Living Room

How to Reupholster a Recliner?

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A couple of recliner chairs would be good furniture for any home. They provide comfortable feelings, and it will be a great choice for those who favor setting their feet up for relaxing.

However, all things eventually wear down, and it will happen on the outer layer and upholstery of a chair. Luckily, sometimes, there is no need for you to change your entire recliner chair. Rather than that, it is possible to reupholster your recliner, so it can keep serving your relaxation for long terms to come.

If you wonder how to reupholster a recliner, then the article below will help you do everything. Let’s get right into the details!

Is It Easy to Reupholster a Recliner?

Reupholstering a recliner is likely not to be a hard task and you can do it yourself (DIY). Simply put, reupholstering only demands you to replace the padding and the fabric of the chair.

As you don’t have to change the structure and the mechanism, it will be achievable to reupholster your favorite recliner. Since recliners differ from other kinds of armchairs, you only need to take apart them and reupholster every single piece.

Preparing the proper tools at hand before you begin is also very important as it will help the work become easier and avoid any delay in the course of the process.

How to Recover Your Recliner

Required tools

upholstery tools

Before you begin to reupholster the old recliner, there are a number of upholstery tools you need to prepare to help the job become more obtainable and easy-going:

  • A heavy-duty fabric scissors
  • A seam ripper
  • A staple gun for upholstery
  • Tack lifter
  • Industrial hot melt glue gun
  • Hot melt glue sticks
  • Craft covered button kits
  • Upholstery hand needles
  • Thread
  • Sewing pins
  • A tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Wax coated strings

How Many Yards of Fabric Do You Need for Reupholstering The Recliner?

how many yards of fabric

Before you start reupholstering, it is necessary to measure the chair from every side. Next, assure that you measure fabric larger and longer than the positions you want to put it.

For instance, you should have a half or 1 inch of fabric on the three sides but on the remaining side having around 4 inches to paste and stitch into the back of the chair.

Remember that a half or 1 inch of fabric on the left, right, and front are for you to fold when gluing and tucking. Additionally, keep in mind to mark every single part of the chair to realize which piece of fabric to use and for easy reassembly.

Initially, take a tape measure and follow the chair framework. Make sure you check the length of the chair from the bottom, front to other sides. When measuring the width, also notice the chair’s inner sides, external sides, and tops.

Step-by-step Guide

Once you have done the preparation of the required tools, it is time for the official guidelines on how to DIY reupholster an old recliner chair:

recliner reupholstery guide

Step 1: Removing Old Fabric

Take some photos of the recliner before removing the old covering. It is great to have overall and detailed photographs for reference when you are reupholstering the reclining chair.

Take the recliner apart if needed and strip the upholstery pieces (not any tear as you need them as models). Start by striping the back piece, and then remove the pieces adhered to the framework.

Take off the pieces and label each with its position on the recliner with a marker pen. For instance, you can label “T” for the top or “F” for the front to show the side of pieces on the recliner.

Step 2: Cleaning The Recliner

Taking off the original covering will absolutely make the underside of your recliner unclean. Then, it’s best to freshen the recliner up before reupholstery.

For example, you can vacuum the inside of the framework.

Step 3: Making New Patterns of Fabric

Put the old covering’s wrong side up on the backside of the new pattern, take notice of the grains, positions, and directions of the motif.

What you need to do next is pinning in position and cutting around the pieces, having some inches of fabric beyond the stapled edge of the old covering. It will offer some fabric to fold and staple.

Repeat the task to make other fabric sections. Use the chalk to mark the directions, weltings, and seams onto the new patterns.

Iron the new fabric once you have done the cut before putting it on the recliner.

Step 4: Pinning The New Fabric

Once you have made the new pieces of fabric and cleaned the framework of your favorite recliner chair, it’s time to replace the covering.

Use straight sewing pins to keep the new patterns in place. It will help you fix the seam so that the fabric lies more neatly.

You can start from the center of the framework, then staple the pattern. It is necessary to keep it as taut as possible. You also need to assure that all the corners will not pucker!

Step 5: Using The Hot Glue Gun

There are a few locations on a recliner that you can’t staple. That will be a chance for you to use the hot glue gun rather than sewing pins.

Step 6: Set Covered Button Kits

After that, you can use covered button kits. Follow the guidelines and cover the selected buttons. Hold the upholstery needle and wax-coated string for sewing the button back onto the recliner.

Complete everything and the new recliner is done!

Watch the video below to see each step of reupholstering a lazy boy recliner in action. This video is made by people who are not professional in reupholstering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Worth It to Reupholster?

Recliner reupholstery is a good,  climate-friendly way to have old furniture not carried to a landfill. Yet, it is not always the most economical option. In fact, recliner reupholstery can sometimes cost as high as buying the new one (and even more).

For instance, the cost to reupholster a recliner may be lower than $150, and, likely, that you can’t buy a new one with that budget. By contrast, in some cases, it takes you more than $1,100 to $1,500 to repair and re-pad the same recliner. In that situation, you have to make a decision of whether it is more inexpensive to buy a completely new one.

Here is the list of things to consider when you decide if it’s worth reupholstering your old recliner:

  1. What is the age of your recliner? Have you frequently used it to relax? If the chair has been used for a very long period, it is possibly well-made and long-lasting enough to reupholster.
  2. Is the framework stable, durable, and constructed with hardwood? When creating premium-quality recliners, producers adopt hardwood for the framework and connect the joints with the dowel and glue or screw. In that case, reupholstering is the method to go.
  3. How much do you actually adore the recliner? If you like the design and can’t look for a similar one in some stores, you can keep reupholstering.
  4. Is it a family heirloom? Maybe you are just eager to get it back to life under any condition.

Can You Reupholster a Leather Recliner?

You can absolutely reupholster a leather recliner. Leather recliners are normally expensive, classic, and pleasant so that it will not be reasonable to leave them aside owing to a spot of dirt or tear yet it is working correctly.

Rather than buying a new costly leather recliner, you just need to purchase new leather or any other type of fabric to start reupholstery. You will need to strip the original leather and recover the chair.

Remember that if you crave to reupholster a leather recliner by yourself, there are many guideline articles and videos on the internet to watch before doing.

Do You Have to Remove Old Fabric When Reupholstering?

If you don’t like it, you can reupholster it without removing the old fabric. The process is super easy and you can do it by yourself. Here is the guideline for you to follow:

Step 1: Recover the back of the recliner

Tuck the new fabric into all folds of the back until it is tight. It will reduce the chance that the pieces will become loose.

Cut the new piece some inches under the bottom of the recliner to staple it.

Step 2: Recover sides of the recliner

Step 3: Recover the seat and footrest of the recliner

There is much repetition in this way: lay the new patterns over the seat, and tuck them wherever you can. Do the same with the footrest and you have done!


Even though you own a recliner with famous brands such as a La-Z-Boy chair, a reclining sofa, or even a wingback chair, furniture reupholstery will definitely help it look great and feel pleasant for many years.

Also, as you reupholstery the old recliner, it will allow you to change the style of your chair to fit the new decoration.

No matter what situations, furniture reupholstery can provide survival to an old recliner and help it look new one more time.

Thank you for following this post!

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