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Reupholster a Chair Cost

Reupholster a Chair Cost

National average
$350 - $500
(overstuffed chair, padded back and single cushion, mid-quality fabric, delivery to and from upholsterer)
Low: $40 - $100

(dining room chair, padded seat, single cushion, inexpensive fabric, self-transport to upholsterer)

High: $660 - $750

(recliner, high-end fabric with decorative nail-heads, delivery to and from upholsterer)

Cost to reupholster a chair varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from upholstery and sewing specialists in your city.

The average cost to reupholster a chair is $350.

In this guide

Pros and cons
Cost factors
Types of chairs
Materials
Labor
Maintenance
Replacing vs reupholstering a chair
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to reupholster a chair?

Reupholstering a chair gives you the opportunity to recycle a piece of furniture, while also stretching your creative muscles to make something new. The process involves removing and replacing the fabric, decorative trim, and stuffing, and can be done on everything from padded dining room chairs to overstuffed recliners.

The chair that you have in mind, the fabrics, and the finishes you choose all contribute to the cost of reupholstering your favorite chair. The average cost to reupholster a typical padded back, single cushion style, using around three yards of inexpensive fabric is $350, delivered to your door.

Pros and cons

When it comes to reupholstering a chair, consider the following pros and cons:

ProsCons

Costs less than new

Better for the environment

Updates style of the chair

Extends the chair’s useful life

Restores sentimental or vintage belongings

Can make the chair more comfortable

Takes time, typically a week

May have shorter life than new, depending on the materials used and condition of frame

Damaged frame might make reupholstering more complicated and expensive

Can be challenging


Cost factors

  • The style and size of the chair directly impact the cost of reupholstering; for instance, overstuffed and big chairs will take longer to reupholster and require more materials resulting in a higher cost. A wing-back chair may require 7 yards of fabric, while a padded dining chair may only use a partial yard.
  • The quality and type of fabric chosen for your upholstery project will also significantly contribute to the cost. For example, re-covering a dining chair with silk costs approximately $70 per yard, while covering the same chair with a nylon blend fabric costs around $5 per yard. You will need between one and five yards of fabric for a standard chair, and consider higher-end fabrics that offer things like stain resistance or eco-friendly, organic materials.
  • The condition of the chair’s frame also plays a role in the cost of reupholstering it. If the frame is rotted, broken, or water damaged, it will need to be repaired before upholstery can happen. This will significantly increase the time spent on the project and, subsequently, the cost, as a professional upholsterer fetches up to $120 per hour.
  • Sags, lumps, and bad springs will all need extra attention, and so will cost more to reupholster. If your chair feels like it is caving in when you sit down, you will likely need to work on the foundation and springs of your chair before it is upholstered. Also, tufting requires precise cutting and sewing, which will increase the time invested and the labor costs.
  • Another factor that plays into the overall cost of upholstering your chair is whether you need the chair picked up or delivered for upholstery services. Simple transportation of your chair can add another $50-$100 to the price, depending on where you live and how far you are from the upholsterer. Keep in mind that the national mileage reimbursement is around $0.58 per mile, plus time and labor to load and unload your chair
  • If your chair is skirted, that detail will take time and effort to replace or replicate, which also drives up the cost. Again, fabric plays a part in the final price.
  • Decorative trim, like nail heads, fringe, and braiding also add to the price of reupholstering your chair. Trim can cost an average of $10 per yard, and the amount needed depends on the chair; a dining room chair may use less than a yard, while a wing-back chair may need eight yards of braid or trim during upholstering.
  • The more cushions your chair has, the more it will cost to reupholster. It is estimated that it costs about $60-$80 each to reupholster one standard chair cushion, such as in a wing-back chair or a sofa. This price typically does not include replacement of the filling.

Types of chairs

It should come as no surprise that different types of chairs, their styling, and the ease of upholstery all come into play when figuring the price to reupholster. Intricate details can take more time and fabric to refurbish, which will increase the price that you pay the upholsterer. Which type of chair do you want to reupholster?

TypeFeaturesPrice
Straight-back or dining room chair

Single padded seat

Uses ½ yard fabric

Easy to upholster

$40-$100
Tub or barrel chair

Smaller, rounded, cushioned chair

Uses 2-4 yards fabric

Easy to upholster

$100-$220
Bergere

Padded back, single-cushion chair

Often vintage

Uses 2-3 yards of fabric

Easy to upholster

$200-$400
Slipper

Armless, cushioned

Side-chair

Uses 2-4 yards of fabric

Medium difficulty

$250-$350
Lawson armchair

Larger, cushioned chair

With arms, pillows and padded back

Uses 3-5 yards of fabric

Medium difficulty

$300-$350
Club chair

Modern, square-shape chair with one cushion

With arms and padded back

Uses 3-5 yards of fabric

Medium difficulty

$300-$400
Wing-back chair

Larger, overstuffed chair

Often with ornate framing and detailing

Uses 6-8 yards of fabric

High difficulty

$360-$500
Recliner

Overstuffed chair with more than one cushion

With internal mechanisms, and footrest

Uses 6-10 yards of fabric

High difficulty

$600-$660


Materials

When it comes to buying materials for reupholstering a chair, the width of upholstery fabric is typically 54”. The best way to measure and figure out a pattern is to remove the existing upholstery fabric, deconstruct the pieces, and use them as templates for measuring and cutting your new fabric. A straight-back or dining room chair will use very little fabric, and in fact, a yard will likely reupholster two of these types of chairs. Always measure the seat at the widest point.

When choosing your upholstery fabric, consider whether natural or synthetic fabrics make the most sense for your project.

Natural fabrics

Natural fabrics are made from plant-based or animal products; choose organic or recycled options when you have the opportunity:

  • Cotton. It is a popular and inexpensive choice at $10-$50 per yard. It is easy to clean and care for.
  • Linen blend. A quality linen blend is usually combined with cotton and it wrinkles less than regular linen, costing around $20 per yard.
  • Linen. It is strong and absorbent, and sometimes organic. Expect to pay around $25-$35 per yard.
  • Bamboo. It is organic, eco-friendly, and soft as butter, costing $30-$50 per yard.
  • Leather. It is a great choice for reupholstering chairs, starting at $40 per yard. It is durable, warm, and sophisticated. Suede is another option, too.
  • Silk. It costs as much as $70 per yard, but this soft, luxurious fabric is worth it.
  • Wool. It is highly coveted for upholstery fabric, but does require special care. It is not unusual to pay $100 per yard for imported wool upholstery fabric.

Synthetic fabrics

Synthetic fabric options are man-made and widely available:

  • Nylon. It is cheap and durable at $5 per yard, and not prone to tearing.
  • Polyester. It is easy to care for and durable, at $10-$50 per yard.
  • Olefin. It resists water and stains, making it a great option for outdoor furniture, around $20-$25 per yard.
  • Cotton-poly blends. They are strong and cost $30-$55 per yard.
  • Rayon. It resembles silk, but is often cheaper. It is strong and found for $40-$90 per yard.
  • Acrylic. This fabric is lightweight and warm, with characteristics of wool, for $50 per yard.
  • Vinyl. It is made from plastic, so it is very durable, with great commercial potential. Vinyl 1 is found for $60 per yard and up.

Labor

Labor averages $55 per hour, though it is not uncommon for a quality upholsterer to charge $100 per hour for their services in many regions. If the frame is deteriorated or damaged, the project may also require the skills of a carpenter, typically starting at $70 per hour. A chair may take only an hour to reupholster, like a single cushion chair, or as many as ten hours, like for a recliner. The upholsterer usually includes the disposal of materials in the price for their services.

Doing this DIY can cause a couple of problems: one, you will be responsible for disposing of the old fabric, stuffing, and parts, and second, you may find that your chair’s frame is significantly damaged. Do you have the tools and equipment to handle the repairs? Hiring a professional ensures a great result and a fine piece of furniture when they are done, and that the job is done swiftly.

Maintenance

Take care of your newly reupholstered chair and extend its life a bit longer with some simple tips. Use protective treatments for your fabric, like scotch-guarding, and products to protect the wooden surfaces of your chair from stains, scratches, tears, and other wear and tear. Ask you local hardware retailer for some protective stain and treatment product options. Make sure to reapply regularly for best results. Also, only use cleaning solvents made for the fabric that you have used to cover your chair. The wrong cleaners can be too harsh and damage the fabric.

Flip your chair cushions from time to time to keep wear consistent, if possible. Vacuum the chair well, but no more than once a week or you risk wearing down the fibers prematurely. Position your chair where it is out of direct sunlight, which can fade its surface. It is a good idea to have the chair professionally cleaned from time to time, it typically costs around $50-$80 to clean the upholstery of your chair. Deter pets from scratching or climbing on your reupholstered chair by investing in a dedicated scratching post.

Replacing vs reupholstering a chair

There are a lot of things to take into account when trying to decide between buying a new chair or reupholstering your current one. Does the chair have sentimental value? You really can’t replace those types of furnishings, so yes, reupholstering the chair makes the most sense.

It does merit consideration of the age and condition of the chair; could it be too old or too far gone to be worth the investment? When it comes down to it, reupholstering a chair is generally cheaper than buying new and much better for the environment than discarding to a landfill.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Decorative features

If you want to give your chair a distinctive or vintage feel, consider enhancing it with decorative touches, like buttons, nail-heads, or tufting, which will also increase costs. Depending on what you choose, you could spend between $10-$500 to adorn and embellish your chair. Tufting provides a more comfortable, overstuffed look and requires more labor. Tufting is at the higher end of the cost scale, while simply adding hammered nail heads is quick and easy, requiring less labor.

Replace padding

If you want to make the chair more comfortable, you will probably need to refill and replace the chair’s padding, which costs around $25. Brand-new foam pads for cushions cost around $40-$75 per cushion.

Repair frame

Don’t go to the trouble of reupholstering a chair if the frame is in rough condition. This ensures your reupholstered chair has a long life. If your upholsterer cannot make the repairs, you may need a carpenter at $70 per hour (or more), plus the cost of any materials like springs, joints, or straps.

Matching pillows

Coordinate some new pillows with your reupholstered chair. It is estimated that it takes an hour to upholster a pillow, so plan on spending $55-$100 for labor, plus the cost of fabric per pillow.

Additional considerations and costs

  • There is no reason why you can’t attempt to reupholster a chair yourself, but keep in mind that it does require special skills and equipment. When you figure in the cost of tools, supplies, and the time to study and learn, it often makes more sense to hire a professional to reupholster your chair.
  • Make sure to talk with your upholsterer before buying any fabric for your chair; some may offer incentives for buying fabric through them, such as discounted yardage. Others may not care where the fabric comes from, but make sure to buy plenty. If the upholsterer tells you the chair needs two-and-a-half yards, you should buy three just to be safe.
  • You will also need to figure out how to get the chair to and from the upholsterer’s shop. Some professionals may offer pick-up and delivery as part of their service, within a specified distance, and often charge a fee ranging from $1.50 per mile to a flat rate of $150. If you are responsible for transporting the chair, you may find that you need to rent a truck for the task.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to have dining room chairs upholstered?

It costs between $40 and $100, depending on the style, fabric choice, and condition of the dining chair’s frame.

  • How much do upholsterers charge per hour?

Upholsterers charge up to $100 per hour; typically, though, the national average is $55 per hour. Carpenters charge $70 per hour and up to repair damaged chair frames.

  • How much does it cost to re-cover a recliner?

It costs around $600 to re-cover a recliner, if there is no significant damage to the frame or mechanisms.

  • Is it worth it to reupholster a chair?

As long as it doesn’t require extensive work to the frame before reupholstering, it may be worth making the choice to reupholster a favorite chair.

  • How much does it cost to reupholster a chair?

It costs an average of $300 to reupholster a chair, though it can range between $40 and $660, depending on the type and condition of your chair.

  • How do you reupholster a chair corner?

For odd-shaped or complex projects, like a chair corner, it is best to work with a professional upholsterer. These experts have the tools and equipment necessary for the job to ensure the best results.

  • How do you cover a chair seat?

A simple seat can be covered by using the old cover as a template and cutting fabric to fit. It is typically secured with staples underneath the seat before reattaching to the chair’s frame. For more complicated upholstery projects, contact a professional.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Vinyl 1 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others

Cost to reupholster a chair varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Green armchair in a modern room decorated in white

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Ann Arbor, MI
+13%
Athens, GA
-9%
Attleboro, MA
+7%
Augusta, GA
-13%
Austin, TX
+13%
Boca Raton, FL
0%
Capitola, CA
+13%
Chatham, NJ
+44%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Davenport, IA
-4%
Dexter, MI
+7%
Emeryville, CA
+46%
Enumclaw, WA
-1%
Glendale, AZ
-2%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Midland, TX
-15%
Novi, MI
+37%
Opelousas, LA
-13%
Palmyra, PA
-16%
Pasadena, TX
+16%
Patchogue, NY
+17%
Paulding, OH
-28%
Peabody, MA
+19%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Portsmouth, VA
-2%
Princeton, NC
-22%
Salt Lake City, UT
-6%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Torrance, CA
+12%
Tyler, TX
-24%
Waterville, ME
-24%
Zimmerman, MN
-2%
Labor cost in your zip code
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Methodology and sources