Measuring Upholstery 101 (Part 1): Chairs

Thinking of reupholstery for your favorite chair? Perhaps it has been with you for many years and you have grown fond of it. Or maybe your pet has scratched off some of the obvious parts that you can’t hide from your guests. Whatever reason you may have, choosing to reupholster your chair is a good decision. For one, you are reusing an item of sentimental worth and giving it a new, fresh design with the help of newer patterns and better fabrics.

One of the fears you may have is trying to determine the amount of yard you’d be using in your project. You may have found your favorite material, perhaps a floral printed fabric or something with stripes for a more contemporary look. But how do you get the right measurements? Fret not; measuring upholstery can be an easy task as long as you know how to get the right numbers.


Get Your Measuring Tape Ready

  1. Take time to examine your furniture and observe which parts of has fabric you’ll be replacing. Make sure to take note of its size and shape. You’re not going to cover a flat-piece object; each section of your chair is covered with fabric and padding. For one, it can be a fully-upholstered chair or an armless stool. With this, you can have an idea of how much you’re going to spend for your material.
  2. Now it’s time to measure and record the section sizes. Make sure you measure from side by side, then up and down. When taking measurements for the bottom part, take only the area which is visible. For cushions, measure at the broadest point and take into account any border or piping included in the design.
  3. Jot down the numbers of the areas stated below, with the data recorded as “width x length”.
  • Seat cushion
  • Chair arm
  • Chair height
  • Back support cushion
  • Lower portion beneath the cushion

Note that if there are additional parts of your chair not included in the list, write it down as well.

  1. Add an extra three or four inches to each recorded measurement. This is especially helpful for padded areas, as cushions have additional measurement (depth) which states the thickness of the padding.
  2. Take a graph paper and scale it according to your recorded measurements. This represents the sections of the fabric, which will give you a clearer estimate on how many yards you’ll be buying. This representation also allows you to see how you’ll be able to put the reupholstery project together.
  3. Add up all your measurements and write the answer down in inches. After that, divide that number by 36 to convert the answer in yards. Round off the result into the nearest full number. This is the amount of fabric you’ll be purchasing for your upholstery project.

hgtvRemember that it is always best to have a few extra scraps of fabric than underestimating the whole project. If you have chosen a fabric with patterns, take into account the potential repeats in the design. We have tackled about that factor in our previous post fund here.

Image Source: Honey & Fitz, HGTV

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