How to Reupholster a Recliner?

A recliner is an excellent place for you to relax and unwind. It is a piece of furniture that can last for decades. Many people don’t want to buy a new one because the old one is so cozy and full of happy memories. However, the old recliner may not fit your home décor, and the tear and wear make the chair looks unpleasing for guests. 

If you want to make the chair look better without getting a new one, the best solution is to reupholstery the recliner!

Don’t know how to reupholster a recliner in the right way? We will provide you with a complete guide in this post.

Can you reupholster a recliner chair on your own?

Technically, yes.

Reupholstering a recliner is not a piece of cake, and it would take some time. You need to take apart the recliner, rip off the old fabric, sew and glue the new fabric, and then assemble the chair again.

Every step may cost you some time, but if you are patient and willing to learn, you can get it done well. 

Materials you need

1. Fabric. If it is your first-time reupholstery piece of furniture, we advise you to choose the fabric with a block color or a paisley pattern. Try to avoid the strips or the plaid patterns because it is tough to line up the pattern as there are a lot of parts in a recliner. Using a block color would make your job much easier.

2. Staple remover. Many manufacturers use staples to attach the fabric to the framework. In order to take off the old fabric, you have to prepare an easy-to-use staple remover.

3. Seam ripper. The sewing of a recliner is usually solid. A seam ripper could boost the process whist you ripping off the old fabric.

4. Staple gun. When you replace it with a new fabric, a staple gun will help you secure the fabric.

5. A heavy-duty scissors. You will need it to cut off the fabric to match each part of your chair.

6. Glue stick and a hot glue gun. You need a glue gun to attach the fabric to the cardboard. It is also used to make sure the material can keep in place.

7. Covered button kit. You will use it to wrap the buttons, making it blend seamlessly with the whole chair.

8. Thread and upholstery needles. You will sew the fabric, and the wax-coated tread and upholstery needle could make the sewing process quicker and easier.

9. Screwdriver. You will need it when you disassemble the chair.

10. Measuring tape. You have to know the dimension of each part of the recliner while tailoring the upholstery.  

How much fabric do you need to reupholster a recliner?

measure the recliner
Measure the recliner

In general, a typical recliner will use 8-12 yard fabric. In order to get more accurate data, you would better measure your chair. 

You can measure the length and width of each part but remember to add some area for tucking and seaming.

To prepare more in case you have to make some modifications. 

Reupholster recliner: a step-by-step guide

Now we will show you the actional guide to help you reupholster the chair successfully.

Step 1: Dismantle the recliner

We have posted a guide about taking apart a lazy boy recliner. You can follow the guide to get the job done. Even if you have a chair from other brands, there is not a big difference. 

The first step is to rotate the levers between the base and back upward and push the chair upward back.

After taking off the chair back, you have to flip over the base and loosen the screws on the bracket. 

Then you can turn the base over and then remove the seat cushion. After that, you can disassemble the armrests.

Now, every part has been taken apart, and you can take off the fabric pieces one by one.

Remember to take some pictures as you disassemble the chair. It will boost the assembly later.

Step 2: Cut out the fabric 

upholstery fabric
Upholstery fabric

We already know the dimensions of each part before buying fabrics. We can also use the old fabrics as a reference. 

Use the scissor to cut out the pieces of fabric, and always remember to have some extra space for seam allowances.

It is better to iron the fabric before reupholstering, which makes the chair looks more fitting. To ensure the fabric could stay in place, spread a layer of glue to the recliner. 

Step 3: Staple, sew and glue the fabric

staple the recliner
Staple the recliner

For securing the fabric, you can use a staple gun, an upholstery needle, or a hot glue gun. You can staple the fabric in most places. Or, if you like, you can stitch the upholstery fabric to the chair.

You have to use the glue at some specific places. If that is the case, use a hot glue gun.

The hardest part in reupholstering is to wrap the button with the fabric. If you have no idea about it, get yourself a covered button kit. 

Step 4: Put the parts back

Look at the pictures you have taken while disassembling the recliner and then reverse engineer the process.

How much does it cost to reupholster a recliner?

The cost to reupholster a recliner depends on how much fabric you need and which kind of fabric you like.

For a small recliner, the cost is about $100 to $400. For a regular recliner, the charge is about $100 to $500. If you prefer genuine leather upholstery, the cost would be more than $1000. 

If you plan to replace it with a high-priced material, we suggest hiring a pro to do it for you. Yes, it could be more expensive, you are likely get a more comfortable and good looking recliner.

Wrapping up

As we said, reupholstering a recliner chair is challenging, but it is not something unachievable. We laid out the most essential steps to let you how to reupholster a recliner correctly. 

It would take hours so you have to be patient. Here is a great video to show you how exactly to do it. 

Photo of author
Rachelle is the founder of Best Chair Finder. She is a fanatic of home improvement, and as an engineer, she knows well about each chair's mechanism. You can find her story on the About page.