How to Reupholster a Recliner

How to Reupholster a Recliner

Recliners are popular seating options for family rooms because they are comfortable and casual. There is something so relaxing about putting your feet up in a soft, reclining chair. But you don’t have to trade style to get that feet-up comfort in your own home. If you have an old recliner that doesn’t fit your décor anymore, why not cover it in new fabric? We made a step-by-step video that will walk you through every detail so you can DIY reupholster your own recliner.

The recliner we’re recovering in the video was in really great shape but the fabric wasn’t working in the owner’s new home. A quick way to tell if a recliner is worth working on is to check the stability of the arms—are they loose or shaky? If they are only a little loose, you can tighten them, but if they are very wobbly, the chair may be beyond saving. Also make sure the reclining mechanism is still in good working order.

How to Reupholster a Recliner

When selecting a new fabric for your recliner, think about the pattern. We don’t recommend choosing a very linear pattern, like stripes or plaid, because of the chair’s many moving parts. It can be hard to line the pattern up along the chair and as you use your recliner the pieces might shift and make the piece look sloppy. We chose a large-scale paisley, P/Kaufmann fabric, because the paisley print won’t have to perfectly align.

Reupholstering a recliner is a little different from other armchairs because it will actually disassemble into smaller parts. You can remove the back from the frame and then the seat deck and footrest. Each piece is reupholstered and then reassembled.

In the video, you’ll learn how to disassemble the chair and remove the old fabric, how to sew and install piping, arm covers, the seat deck, and the attached back cushion.

To see the full materials list, visit and search (#200680XHT).

You’ll notice in the video that we didn’t cover how to sew the box cushion for the seat. We have a a separate video for this, which we’ll be sharing here on the blog on Friday. Be sure to check back!

Have you ever reupholstered a recliner? Share your advice and tips in the comments!

  1. Great post! I have two Lane recliners I picked up on Craigslist for $20 each that I want to reupholster for our basement. They are similar to this chair on Wayfair:

    I’m close to pulling the trigger on ordering the fabric but not sure whether I should get 6 or 7 yards per chair?

    Could you please share how many yards were required for the recliner featured in your post?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Nikki said:

      We used 7 yards of fabric for our chair, so I’d recommend going with 7 per chair for your project as well.

      • Thank you, Nikki! I’ve ordered my fabric and am anxious to get to work on our recliners. Appreciate you taking time to answer :)

  2. Maritza barrera said:

    I love the video I’m planing to do my mom favorite recliner the fabric is really bad, do you know the exact name for the part that I have to use to see the cording foam pipping?
    My machine is singer

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Maritza,

      If you’re referring to the cording foot for your sewing machine (the foot with the tunnel that sews piping) I unfortunately don’t know which one you would need for your Singer sewing machine. At Sailrite, we have feet for our Sailrite-brand machines, but not others. Sorry about that!

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