The key to successful DIY upholstery is to pick a piece with a simple shape and a fabric that has a sturdy weave and a forgiving texture, and that is easy to match. Beyond that, if you can cut out a pattern, sew a straight seam, and wield a staple gun (and we know you can), you're well on your way to a speedy recovery of just about anything you choose.
Our three easy projects will turn you into a pro upholsterer in no time. Start with a tailored tufted wall (easiest), move on to a knockout upholstered headboard (still easy), then culminate your skills with an elegant slipper chair (will be easy with our step-by-step guide).
A padded wall feels cozy in a bedroom, keeps the room warmer, and muffles sound. We used an electric staple gun to attach quilt batting to the wall and then stretched 54-inch-wide fabric panels over it, stapling at the edge of each panel.
We cut the headboard from plywood, then padded it with foam. A tight-fitting slipcover is stapled to the bottom of the frame. Piping (also called welting) accentuates the shape of the headboard and adds extra strength to seams.
We took this slipper chair from clunky to chic by giving it a new covering of icy-blue fabric and lots of dressmaker details. Welting around the seat gives the illusion of a separate cushion, pleats and a covered button accentuate the rolled back, and the new skirt camouflages a chunky seat and squat legs.
Many of today's upholstery tools and techniques are the same as those used 200 years ago.