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If you have never re-upholstered a chair, you might be surprised what's underneath all that fabric you tear away. The woodwork, might be very little of your chair. The padded seat and design of the fabric, is largely what gives a chair its look.
To pick a new look, it depends on what kind of fabric you select. Whatever pattern you choose, make sure it is something tightly woven, and durable. Select something stronger than a drapery fabric, so it will last longer. And, if you select something with a pattern, make sure you buy extra. To make sure the pattern is aligned the same way on each chair, you might need extra material.
Then, follow these steps to disassemble and rebuild your new chair.
1. Remove old upholstery
Remove the old fabric. If possible keep the old ones to use as patterns for the new ones. While you are removing the fabric, note where the tacks or staples are. You will want to attempt to place the new tacks or staples in the same or nearby holes, to mimic the previous pattern.
2. Padding
It is likely you will need to replace the padding as well. Take the padding to the store with you to select the same type. It is rare padding won't wear out. Buy a polyurethane padding that is dense. This will last the longest.
3. Cut Padding
Cut the new padding in the same design as the last. Glue it to the wood, and tack the ends to the sides. You might have to let the chair sit overnight until the glue dries.
4. Cut fabric
When the glue is dry, cut your fabric, trying to use the previous pattern. If you cannot, cut the fabric in the pattern of the seat, leaving about 2 inches to spare on each end.
5. Attach Fabric
Pull the fabric, so the ends meet underneath the chair. With tacks or staples attach the fabric to the bottom side of the chair. When you get to corners, cut a notch on the sides. This way you can fold the fabric underneath, and have a flat edge. Take the flat edge and tack or staple it to the wood. Repeat this pattern at all corners until your chair is covered.