How To Reupholster A Recliner: A Step By Step Guide

by Andrew Smith| Last Updated: March 21, 2021

Disclosure: This site is reader-supported & contains affiliate links. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more

Have you been thinking of disposing of your recliner because it’s old, sagging, a little worn out, or it just doesn’t match your house décor anymore?

Please don’t get rid of it yet. You can breathe cozy life into it again with the new material of your choice. The best part is that you don’t need furniture craftsmanship or to be huge on DIY to do the revamp.

Besides, this article will teach you how to reupholster a recliner with an easy-to-follow guide. All you need is enough patience and time.

Before we learn how to reupholster a recliner, let’s look at a few basic requirements. We’ll also learn a few tips that will help make your project a success.

Tools That You Will Require

To successfully reupholster your recliner, you will need a few tools. They will make the whole process easy. They include

  • A pair of heavy-duty scissors
  • A seam ripper
  • Reupholstering staple gun (go for an electric one if you are solo)
  • Staples
  • Thread? Needle
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tack remover
  • Upholstery needles
  • Straight pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Covered button kit
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Wax coated thread

I know! It’s quite a long list but trust me. You’ll need every one of the above tools.

One more thing that you’ll need is time. I can’t overemphasize this. Reupholstering a recliner isn’t an easy process or something that can be done hastily. You, therefore, need to set some time apart for the whole process.

Quick Tips

  • Take pictures during each step of disassembling. They will help you a great deal to assemble back your recliner.
  • Ensure that your material is enough material before you start upholstering. You’d better have too much material than less. Most recliners use 8-12 yards.
  • When cutting the material, add a few extra inches for seaming and tucking.
  • When using your seat’s fabric as a cutting pattern, remember to label all the fabrics. They’ll make identification easy during re-assembly.
  • Add batting over your replacement foam. It adds stability to your upholstery fabric and also helps the fabric to stay in place.
  • Avoid materials with linear patterns such as stripes and plaids. They are hard to realign when the recliner parts shift, making your project look sloppy. Go for larger prints as they need less alignment.

Step by Step Reupholstery Guide

1. Remove the main pieces of the recliner

Start by detaching the back from its base while the recliner is in an upright position. Then, flip the recliner upside up and use a screwdriver to unscrew off the seat cushion.

Change the seat to a vertical position and unbolt the armrests first, then the footrest. Voila! You did it. Congratulations!

2. Remove the old material.

Removing the material is optional. You can upholster the new material on top of the old one. However, you risk having some annoying lines or creases on your recliner.

Removing the old material will give you a smooth finish at the end of the upholstery. Also, the old fabrics make perfect patterns for cutting the new fabric.

3. Cut the new fabric

Using a pair of scissors, carefully cut the new fabric. Remember to add a few extra inches for tucking and seaming. If the extra material is too long, you will cut it off later.

4. Iron the cutouts

Before you start stitching, iron the newly cutout fabrics. This will make stitching much easier and give you a neat look.

5. Pin the fabric

Keep the material in place using the straight pins before you commence stitching. Further, outline the edges evenly by folding the edges.

6. Staple the fabric

Stable your fabric starting from the middle of the frame. While you are at it, make sure that the material is as tight as possible. You may use the adjustable wrenches to help make the material as taut as possible.

7. If you can’t staple, glue it

Recliners have some cardboard parts. Meaning, the stapler will not work on those parts. Re-cover such parts with fabric using a hot glue gun. Basically, glue gun any part that a staple cant do.

8. Wrap the buttons

Wrap your chosen buttons by following the instructions given on the button kit package.

9. Sew back the buttons

Using an upholstery needle and wax-coated button thread, sew the buttons back to the seat. The wax-coated thread is preferred because it’s strong enough not to break even after pulling and tagging.

10. Reassemble the chair

Put back the parts and pieces of your recliner together. If you can’t remember how to, refer back to the pictures I asked you to take during disassembly and reverse engineer.

There! Your chair is as good as new.

Parting Shot

reupholstering your recliner will make it look and feel comfortable, but it adds to it can also help you change the seat’s color to match your current house décor. We hope our step-by-step guide has helped you to revamp your recliner.