Master this quick, simple fix for furniture in need of an update.

Some of the best bargains at flea markets, antique stores, consignment stores, and junk stores are gems that simply need a quick fabric facelift. For some pieces, like simple chairs, this can be an easy at-home fix–no expensive trip to the upholsterer required. Master the basic ideas of DIY upholstery with this step-by-step example on some classic chairs.

Make sure you have a DIY-able piece.

Simple ladder-back style chairs are a great choice, as the seats come apart easily and you will only need a small amount of fabric.

Gather all your tools.

For this project you’ll need a screwdriver, staple ripper, measuring tape, fabric scissors, batting, new upholstery fabric, and staple gun.

Take it apart.

Turn the chair over, and unscrew the seat. Be sure to hang on to the screws. 

Remove old fabric.

Use the staple ripper to remove the old staples. Removing the fabric instead of simply applying the new fabric on top will make for a cleaner seam when you apply the new fabric and ensure the seat fits back onto the chair properly.

Check the cushioning.

Once you have the old fabric off, check the old cushioning. You may be able to use it, but if it’s too worn in and beat up, go ahead and replace. You’ll want to cut a new piece of padding that is about half an inch wider on all sides than the seat itself, so that when you wrap the fabric, the edges are totally covered.

Measure the amount you’ll need.

Mark off the amount of fabric you’ll need to entirely cover the top of the seat and then wrap around to the other side. This should be the dimensions of the seat plus a few inches on either side to staple down.

Wrap with fabric.

Pull the fabric taut around the seat, stapling down at the center of each side to anchor it. Check to make sure it is centered and taut. If it is not as taut as you’d like, simply use the staple ripper to pull up the staple and reposition. Once the center staple on each side feels appropriately taut, then add a few more staples to each side. Wrap the corners the way you would a gift.

Put it all back together!

Re-screw your newly recovered seat back onto the chair and kick back.