The Fast Way to Replace a Dining Chair Cushion

Learn to replace a dining chair cushion the quick, easy, and cheap way with this photo and video tutorial!

My father and aunts were kind enough to donate my late grandparents' dining set to my new home. The table is gorgeous, but I have some questions about these chairs.

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

Mainly, what on earth happened to the seat?? I imagine this chair came with a real cushion, but at some point in the past seventy-five years, my grandfather replaced it with a piece of 1/2" plywood covered in fabric. 

Since my grandfather was a pretty smart guy, and much better at DIY than I am, I'm going to assume he had a good reason for the switch. But given these are rather painful to sit on after about twenty minutes, I'm going to update them.

Now, a quick disclaimer before I start: like my couch reupholster, this is a cheater method. I needed a cushion on these chairs quickly and cheaply. This is not at all the proper way to replace a dining chair cushion, but it gets the job done.

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The Plan

I found these cheapo metal framed chairs ("hotel conference-style" is what I've deemed them in my head) at my local Habitat Restore for $1.50 each. 

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

The seat is not a perfect match, but very similar in size to my dining chairs. The general plan is to take the seat of these cheapo chairs, and transfer it onto my dining chairs. Since it's not the perfect size, I'll add some batting and pillow fluff in the corners to even everything out.

Materials
  • Dining Chairs to be updated
  • Thrifted Chair Seats
  • Batting
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Fabric - I used drop cloth scraps I had from other projects
  • Staples/Staple Gun - This was the first time I tried my new electric staple gun, and oh my goodness, it was the best thing ever. So much better than struggling to operate the mechanical gun.
  • Optional: Polyfil - I have a collection of pillow fluff that I've removed from thrifted pillows that I keep in a vacuum sealed bag. I used some in this project, but you could just as easily use extra batting if you don't have any polyfil around.
Step 1: Remove the Chair Seats

Both chair seats were held in by screws on the bottom of chairs. I flipped the chairs open, and using a drill driver, removed the screws. The seats popped right off.

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY
Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY
Step 2: Secure the Cushioned Seat to the Plywood Seat

I said above that this was the cheater method. I wasn't lying. If I wanted to do a good job, I would have A) cut a new, thicker base, and B) removed the cushion from the other seat, and secured it to my new base.

But that was a ton of work that I would have had to do four times, and I just wasn't that into this. So, I just glued the cushioned seat, as is, to the plywood piece using the spray adhesive.

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

Then I flipped the seat over and added screws to secure the plywood to the cushion. I used the screws that once held the cushioned seat to the metal frame, since I wasn't doing anything else with them.

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY
Step 3: Smooth Edges with Batting

Since my cushion wasn't a perfect fit, I grabbed some pillow fluff and batting to pad the edges.

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

My cushion was too small, but if yours is too large, you could remove the cushion from its base, and cut it down to size.

To secure the batting, I wrapped it around the cushion and stapled it in place with my staple gun. The electric staple gun makes a huge difference, friends!

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY
Step 4: Cover with New Fabric

I'm a big fan of drop cloths for pretty much everything except curtains. As a result, I have a ton of drop cloth scraps hanging out in my fabric scraps bin. Since these chair seats weren't very big, they were the perfect use for some of my larger scraps!

I wrapped the drop cloth around the chair seat and stapled it into place with my staple gun.

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

Don't overthink the corners. As long as they look neat, they'll be fine.

Step 5: Attach Chair Seat to Chair

Using the four screws that were originally securing the chair seat, re-secure the chair seat to the chair. Enjoy your new cushion!

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

I'm so pleased with how it turned out - the chairs are way more comfortable to sit on now!

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

I'm about to move, so I didn't want to make any major changes (like refinishing the wood) until I know what my new dining room will look like. But for now, this is the perfect compromise; comfy without much work!

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

If you found this post helpful, be sure to save it to Pinterst so you can find it again later! And if you replace a dining chair cushion on your own chairs, let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Replace a dining chair cushion the easy way with this complete tutorial! DIY, budget-friendly method doesn't require any tools to replace a chair seat, and each chair can be done in under 30 minutes. #upholstery #DIY

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