Step-by-Step Guide on How To Reupholster A Recliner?

Is your recliner looking worn and outdated? Reupholstering your recliner is a great way to give it a fresh look without breaking the bank. Don’t worry if you’ve never reupholstered anything before as in this article, we will take you through the process of How To Reupholster A Recliner. So you can enjoy a stylish and comfortable piece of furniture you’ve personalized just for you.

Selecting the Right Fabric for Your Recliner:

When reupholstering your recliner, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is choosing the suitable fabric. The fabric you select will determine the overall look and feel of your recliner and its durability and ease of maintenance. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting the perfect fabric.

  • Selecting an upholstery fabric: First and foremost, you’ll want to opt for a fabric specifically designed for upholstery. These fabrics are specially crafted to withstand the rigors of everyday use and are typically thicker and more resistant to wear and tear.
  • Consider the color: Next, find the color that best complements your space. Are you looking to make a bold statement with a vibrant hue, or prefer a more subtle, neutral tone? Consider the existing color scheme and decor of your room to ensure that your recliner smoothly blends in or stands out in a way that enhances the overall aesthetic.
  • Patterns of the fabric: Remember that patterns can add visual interest and personality to your recliner, but be mindful of how they will coordinate with other patterns in the room.
  • Fabric’s texture: the texture of the fabric is another crucial aspect to consider. The surface can significantly impact the overall look and feel of your recliner. If you aim for a more casual and relaxed vibe, lean towards a woven or textured fabric that adds depth and visual appeal. On the other hand, if you prefer a sleek and sophisticated look, a smooth fabric with a subtle sheen might be more suitable for your recliner.
  • Cleanability of the fabric: It’s also worth mentioning that different fabrics have varying levels of cleanability. If you anticipate spills, you’ll want to choose a fabric that is easy to clean and maintain. Look for stain-resistant materials or a protective finish that repels liquids.
  • Fabric’s comfort level: Lastly, consider your preferences and lifestyle when selecting a fabric. Consider how you plan to use your recliner and your desired comfort level. Some materials may feel softer and more plush, while others may have a firmer texture. Take the time to test different fabric samples to see which feels the most comfortable and suits your needs.

By considering factors such as durability, color, pattern, texture, cleanability, and personal preferences, you can ensure that your recliner looks great and stands up for everyday use. So, take your time, investigate different options, and select a fabric that will transform your recliner into a stylish, comfortable piece of furniture you’ll love for years.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Reupholster A Recliner:

When giving your recliner a fresh new look, the first step is to remove the old upholstery. This process requires patience and attention to detail, ensuring you don’t damage any underlying components. Let’s look into the step-by-step process of removing the old upholstery from your recliner.

Before you begin, gather all the necessary tools for this task. You’ll need a screwdriver, pliers, a staple remover, and a keen eye for detail. Once you have everything ready, let’s get started.

Step 1: Locate and Remove Fasteners

Start by carefully examining your recliner for any screws or staples that are holding the old fabric in place. These fasteners can be found on the recliner’s back, sides, and bottom. Use your screwdriver to remove any screws, and your pliers or staple remover to extract any staples.

As you remove each fastener, note how the old upholstery was attached. This observation will come in handy when it’s time to secure the new fabric later on. Keep the removed screws and staples in a safe place, as you may need them for reference or for securing the new upholstery.

Step 2: Gently Peel Away the Old Fabric

With the fasteners removed, it’s time to peel away the old fabric. Start at one corner and slowly work your way around the recliner. Take extra care not to tear or damage the underlying padding as you remove the fabric.

If you encounter any stubborn areas where the fabric is tightly secured, use your pliers or staple remover to loosen them gently. Take your time and patience, as rushing this step can lead to unnecessary damage.

Step 3: Get the Measurements 

Now, armed with a measuring tape, it’s time to determine the dimensions of each piece you’ll need to cut for your recliner. Start by measuring the seat, ensuring you accurately capture the length, width, and depth. Next, move on to the backrest, estimating its height and width. Remember to measure the arms and footrest, which require fabric coverage.

Step 4: Mark the Measurements

Once you have obtained the measurements, it’s crucial to transfer them to your new fabric accurately. To do this, lay the material flat and use a fabric pencil or a tailor’s chalk to mark the dimensions. Adding a few extra inches to each piece is advisable for proper coverage and a snug fit.

Step 5: Cutting the Fabric 

Using a pair of fabric shears, carefully cut along the marked lines. Take your time with this step to ensure accuracy and prevent unnecessary mistakes. Remember, it’s always better to cut slightly larger pieces than needed, as you can always trim them down later.

Step 6: Labelling the Pieces 

As you cut each piece, it’s a good idea to label them accordingly. This will help you stay organised and ensure that you know which piece goes where during the upholstery process.

Once you have finished cutting all the fabric pieces, take a moment to admire your work. You are one step closer to transforming your recliner into a stylish, comfortable piece of furniture that reflects your taste.

Step 7: Inspect and Repair the Padding

After having removed the old upholstery, take the opportunity to inspect the condition of the padding underneath. Look for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. If you notice any issues, such as sagging or worn-out padding, now is the time to address them.

Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to replace the padding entirely or simply make some repairs. This step is crucial for ensuring your recliner looks excellent and provides your desired comfort and support.

Once you have inspected the padding, stay tuned for the upcoming section on preparing and attaching the new fabric securely to your recliner.

Guide on Applying Adhesive and Stapling the New Fabric:

Now that your recliner is free of its old upholstery, it’s time to attach the new fabric. Applying adhesive to the recliner’s seat, back, arms and footrests is essential in ensuring a secure and long-lasting upholstery job. The fabric adhesive acts as a bonding agent, helping to keep the fabric in place as you work.

  • Align the fabric: When draping the new fabric over the recliner, it’s crucial to align it with the edges for a professional finish. Take your time to smooth out any wrinkles or creases, ensuring a snug fit that will enhance the overall appearance of the recliner. 
  • Use a staple gun: Starting from the recliner’s centre, use a staple gun to secure the fabric. The staple gun allows for quick and efficient attachment, ensuring the material remains in place. As you work outward, staple every few inches, maintaining an even distribution. This technique will ensure a smooth and professional look.
  • Attach the buttons: If your recliner has upholstered buttons, now is the perfect time to reattach them. These buttons add a touch of elegance and sophistication to the overall design. Simply poke them through the fabric at their original locations and secure them on the back using a needle and thread or hot glue. This step requires precision and patience, as you want to ensure that the buttons are securely fastened and aligned correctly.

By following these steps and paying attention to the details, you can transform your recliner into a stunning piece of furniture that reflects your style. The combination of adhesive, stapling, and button reattachment will result in a beautifully upholstered, visually appealing, and comfortable recliner.

Finishing the Recliner with a Skirt or Piping:

Alternatively, add piping to your recliner for a more customised look. Piping is a decorative trim that adds definition and structure to the edges of the recliner. 

  • Cut narrow strips: To create piping, start by cutting narrow strips of fabric and folding them half lengthwise.
  • Position the strips along the edge: Once you have your fabric strips ready, place the folded edge along the edges of the recliner, sandwiching it between the fabric layers. This will create a neat and finished look. Use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to secure the piping or opt for fabric adhesive and staples.
  • Sew along the edge: If you choose to sew the piping, attach the zipper foot to your sewing machine and position it so that the needle is close to the folded edge of the fabric strip. Sew along the entire length of the piping, making sure to stitch as close to the edge as possible. This will ensure the piping is securely attached and adds a professional touch to your recliner.
  • Alternative to sewing: If sewing is not your preferred method, you can use fabric adhesive and staples to secure the piping. Apply a thin line of fabric adhesive along the edges of the recliner, then carefully press the folded edge of the fabric strip onto the adhesive. Use a staple gun to secure the piping at regular intervals to reinforce the attachment.

With a little effort and attention to following these steps, you can create a recliner that is not only comfortable but also visually appealing.

Tips for Protecting and Caring for Your Recliner:

After reupholstering your recliner, protecting and maintaining its newfound beauty is important. Start by applying a fabric protector to guard against spills and stains. Regularly vacuum your recliner to remove any dust or debris that may accumulate. Blot any spills immediately to prevent them from setting into the fabric.

Consider rotating the seat and back cushions regularly to ensure even wear. This will help extend the life of your upholstery. If necessary, spot-clean any stains using a mild detergent and a damp cloth, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Customising Your Recliner to Fit Your Style:

Reupholstering your recliner presents an excellent opportunity to customise it according to your style. Add decorative throw pillows or cushions that match your decor. Consider coordinating window treatments or area rugs to create a cohesive look in your space.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can experiment with different fabric patterns or textures for a unique and eye-catching design. Get creative and tailor your recliner to reflect your taste and personality.

Finding Professional Help to Reupholster Your Recliner:

Reupholstering a recliner can be challenging, especially if you’re new to upholstery. If you need more time and resources to tackle them, consider seeking professional help. Upholstery experts have the knowledge and experience to handle even the most complex recliner reupholstering projects. They can provide advice, quality materials, and skilful craftsmanship to ensure a fantastic result.

Creating a Recliner That Will Last for Years:

Reupholstering your recliner offers an opportunity to strengthen its durability and functionality. Take the time to reinforce weak areas, replace worn-out springs or foam, and tighten loose screws or joints. By addressing these issues during the re-upholstering process, you can enjoy a recliner that is not only visually appealing but also built to last for years to come.


Reupholstering a recliner can be a rewarding and satisfying project. Following the step-by-step guide, you can transform your old and tired recliner into a stylish and comfortable piece of furniture. Whether you take on the challenge yourself or seek professional assistance, the result will be a recliner that reflects your style and provides years of enjoyment.


Can I reupholster a recliner with leather?

Yes, you can reupholster a recliner with leather. However, working with leather requires additional skills and tools. It’s recommended to seek professional assistance if you need to become more experienced with leather upholstery.

How long does it take to reupholster a recliner?

The time it takes to reupholster a recliner can vary depending on the complexity of the project and your level of experience. On average, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week to complete the process.

Can I use a different fabric for the seat and back of the recliner?

Absolutely! Mixing different fabrics can add visual interest and personality to your recliner. Make sure the materials you choose complement each other and fit your overall design scheme.

How much fabric do I need to reupholster a recliner?

The amount of fabric you’ll need depends on the size of your recliner and the fabric’s width. Measure each piece of your recliner and add extra inches for allowances. Consult with the fabric store or your upholstery professional to determine the required yardage.

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