How Much Does it Cost to Reupholster a Chair?
Is your favorite chair looking old and tired? The cost to reupholster a chair ranges from $50 to $2,000, with the national average at $800.
- The typical cost range to reupholster a chair is $50 to $2,000, with many customers paying an average of $800 nationally.
- Some of the factors that affect the cost to reupholster a chair include the type of chair, the type and amount of fabric used, and the cost for labor and transportation.
- The benefits of reupholstering a chair include sustainability, cost-effectiveness, antique restoration, and customization options.
- A confident DIYer may be able to complete a basic chair reupholstering project, but larger projects that require a lot of fabric or involve an antique chair are typically best left to a professional.
Over the years, chair fabric and upholstery can look tired and worn out from being dirty, faded, ripped, or stained. Reupholstering chairs is an excellent alternative to buying new furniture. Even though the cost of some reupholstering jobs can be equal to or more expensive than the cost of a new chair, saving furniture from ending up in a landfill is worth it to many people. From a comfy living room armchair to a priceless antique to the newly found chair from the thrift store, just about any chair can be reupholstered. According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, the cost to reupholster a chair ranges from $50 to $2,000, with the national average at $800. Labor to reupholster chairs runs from $40 to $100 per hour, and the reupholstery fabric can cost between $50 and $70 per yard, on average.
Chair reupholstery pricing depends on the type, size, and style of the chair. Larger chairs with ample padding will cost more to reupholster than smaller ones with minimal fabric. Since the process of seat reupholstering involves removing and replacing the decorative trim, fabric, and padding, chairs that have a complex design that are more difficult to work on will come with higher labor costs. Personalizing an old chair to match a room’s decor or updating outdated fabric can give it new life and make it look revitalized and modern. This guide will examine the important factors that influence the cost to reupholster chair seats, backs, and cushions; additional costs and considerations that can change the price of the reupholstering project; and reupholstering costs by type of chair. It will also discuss the benefits of reupholstering a chair and some frequently asked questions about the chair reupholstering process.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Reupholster a Chair
While many people spend between $50 and $2,000 to reupholster a chair, the overall price can vary from the national average due to a few important factors. These can include the chair and fabric type, the amount of fabric needed, local labor prices, and transportation fees.
The type of chair or chair cushion that needs to be reupholstered directly impacts the overall cost. Chairs that have intricate details or a complex design will take more time and effort to reupholster. Some chair types that are commonly reupholstered include an armchair, bergère chair, dining chair, leather chair, office chair, Parsons chair, recliner, and wingback chair. Each of these chairs and many more are discussed in a section below.
The type of fabric used to reupholster chair seats, backs, and cushions will directly influence the final price. Below are the most common types of fabric and materials for reupholstering chairs and their average prices.
|Fabric Type||Average Price (Per Yard)|
|Acrylic||$40 to $70|
|Bamboo||$20 to $50|
|Cotton||$5 to $20|
|Cotton blend||$25 to $50|
|Denim||$20 to $50|
|Faux leather||$10 to $20|
|Faux suede||$10 to $25|
|Leather||$40 to $60|
|Linen||$20 to $35|
|Linen blend||$10 to $30|
|Mohair||$20 to $80|
|Nylon||$7 to $15|
|Polyester||$10 to $45|
|Rayon||$40 to $90|
|Silk||$60 to $80|
|Suede||$20 to $40|
|Twill||$30 to $60|
|Velvet||$50 to $70|
|Wool||$60 to $100|
- Using natural fabric to reupholster a chair. The best type of natural fabric used to reupholster a chair depends on the chair’s intended use and specific needs of the chair owner. There is a wide range of natural fabrics to choose from, including cotton, cotton blends, linen, linen blends, silk, denim, bamboo, wool, wool blends, leather, suede, and mohair. Some materials, such as silk, wool, and leather, are typically more expensive, and some may require attention from a professional who knows how to clean upholstery and appropriately handle such delicate fabrics. Cotton and cotton blend fabrics are popular since they’re easy to maintain and durable. Natural fabrics are breathable and typically easy to care for; these can be major benefits for people who live in warm and humid climates.
- Using synthetic fabric to reupholster a chair. There are many different types of synthetic fabrics that can be used when reupholstering a chair. These can include polyester, acrylic, vinyl, olefin, nylon, and faux leather. Some synthetic fabrics are considered budget-friendly and extremely durable, such as polyester, but it can be prone to unsightly pilling. Acrylic fabrics may not be as durable as polyester options, but acrylic materials are shrink- and wrinkle-resistant and offer significant color retention. Vinyl fabric can be a top choice for those looking to reupholster a chair that sees a lot of use in high-traffic areas, such as dining rooms and kitchens. Synthetic fabrics have many benefits, such as stain resistance, durability, and longevity, and they can look newer for longer. Below are some additional types of synthetic fabrics and their average price ranges.
|Synthetic Fabric Type||Average Price (Per Yard)|
|Chenille||$20 to $45|
|Crypton||$20 to $40|
|Olefin||$15 to $35|
|Sunbrella||$25 to $45|
Chairs typically need between 1 and 10 yards of fabric, depending on the type, style, and size of the chair. Reupholstery materials typically run from $50 to $70 per yard. Some chair styles need more fabric and materials than others. For example, a wingback chair or a living room recliner needs between 6 and 10 yards, a tub chair uses 2 to 4 yards, and a dining room chair can need as little as a half a yard.
An upholstery professional usually charges between $40 and $100 per hour for labor, depending on the chair type and the level of difficulty required for reupholstering.
If the chair is too large to fit into a car to make the drive to the reupholsterer and it needs to be transported to and from the shop, a transportation fee will be added to the total. Depending on the size of the chair, having it professionally moved can cost from $100 to $300.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for the cost to reupholster a chair, many people will find that there are additional price factors and considerations that can change the project total, including the price difference between reupholstering a chair versus buying a new one. Other additional costs can include upholstery or structural repairs, padding replacement, and restoration of antique chairs, among others.
Reupholstering a Chair vs. Buying New
For antique or high-end furniture, it’s typically worth it to reupholster a couch or a chair. The same goes for a chair that is a family heirloom and has sentimental value, although it’s common for a reupholstery project to cost more than the cost of a new piece of furniture. For those who have a limited budget, it might be worth it to buy a new chair that is within their price range. If a chair has a sturdy frame and needs limited or no additional repairs, it’s typically an excellent candidate for reupholstery. Reupholstering a chair that needs 9 or more yards of fabric will usually cost more than buying a new one. If the chair that needs attention is the seating option of choice, or if it needs to be upholstered and returned as soon as possible, buying a new chair might be the best option, since reupholstery projects can take some time.
Upholstery or Structural Repairs
Chair repair costs can range from $100 to $500, with many people spending $214 on average. Some regular repairs include fabric cleaning, frame refinishing, and spring and padding replacement. Below is an upholstery price guide for common furniture repair costs.
|Furniture Repair||Average Cost Range (Per Item)|
|Stripping, sanding, and refinishing chair frames||$130 to $180|
|Tying seat springs for living room chairs||$90 to $130|
|Regluing dining room or kitchen chairs||$100 to $140|
|Stripping, sanding, and refinishing wingback chairs||$125 to $200|
|Retying seat springs for wingback chairs||$200 to $300|
|Replacing old cushion stuffing with goose down||$30 per pound/$150 per cushion|
|Replacing old cushion stuffing with foam||$40 to $50 each|
When a chair’s padding is worn out and flattened, it’s time for a replacement. The cost to replace the padding in a chair can cost about $25, and the cost of two new foam seat pads can range from $40 to $75 per cushion.
Antique Chair Restoration
Antique chair upholstery can look unsightly from years of use, and getting the chair reupholstered can save it from ending up in a landfill. Since it takes extra time and care to restore antique furniture, the project will result in higher labor costs. Investing in reupholstery is worth the cost to keep the chair in good condition for many years to come.
Professional upholsterers may offer additional services and enhancements when reupholstering a couch or chair. Customers can choose from adding decorative trim, replacing broken woven cane, replacing seat and cushion padding, cleaning upholstery, replacing buttons and other embellishments, and making structural repairs. How much each additional service costs depends on the extent of the repair, the time required to complete the project, and the type of chair.
Reupholstering Costs by Type of Chair
The cost to reupholster a chair hinges on the chair type. Larger chairs that need more fabric will be more expensive to reupholster than smaller chairs with less padding. Labor prices will increase if the chair type is more difficult and complex to reupholster or repair or if it has intricate details. Below are common chair types and the average price range for reupholstering.
|Type of Chair||Average Price Range to Reupholster|
|Armchair||$800 to $1,500|
|Barstool||$50 to $500|
|Bergère chair||$200 to $450|
|Club chair||$280 to $900|
|Dining chair||$50 to $250|
|Footstool||$70 to $500|
|Leather chair||$800 to $2,000|
|Office chair||$200 to $700|
|Parsons chair||$150 to $500|
|Recliner||$400 to $1,500|
|Slipper chair||$250 to $400|
|Tub or barrel chair||$400 to $800|
|Wingback chair||$1,000 to $2,000|
Armchairs are available in many different sizes, styles, and shapes. The larger the armchair, the more expensive it is to reupholster. If the armchair has roll arms, pillow tops, and cushions, it will require more fabric and increase the overall price. Depending on the size, an armchair typically needs between 3 and 5 yards of fabric and will take more time to reupholster than the average dining room chair. The padding and the curved shape of an armchair make this reupholstering project about medium difficulty and will cost between $800 and $1,500.
Reupholstering a bar stool runs from $50 to $500, depending on the size of the stool and the amount of fabric and padding needed. Barstools with padded seats will cost less than stools that also have a padded back or armrests. Not only does the amount of fabric impact the overall price but also the shape and size of the barstool.
A bergère chair usually needs between 2 and 3 yards of fabric and can cost from $200 to $450 to reupholster. Many bergère chairs that need to be reupholstered are antiques, and so they will require extra time and care. The amount of padding that is needed to reupholster the back and chair cushion also affects the overall price. It’s important for customers to note that newer contemporary versions of this chair are less expensive to reupholster than antique ones.
Club chairs can cost from $280 to $900 for a full reupholstery job. The large size of the chair means it needs more fabric, usually between 3 and 5 yards, which will raise the price. The buttons that are used to achieve a tufted upholstery look take a considerable amount of time to remove and replace, which will increase labor costs.
The cost to upholster dining chairs ranges from $50 to $250, depending on the amount and type of fabric. Some dining room chairs have only a seat that is covered in fabric, which would put the reupholstering cost at the lower end of the price range. The cost to reupholster dining chair seats would be less expensive than for a chair that also has an upholstered back. A dining chair seat usually needs about ½ yard of fabric.
Reupholstering a footstool ranges from $70 to $500, depending on the style. Antique footstools are more expensive to reupholster due to the extra time it takes to preserve the overall character of the piece. A footstool that only has an upholstered top will be a more budget-friendly project than a footstool that has material and padding that surround the entire stool, which would need around 2 to 3 yards of fabric.
Leather chair reupholstery runs from $800 to $2,000, depending on the size and style of the chair. The price of leather ranges from $40 to $60 per yard, which makes reupholstering with this material on the more expensive side. With proper care, leather can last for many years, which is why homeowners with pets are advised to avoid leather furniture, since dog and cat claws can puncture and rip through the material, resulting in a costly reupholstering job or leather repair. The cost of reupholstering leather couch cushions is also more expensive than the cost to reupholster sofa cushions covered in a different material.
The cost to reupholster an office chair runs from $200 to $700. The overall cost hinges on the size of the office chair, the amount of material it needs, and the type of fabric. Larger office chairs that have heavily padded backs, armrests, and seats require more material and fabric will be more expensive to reupholster than streamlined office chairs that just have a padded seat.
Outdoor Chair Cushions
If homeowners follow some steps to revive old patio furniture but it’s just not working, reupholstering the furniture may be in order. Reupholstering an outdoor chair cushion costs from $50 to $300. The overall price is influenced by the number of cushions, the size and depth of each cushion, and the type of fabric that’s used for the reupholstery job. If the outdoor cushions need a good cleaning instead of reupholstering, many people learn how to clean outdoor patio cushions to extend the life of the furniture. The cost to reupholster outdoor chair cushions is similar to the overall price to reupholster couch cushions.
A Parsons chair is an armless dining room chair that has a padded back and seat. Reupholstering this type of dining chair ranges from $150 to $500, depending on the size and the difficulty of the reupholstering project. A Parsons chair requires between 2 and 4 yards of fabric, and the clean lines and sharp angles of the design make it a moderately difficult task. Reupholstering also includes replacing the decorative trim that these chairs typically have.
Reupholstering a recliner costs from $400 to $1,500, depending on the size of the chair, style, and fabric choice. Reupholstering a recliner is a time-consuming job that requires a substantial amount of padding and fabric to cover the chair, footrest, and additional cushions. On average, it takes between 6 and 10 yards of fabric to recover a recliner chair, which makes the reupholstering job more expensive.
A slipper chair is a medium to large chair with a high back and shorter legs that sits close to the ground. They typically cost between $250 to $400 to reupholster. This armless chair has extra cushioning that requires additional material, which can drive up the price.
Tub chairs, also called barrel chairs, have a rounded back that extends around the seat, with each side used as an armrest. The average cost to reupholster a tub chair runs from $400 to $800. Depending on the size of the chair, between 2 and 4 yards of fabric are usually needed for a reupholstering project. The overall reupholstering cost depends on the amount of padding needed and the type of fabric used to recover the chair.
Wingback chairs cost approximately $1,000 to $2,000 to reupholster. These chairs are usually on the larger side, and they need between 6 and 8 yards of fabric to recover them. Depending on the age of the chair, size, detailing, and amount of padding, the price for reupholstering can be significantly more expensive than for other types of chairs.
Benefits of Reupholstering a Chair
For many people, the cost to reupholster a chair is worth paying to save a piece of furniture from ending up in a landfill; to make an old, worn-out chair or couch look new again; and to customize the fabric to match the surrounding decor. If the chair is a family heirloom and has sentimental value, many people will gladly spend the extra money to get it reupholstered so it will be used and enjoyed for many more years.
For those who enjoy antique furniture in their home, investing in reupholstery is part of keeping the pieces in good working condition. While some people may be content with using some of the best slipcovers to protect antique furniture, others see reupholstery as a worthwhile investment.
If a favorite chair stands out from a new room makeover and doesn’t match the design aesthetic, reupholstering the chair will customize the look so it will blend seamlessly into the new room decor. Reupholstery can be a cost-effective way of keeping a piece of furniture without spending money on a new chair. Choosing new fabric and materials will personalize the chair and make it special and unique.
It’s more environmentally friendly to get an old chair reupholstered than to discard it in a landfill. Reupholstering a chair that has a good frame and structure is an excellent alternative to throwing it away where it would increase waste in the environment.
In some cases, the cost of reupholstering a couch or chair might be less expensive than the cost of buying a new one. To save money and to increase the value of items in their home, some people will choose to reupholster a chair instead of buying new.
Chair Reupholstering: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Reupholstering dining room chair seats, backless barstools, and basic footstools are manageable, beginner-friendly DIY projects. Many people prefer to DIY their own chairs or reupholster chairs on their own to save money on labor costs and transportation fees, or attend to minor leather imperfections by using one of the best leather repair kits. However, reupholstering larger chairs, such as recliners, wingback chairs, or heavily padded dining room chairs, is a job best left to the pros. On average, the cost of reupholstery fabric runs from $50 to $70 per yard. The amount of fabric that’s needed to recover these types of chairs can cost a significant amount of money, and if the DIYer makes a mistake, it’s money down the drain. It takes extensive knowledge and experience to reupholster couches and chairs successfully. Professional upholsterers have the tools, equipment, and know-how to repair and recover furniture without wasting fabric and materials. They know how to recover a chair properly and without causing further damage. The price of the required sewing equipment, needles, thread, buttons, finishings, details, and tools can quickly add up for the average DIYer. Since reupholstery requires time and patience, many people prefer to have a professional handle the reupholstery for difficult and large-scale pieces of furniture.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Reupholster a Chair
Having a chair reupholstered can save it from the landfill, personalize the look of the chair, and make it look like new. Even though reupholstery is a sustainable, environmentally friendly practice, it can sometimes cost a significant amount of money. Below are some money-saving tips to follow when it’s time to reupholster your favorite chair.
- Get multiple estimates. Get at least three estimates from reputable upholstery shops in your area to find a price that works the best with your budget.
- Get more than one piece of furniture reupholstered. Some professional reupholsterers may give a discount if you want more than one piece of furniture reupholstered at the same time. If your couch is a good candidate for reupholstery, consider getting the chair recovered at the same time.
- Consider the damage. Does the fabric need a good cleaning, or does it need to be reupholstered? Some pieces of furniture will benefit from a thorough cleaning with one of the best upholstery cleaners. If the cleaning fixes the stains, look up how to waterproof fabric to help protect the chair from further damage.
- Transport the furniture yourself. Driving the furniture to and from the reupholstery shop will save money on transportation fees.
- Buy your own materials. Once you find out exactly how much fabric is needed to reupholster your favorite chair, buying the fabric yourself can help save some money on material markups.
- Consider the fabric. Patterned fabrics are usually more expensive to use for a reupholstery project than solid options. This is due to fabric waste from having to match up the patterns on the chair.
- Opt for faux. If you have your heart set on leather but it’s out of your price range, consider faux fabric to get the look you want for less.
Questions to Ask About Chair Reupholstering
Asking a reupholstery professional the right questions can help avoid miscommunication and save homeowners money on the reupholstery project. Below are some questions for people to ask about the cost to reupholster a chair and the reupholstery process.
- Are you licensed and insured?
- How long have you been in the reupholstery business?
- Will you provide references?
- What are your rates?
- Do you have a portfolio of reupholstery projects you’ve completed?
- Have you worked on chairs similar to the one I want reupholstered?
- What are your recommendations for reupholstering the chair?
- Is it possible for you to match the fabric that is already on the chair?
- Is the chair a suitable candidate for reupholstery?
- What kind of repairs does the chair need?
- Is the structure of the chair in good condition?
- Do you insure your work? If so, for how long?
- How long will it take for you to reupholster the chair?
- What is your policy if I don’t like the finished project?
- Will you reuse the existing cushions or replace them?
- What are my options for customization?
- What needs to be replaced on the chair?
- What is your payment plan?
- How can I leave a review of your work?
Before homeowners decide on chair reupholstery, it’s important for them to know all the information about reupholstery, the benefits of reupholstering versus buying new, and the recommendations a professional has about a specific chair. Below are some frequently asked questions about chair reupholstery and the reupholstering process.
Q. When is it worth doing chair upholstering?
If the chair is good quality and has a solid structure, it’s worth reupholstering. Some people opt to reupholster a chair if they have a special attachment to it or if it’s a family heirloom. Many times a chair will need some repairs before the reupholstery process, but overall, if the structure of the chair is in good condition, it’s a good candidate for reupholstering. Reupholstery is an excellent way to upcycle an old chair, keep it out of the landfill, and customize it to a home’s decor.
Q. Is reupholstering a chair cheaper than buying a new one?
That depends. If the owner has a dining room set with six chairs, and one seat needs to be reupholstered, it is cost-effective to reupholster that one chair instead of buying a new set of chairs. Large chairs with a lot of padding or stuffing that require several yards of fabric may be more expensive to reupholster than buying a new chair.
Q. What is the most durable fabric for upholstery?
Synthetic microfiber is considered one of the most durable fabrics for furniture. The ultrafine fibers prevent pulls and tears from cat and dog claws, and it holds up well against dirt and spills.
Q. How long does chair upholstery last?
Overall, the longevity of chair upholstery depends on the quality of the material and the amount of wear and tear. On average, upholstered chairs last between 7 and 15 years, with well-built chairs with solid wood frames and dense cushions lasting the longest.
Q. Do I have to remove the old fabric when reupholstering?
Some people choose to leave the old fabric when upholstering a chair, especially if the old fabric is lighter than the new material. If you’re not sure of the history of the piece, it’s best to remove the old fabric and start new.
Q. Should I wash the fabric before reupholstery?
If someone is having a slipcover made for their chair, the fabric will need to be washed first. If the slipcover is made for the chair and then it needs to be washed or dry-cleaned without prewashing it, it could shrink and no longer fit the chair.