover.

Find screws that are holding seat into place.

Remove screws with drill freeing the seat from the chair frame.

Once seat is removed, with pliers pull piping away from the chair back.

With piping gone, remove the front facing fabric.


Remove last piece of fabric carefully so that you can use as a pattern when you cut your new upholstery.

Voila!! Chair frame free of ugly green velvet. Overall, it took me about an hour to remove everything, which is not too bad. Stay tuned as later in the week, I share more of this chair transformation. Hopefully this first part will encourage you to be on the lookout for a chair to reupholster. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a great week!!

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