how to reupholster a recliner

How to Reupholster a Recliner: A Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever looked at your aging recliner and considered giving it a new lease on life? Reupholstering is a fantastic way to breathe fresh life into your favorite reclining chair without breaking the bank. It’s a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to buying a new chair, especially if the frame and mechanics are still in good condition.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of how to reupholster a recliner, making it a DIY project anyone can tackle. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of turning your worn-out recliner into a stylish, personalized piece of furniture.

Research, Research, Research

Here are some practical tips on how to prepare for this project:

Research the basics of upholstery and specifically reupholstering a recliner. Watch video tutorials and read guides to help you understand the process.

Make a list of tools and materials you’ll need. Ensure you have everything on hand before starting.

Take pictures of the recliner from various angles and make notes on how it’s assembled. This can serve as a helpful reference during reassembly.

If you’re new to using a staple gun, practice stapling on a scrap piece of fabric or cardboard. This will help you get comfortable with the tool and understand how it works.

Materials and Tools You’ll Need

For a basic upholstery project, you’ll need a few reupholster tools. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Screwdriver and needle-nose pliers
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Rubber mallet
  • Straightedge or T-Square
  • Staple remover
  • Fabric marker or chalk
  • Safety gear
  • Adhesive spray (optional)

Choose a durable and aesthetically pleasing fabric for reupholstery. Consider the style of your room and the amount of wear and tear the chair will undergo. You might want to explore some designer fabric options for a statement piece.

Step-by-Step Guide

Now you are ready to start. Here are some guidelines to help you:

Disassemble the Recliner

Start by removing the existing fabric. Use a screwdriver and pliers to take apart the recliner carefully.

Remove Old Fabric and Padding

Once disassembled, carefully remove the old fabric and any worn-out padding. Dispose of these materials responsibly.

Cut and Attach the New Fabric

Lay out your new fabric and use the old pieces as a pattern for cutting. Add a few inches extra for wrapping and stapling.

Attach the new fabric by using a staple gun. Start in the middle of each section and work your way out, pulling the fabric tightly. Corners and edges can be tricky.

Fold the fabric neatly and staple it securely. Trim excess fabric for a clean finish.


Once the new fabric is attached, reassemble the recliner. Follow the notes or pictures you took during disassembly. If your recliner’s cushions need a boost, replace or add foam and batting for added comfort.

How to Reupholster a Recliner

Now that you know how to reupholster a recliner, try this DIY project. The cost to reupholster furniture can be less than replacing them, and upcycling is trendy.

Once you’ve finished this project, you can start looking at ideas for your next DIY project. Remember to check out our blog for some inspiration!