Re-Cover Dining Room Seats for a Patio


It’s amazing how something as small as a seat cushion can change the look of your whole dining set. As a part of our outdoor dining area makeover, we sanded and refinished the wood on an old dining table and chairs to give them new life. The seats on these chairs had seen better days, too, so we decided to recover them and we’re going to share the process with you! Re-covering seat covers is a great beginner-lever upholstery project. Let’s take a look at how to re-cover dining chair seats and how to add a moisture barrier to the foam.

Even though our chairs are under a covered porch, we wanted to add some moisture blocking elements to protect the foam. On the cushion’s interior, we took the extra step to add a layer of Cushion Wrap Silk Foam around the foam. If your cushion has batting and foam, the silk film would be placed on top of both of those layers. For the exterior, we covered the cushions with a Sunbrella® Upholstery fabric, which is water, mildew, stain and UV resistant.


Chair before


If you are using a decorative fabric with a pattern, you’ll want to take care to line up the pattern in the same way on all of your chairs. Select an element of the fabric pattern that you want to be centered on the chair, and lay out your fabric accordingly. If using stripes, choose a center stripe and then make sure it is straight on the seat before stapling.

You can use the upholstery principles from this project for chairs of the same style inside your home too. For interior use, the silk film is optional; you can leave it out or add it for protection against spills.

For the full video tutorial and materials list, visit


Completed seat


You can find all the materials and tools to recover your own dining chair seats at

Have you ever re-covered seat cushions before? What advice would you have for the process? Share your experiences in the comments!

  1. Virginia Duppenthaler said:

    I am inspired by the use of antique wood furniture with Sunbrella covered seats on a covered porch. I have 12 oak chairs from Denmark that I am pretty sure are 100 years old. My kids do not want this dining room suite and if I could use the set on a covered porch they would have a future. Please explain how you best to protect hardwood Furniture so they can withstand the NW moisture on a covered deck. What wood preservative do you recommend?
    Again, Thank you very much for inspiration!
    PS- using silk plastic underneath cushions is so much better than the way I used to hold the foam down with plastic bags.

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Virginia,

      We’re not experts on treating furniture, so you might want to get suggestions from a local hardware store to be sure your antiques are well protected. In our case, we sanded the table and chairs and cleaned any old varnish with steel wool. Then we used Spar Varnish for the toughest outdoor finish. The table top got about 7 coats total.

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