- When it comes to DIY reupholstering, dining room chairs are often the first job tackled. It's a straightforward project that most people can complete on their own even with only modest skills. The seats of many dining chairs are batting covered by fabric, stapled around a piece of particle board and held to the chair by a few screws. Once the seat is off of the frame, the current fabric and batting can be removed by prying the staples up with a screwdriver; replace fabric and batting and then screw the seat back in place.
- If you have some sewing skill, try making slipcovers rather than replacing your current upholstery. The fabric covering a piece of furniture is put together like a puzzle. If you make a diagram of the pieces, you can hold craft paper to each section and make a pattern, then cut out fabric and sew the pieces together. A loose-fitting slipcover is a project suitable for those with basic sewing skills, while more experienced sewers may choose a fitted, tailored design.
- Before you tackle reupholstering a piece of furniture that is important to you, or will cost a lot to replace if you run into trouble, see if you can get your hands on a similar piece of furniture to practice on. Thrift stores and garage sales often offer up furniture for pennies on the dollar. While you're at it, pick up some king-size flat sheets to use as cheap fabric. Take the upholstery off the sample furniture to get a feeling of how upholstery works. Practice upholstery techniques on this furniture before you try your hand on the furniture and expensive fabric you want to put in your house.
- Before tackling an upholstery project, spend the time to really get to know the piece of furniture. Take notes about details like skirting, covered buttons, tufts or wood trim. Figure out how the fabric is attached to the frame. Fabric may appear to be sewn, when in reality it is tacked or stapled to the wood beneath. Upholstery fabric is expensive, so measuring twice and cutting once is recommended. Buy a yard or two more than you think you need, so you are sure to have enough for matching patterns or fix mistakes with fabric from the same dye run.