Stylish Recycling the Interior ReDesigner Way

New From Old the Thrifty Way to a New Set of Dining Chairs

Seat pads after

New from Old – the interior redesigner way

One of the things that makes interior redesign more affordable than the usual start from scratch interior design –  is the way we use items our clients already have by recycling and updating tired and dated furniture and accessories.

Here we have a set of dining chairs that let the side down by being badly stained from years of use. Instead of buying a brand new dining set I looked at recovering the seat pads in an up-to-the-minute retro design. It took a metre of patterned fabric plus one metre of plain glazed cotton lining fabric. The fabric for the whole set cost under £3 and about an hour and a half labour.

TIP: Look out for curtain and furnishing fabric sales for some real bargains.

Here’s how I did it.

Seat pad and tools

Some of the tools needed

First the old seat pad covers had to be carefully removed. All four pads had an incredible number of staples to remove plus I would need to make a pattern for the new set and staple them in place.  So I made sure I had all the right tools for the job before starting including:

  1. a staple remover
  2. staple gun
  3. staples
  4. hammer
  5. steel rule
  6. pen
  7. dressmakers shears
  8. long nosed pliars
Top and bottom layers

Four top layers of fabric and four bottom layers needed to be cut

Once the old covers were safely removed it was time to cut the fabric for the new covers. I was going to use the original cover as a pattern but over the years it had moulded itself to the contours of the seatpad and proved impossible to flatten enough to be able to cut with any accuracy. The base cover proved a better bet,  all I had to do was remember to cut a 3″ allowance all round. Four pieces each had to be cut from both the top fabric and the lining fabric – by the way the reason I decided to line the pads first is because it gives a much more professional finish.

New cover in place

The newly refurbished seat pad is ready to be replaced on the seat base

To get a smooth finish on the seats you must make sure that the first staples count. This means stapling the cover fabric to the seat pad base by putting in the first four staples at strategic points – one each at the centre point on opposite sides of the seat pad and one each at the centre point on the top and bottom of the seat pads. That secures the fabric in place at the correct tension so that you can staple the rest of the new cover in place, always making certain to pull it tight and smooth before placing the staple. When the base fabric has been attached it is time to go through the whole procedure again and attach the top fabric all the time checking to make sure everything is smooth and tight.

Dining Chair Pad completed

One down three to go!

The final job is to screw the finished seat pad back onto the chair base. One down three to go!

For the full How To Tutorial on covering seat pads view my How To tutorial of Simple Upholstery Video on YouTube

I hope you have enjoyed this post and it has encouraged you to have a go yourself at some recycling, upcycling reusing well-loved furniture and saving  money at the same time.


The first step to any interior redesign or home staging problem is to evaluate and be objective.

Have a great home staging day

Rhonda’s Tip for Today is brought to you direct from the desk of Rhonda Deal – Interior ReDesigner and Home Stager. Rhonda is available as a speaker, teaches and provides consulting services B2B and private residential clients who want to improve their work/living space

You can find out more about what Rhonda has to offer at

Please feel free to reprint Rhonda’s Tips. All I ask is that you reproduce the whole article including the by line with all contact details.

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