How to Measure Fabric for a Papasan Chair

Is your Papasan chair from the ‘90s already wearing out? Measuring a Papasan chair fabric for restoration does not have to be complicated. 

Keep reading to learn the two simple measurements you need to take for the correct fabric yardage and the best upholstery fabric choice for papasan chairs. Doing it on your own will save you more money than buying a new cushion.

What Is a Papasan Chair?

You’ve probably seen a bowl-shaped chair but don’t know that it’s called a Papasan chair. This beautiful chair is also known as a bucket chair, bowl, saucer, or moon chair. 

Papasan chairs are round-shaped chairs with a deep, rounded frame and a large, plush pillow on top to cushion them. This kind of chair is originally Asian but now has become popular in Western countries because of its aesthetic appeal.

You may compare the Papasan chair to a baseball glove because its hollow center catches your body to make you feel secure and comfortable. 

Interior designers say you can place the Papasan chair in any part of the house. It makes a great reading corner in the bedroom or a statement piece in the living room. You can even place it outdoors for pool parties. 

The Papasan chair also has new varieties: the mamasan chair and the Papasan swivel chair. The mamasan chair is just like the original Papasan chair but for two people. It’s a deep couch shaped like an oval with a longer cushion.

The Papasan swivel chair combines the Papasan chair and a rocking chair. The base has a swivel that allows reclining and rocking. 

What You Need to Measure Fabric

Circular cushions like the Papasan chair can be harder to measure and reupholster compared to rectangular ones. But the materials you need are the same. 

Have the following ready for measuring your Papasan chair’s cushion.

  • Measuring tape
  • Pin (optional)
  • Pen and paper (optional)

How to Measure Fabric

The first step to giving your Papasan chair a makeover is to do the measurements. Here’s how.

  1. Separate the Cushion From the Frame.

Remove the cushion from the frame of the chair and lay it on the ground. Make sure the surface is flat so you can get accurate measurements of the round cushion.

This step is also a great time to clean your Papasan chair’s frame. 

  1. Measure the Cushion’s Diameter.

Take your measuring tape out and measure its diameter. The diameter refers to the straight segment of the cushion that passes its center. Try pinning the center of the cushion before measuring so you’ll have a guide for precision.

When measuring from seam to seam, the general rule is to go from left to right. Add about three inches to the measurement, then write it on paper to avoid confusion. If your Papasan chair measures 48 inches, record it as 51 inches.

The standard Papasan chair is 54 inches in diameter. But do your own measurements to make sure. 

Rectangular Papasan chairs are rare, but if you have one, simply measure all sides of the cushion. Measure the length from left to right and the height from top to bottom. Add four inches of allowance, then record on your paper. 

  1. Measure the Cushion’s Thickness.

Measure the cushion’s thickness from top to bottom. Just like in the second step, include an allowance in case it gets deformed when sat on. Around one to two inches are enough. For example, if your Papasan cushion is three inches thick, write down four inches instead. 

  1. Prepare Your Fabric.

Add the thickness of your cushion to its diameter. Multiply it by two since you’ll be covering the other side of the cushion as well, and you’ll get the measurements for the fabric.

For example, if the recorded diameter is fifty-one inches and the thickness is four inches, you will need 110 inches of fabric. Divide the number into 36 for yard conversion, and you’ll get 3 yards.

Buying fabric can be expensive, but I highly recommend that you purchase an extra yard or two in case of an error.

Once you have the fabric, you’re ready to reupholster! 

Best Fabrics for a Papasan Chair

Aside from the style and feel of the fabric, it would be best if you also considered its durability and cleanability. The material you’ll be choosing also depends on whether you’re placing the Papasan chair indoors or outdoors.

Faux Fur

Faux fur makes an amazing fabric for your Papasan chair to keep you warm and snug. It looks excellent in feminine spaces like your walk-in closet or reading nook. Fuzzy sheepskin can accumulate dirt over time, but you can toss it in the washer and dryer for cleaning.


Cotton is a natural fiber that isn’t prone to fading and pilling. Sit on your Papasan chair the whole day every day, and it won’t look old in a few months. Aside from being easy to dye and clean, cotton is also hypoallergenic.

You may also use cotton blends, which mix natural cotton with synthetic fibers like polyester. This material is resistant to wrinkling and does not require any special care. Cotton blend is also lighter and softer than pure cotton.


Wool is another upholstery fabric that will look fantastic with a rattan frame. Its soft and warm texture makes it suitable for the cozy Papasan chair. But it doesn’t look great in all parts of the house. Try limiting the use of wool in the bedroom or living room.

The Bottom Line

Papasan chairs never go out of style, but it helps to replace that old cushion you’ve had since you were in high school! Measuring its fabric yardage is also easy. Just add the diameter and thickness and multiply by two.

Have you acquired enough fabric for your Papasan chair? Let us know what fabric you’re using in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this with a friend whose chair needs a revamp.

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