The Exact Amount of Fabric Required to Upholster Your Living Room Chair

Have you ever looked at your worn-out living room chair and dreamed of a new, vibrant look? Like many, you may have hesitated, unsure of “how many yards of fabric to reupholster a livingroom chair.” Rest assured; it’s not as daunting as it may seem. You can give your chair a total makeover with a simple understanding of measurements and a little creativity. So, ready to learn more? Here are the steps to unveil this secret.

how many yards of fabric to reupholster a livingroom chair
How many Yards of Fabric to Reupholster a Livingroom Chair ?

Step 1 : Identifying The Type of Chair 

Recognizing the Chair Family

The first crucial step in this endeavour is understanding the specifics of your comfy recliner. The type of chair is a significant determinant of the amount of fabric you’ll need. Different types of chairs, from Parsons Chairs to larger chairs like wing chairs or club chairs, have their own distinct features. 

The Significance of Accurate Chair Typing

Identifying your chair isn’t merely a categorization exercise. The type of chair offers an initial yardage estimate, which is vital for your reupholstering project. 

Correctly recognizing your chair type will give an estimated fabric requirement and offer insight into the task’s complexity. For instance, reupholstering a wing chair is different from a Parsons chair. Keep in mind the vast variation within each chair type. You might come across a recliner with a broad backrest or a wing chair with small wings, both making standard measurements unpredictable.

Step 2: Chair Dimension Measurement

The Fabric of Calculation

Upholstering your chair with new fabric is similar to fitting it with a custom suit — a well-fitted outfit enhances the appearance. Like tailoring, accurate measurements are key. Your reliable measuring tape will be your tool, assisting you in recording the height, width, and depth of each chair part needing the new fabric.

You measure your chair’s dimensions to estimate the fabric required. For instance, an armrest 10 inches wide and 20 inches long would need roughly 2 square yards of fabric. This rule applies to all other parts of the chair. Remember, your fabric calculator can be a great help.

No Chair Part Overlooked: Including the Unique Features

Every chair comes with its set of unique aspects and characteristics, just as every individual has unique traits. These traits are what lend a chair its charm. But these are also the traits that demand special attention while measuring fabric. Hence, armrests, the back, and the seat should all be measured separately.

Generosity in Measurements: Rounding Up

Precision is critical in measurements. However, adding a bit of generosity to your calculations doesn’t hurt. It’s always better to round up your measurements to cover any miscalculations or unforeseen challenges.

 Next, we’ll take a closer look at fabric calculations, discussing the nuances of pattern matching and seam allowances. These additional layers will make our fabric measurement exercise more comprehensive, leading to a beautifully upholstered chair.

Step 3: Calculating Fabric for Each Chair Part

The Mathematics of Fabric Estimation

Once you’ve measured each part of your chair, it’s time to convert these dimensions into the language of fabric: square yards. Imagine you’re an explorer navigating the expanse of your chair’s terrain. Just like mapping out new land, you need to determine the surface area of each part.

Multiply the height by the width of each part to get the surface area in square inches. For example, if the seat of your chair is 20 inches wide and 20 inches long, you have a surface area of 400 square inches.

The Yardstick Conversion: Inches to Yards

Now that you have the surface area in square inches, the next step is to convert these to square yards. This part is crucial as the fabric is typically sold in yards, not inches. Remember that 1 yard equals 36 inches. Therefore, to convert square inches to square yards, you divide the number of square inches by 1,296 (since 36 inches x 36 inches equals 1,296 square inches).

So, using the previous example, your 400 square inches of seat area would equal approximately 0.31 square yards. However, it’s recommended to round up your measurements, as you might need the extra fabric for seams or hems. For example, you’d round up to 0.5 or even 1 yard to be on the safe side.

Step 4: Accounting for Pattern Matching

The Art of Pattern Continuity

If your chosen fabric has a pattern, a whole new variable enters the equation. Matching a pattern is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle where each piece should fit perfectly to maintain the continuity of the picture. Pattern matching ensures that the pattern flows seamlessly across the different parts of the chair.

As a result, you’ll need extra fabric to allow for this matching process. The extent of this additional fabric depends on the pattern’s complexity. A larger pattern might require less fabric than a smaller, more detailed one, just as a puzzle with larger pieces is simpler to solve than one with hundreds of tiny pieces. A handy guide on how to cover a dining room chair with a pattern can be a valuable resource in this step.

Factoring in the Pattern Repeat

A crucial aspect to consider in pattern matching is the ‘pattern repeat’, which is the distance between where a pattern starts, repeats, and starts again. Depending on the pattern repeat, you may need to add anywhere from 10% to 100% extra fabric. It’s like making photocopies of a document — the more pages there are, the more copies you’ll need to make. 

Keep in mind that patterns can repeat vertically (up and down) or horizontally (across). Some patterns, known as random match patterns, don’t have a specific repeat, much like a freestyle dance compared to a choreographed routine.

Step 5: Calculating for Seams and Hems

Taking Account of the Underlying Structures

In the process of fabric estimation, often crucial elements like seams and hems are overlooked. These can be compared to the hidden pillars and beams within a piece of furniture. While they are not immediately visible, they play an important role in upholding the structure.

So, how does one include these in the fabric calculations? The answer is straightforward. Add an extra 5% to your total fabric measurements. 

Step 6: Summing up All the Measurements

The Final Fabric Tally

Once you have the fabric measurements for each individual part, it’s now time for some arithmetic. Add up all these measurements to get the total fabric requirement in yards. Like the ingredients for a recipe, each part contributes a unique flavour to create the perfect dish.

Ensure that you tally everything accurately. Even minor errors can lead to significant miscalculations in the total fabric requirement. An error as small as confusing a teaspoon for a tablespoon in a recipe could drastically affect the end result.

Step 7: Always Procure a Little Extra

Preparation for Upholstery Contingencies

An insider tip from experienced upholstery professionals is to always purchase a bit of extra fabric. Consider it as a contingency plan. Just as you carry a spare tire during a road trip, similarly, having some extra fabric can be a lifesaver. This extra yard is useful in case of errors, future repairs, or if your type of chair consumes more fabric than estimated.

So, how much extra fabric should you get? Always consider buying an additional 10% of your total measurement. This safety buffer can help you avoid potential future troubles and ensure a smooth upholstery process.

For instance, if your calculations suggest you need 5 yards of fabric, getting an additional half yard would be prudent. Not only will this prevent you from running back to the fabric store, but it will also ensure any extra fabric matches the rest of the chair. A great resource on maintaining your newly upholstered chair can be found here. So, take your time, do the calculations, and start your upholstery project with confidence. Your chair will be thankful for it.

Conclusion: How Many Yards of Fabric to Reupholster a Livingroom Chair

Now you have the answer to the question of how many yards of fabric to reupholster typical livingroom chair is required. It doesn’t look quite as daunting as it did at first, do you agree? You now possess all the knowledge required, including how to determine the type of chair, measure each dimension, calculate the fabric needed for each portion, account for pattern matching, take seam and hem allowances into account, total up all the measures, and, of course, understand the wisdom of purchasing an additional yard. Think of it as a treasure hunt, with the reward of a job well done and a new living room chair as the treasure. Go on, daring DIY upholsterer, and give your chair new life! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any type of fabric to reupholster my chair?

While technically, you can use any fabric, some Upholstery fabric options are better suited to upholstery due to their durability and easy-care nature. You might find our article on how to protect Parsons chair fabric useful.

How much extra fabric should I buy for pattern matching?

The extra amount varies depending on the complexity of the pattern. As a rule of thumb, consider adding anywhere from 10% to 100% extra fabric.

How can I ensure I’ve measured my chair correctly?

The best way is to measure twice. Measuring from different angles and cross-checking can ensure accuracy. Also, remember to include the dimensions of any unique parts like armrests or curved backrests.

What should I do if I make a mistake while reupholstering my chair?

Mistakes are a part of the learning process, especially when acquiring a new skill. That’s why we recommend buying an extra 10% of the fabric. This can be used to correct any error. You can also refer to our guide on how to dismantle a living room chair for more detailed instructions.