8 Great Ways on How to Reupholster a Leather Recliner and Chair

Planning on changing your home décor but are torn between getting rid of your dull and worn leather recliner? That’s okay; you can change its look to match your interior by reupholstering it. I know it sounds complicated but that’s’ why we are here to share some great guidelines on how to reupholster a leather recliner.

Also known as sofas or armchairs, the recliners are more expensive than regular sofas and chairs since you can easily adjust them to your comfort. But no matter the moving parts, this should not stop you from making that old leather recliner to look new.

However, before you start the process of transforming your leather recliner chair or leather sofa, you need to have the necessary materials and tools ready. The good news is that we are ready to help you figure out all the materials and tools you need before you reupholster your leather recliner.

How to Reupholster a Leather Recliner Step by Step Guide

Leather recliners come in different shapes, styles, and sizes but before you reupholster your piece, you require the following:

  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Seam ripper/utility knife
  • Masking tape
  • Tack remover
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Upholster needles
  • Screwdriver
  • Reupholstering staple gun with staples, preferably an electric one
  • Fabric glue
  • Extra glue sticks
  • Straight pins
  • Thread/needle
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Wax coated thread
  • Covered button kit
  • Pliers
  • Power drill and square drill
  • New Leather pattern or any other fabric
  • Sewing machine

Note that, the whole reupholstering process may take 5 to 7 days depending on the time you put into it and the size of the recliner. Therefore, make sure before you start the project to be mentally and physically ready to get the job done. Therefore, in this article, we are going to share with you how to reupholster a leather recliner such as a couch, chair like the lazy boy recliner and so on.

How to Reupholster a Recliner Couch

how to reupholster a leather sofa

01. Measure the Fabric of Your Seat

Before anything else, you should measure your recliner couch from all sides. Then make sure you sure to measure it larger than where you want to lay it. For example, you can leave ½ or 1 inch of fabric on the left, right and front but at the back leaving about 4 inches of fabric to glue and tuck into the back of the couch. Note that, the ½ or 1 inch on the three sides are for folding while you glue and stitch. Also, don’t forget to label the different parts of the couch to know which fabric to use and for easy reassemble.

To start with use a measuring tape and follows the couch outlines. Ensure you measure the length of the recliner from the bottom, sides, and front of the couch. When it comes to the width measurements, also measure the couch’s inner side as well as the tops and outsides.

02. Dissemble the Couch

The second and most important step to take after you measure the leather of your couch is to dissemble it. This is done to ensure you get to all the places that need to be reupholstered. Turn the couch over and let the back part facing you, then use a power drill to remove the metal frame that holds the recliner couch. Note that, if you don’t have a power drill you can use a screwdriver to unscrew off the metal parts.

03. Remove the Old Leather Fabric

Once you are done separating the recliner, now it’s time to cut the seams that hold together the recliner using a seam ripper or a utility knife. It’s important not to rip off the pieces of fabric since you will use them when cutting your new material to ensure you get a proper fit.

Label clearly the pieces as you remove them with masking tape and also take a lot of pictures that will come in handy when reassembling the couch later. Go into details by indicating if the pieces are for the right or left arm as well as which is the top or bottom piece. You can do this using tailor chalk. Also, number the pieces accordingly as you take them off so as to be able to put the new ones correctly.  Keep in mind, after the fabric is off, you don’t need to remove the pudding and foam is they are in good shape.

04. Clean the Couch

Removing the old fabric will surely make the underside of your couch dirty. Therefore, it’s best to clean the couch up before doing anything else. Start by vacuuming the inside of the frame then spray leather cleaner onto the cushions and foam to freshen them up.

Additionally, use a bit of wood oil or leather cleaner to prepare the wood parts of the couch, and seal it if necessary. If the wood is scratched, you can use leather paint to make it better.

05. Glue the Fabric Down

Apply good quality fabric glue by laying down a thin layer all over the vinyl surface. Start from the middle working outwards. After you are done, lay the fabric on top of the vinyl gently and press down making sure to smoothen it out.

06. Sew the Fabric Where Necessary

After smoothing out the fabric, then you should start sewing the necessary places. This includes cushions, armchairs or any other pieces. To make your work easier, use the original fabric as your pattern and copy the same sewing pattern with your new fabric. Don’t forget to use a thread that will match your fabric or just a clear plastic thread.

However, if you don’t have a sewing machine you can stitch the edges with a needle especially an upholster one. Although it might not be easy as using a sewing machine you can use some pliers to help you pull the needles when you sew up the thread. Repeat the process again and again until you are done.

 07. Staple the New Fabric to the Couch

At this point, work one section at a time, lining up the new fabric in the right place of the couch. Then use a staple gun with staples and attach the fabric securely to the couch. Just make sure you leave no space in every piece of the fabric to make it smooth. Remember that, recliners have cardboards pieces on them which means a staple gun won’t be of much help. Therefore, use a hot glue gun to re-cover the cardboard with your fabric piece.

08. Reassemble the Recliner

Finally, once you are done stapling all the fabric, use the earlier photos to assemble the recliner. Ensure you tightly screw on all the parts to avoid the coach from breaking. Once you are done with that your coach is ready to be used.

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how to reupholster a leather chair

Related FAQs

How Much Does it Cost to Reupholster a Leather Recliner?

The typical price range according to HomeAdvisor’s to reupholster a leather recliner is usually from $400 to $1000. This usually depends on the size, type, style, fabric you use and labor cost. Although it might be cheaper to buy a new recliner, you can reduce the cost of spending much by buying a budget-friendly fabric as well as doing the reupholstering yourself.

How Much Does it Cost to Reupholster a Leather Chair?

Reupholster a Leather Chair is almost the same as most fabrics. Leather is usually sold at $30 to $60 per yard while other materials cost $50 to $70. However, the quality and type of fabric you choose will also determine the cost to reupholster a leather chair. For example, reupholstering a lazy boy rocker recliner will definitely cost less than when reupholstering a wing chair which can cost roughly $100 to $2000.

Can you reupholster a Recliner?

Yes, you can, this is because usually reupholstering a recliner requires replacing the padding and the fabric. Since you don’t need to replace the framework and the recliner mechanism works properly, it will be possible to reupholster your old recliner. Being different from other armchairs, just disassemble the recliner in small parts and reupholster each piece as described above the step to step guide and then reassemble it.

Can You Reupholster a Leather Chair?

Definitely you can reupholster a leather chair. Leather chairs are expensive, elegant and comfortable and it won’t make sense to toss one aside because of a stain or tear yet it’s functioning properly. Instead, just buy new leather or any other fabric and remove the old covering and reupholster the chair. Keep in mind, if you want to reupholster the chair by yourself, there are various articles and videos demonstrating how to reupholster a leather chair.

How Do You Repair a Leather Chair?

There are simple ways to repair a leather chair. For instance, for small scratches and nicks, you can repair with glue. However, for more serious damage like a tear or a hole, you need to get a leather repair kit.

  • First of all, purchase a leather repair kit that matches the color of your chair. This usually includes adhesive furniture glue, leather filler, backing, colorant, and leather finisher.
  • Secondly, insert the repair patch into the hole by using some tweezers and squeeze the repair patch into the hole in the leather chair. Note that, you need to flatten it out for the patch to rest underneath the hole in the leather.
  • Thirdly, glue the repair patch to the underneath side of the leather rip by using a large needle or toothpick. Spread the glue in a thin layer whenever the leather will come into contact with the repair patch and wait for the glue to dry at least for twenty minutes.
  • Clean the damaged area with a clean rag and leather cleaner or isopropyl alcohol.
  • After it dries, trim away any loose fibers around the edges of the tear.
  • Apply leather filler to the hole and let the leather cleaner dry for 2-3 hours then apply 4 to 6 coats while giving it more time to dry. Keep in mind; you can also repair a leather sofa using the same process.

You Can Learn more How to Reupholster a Recliner Chair by watching YouTube Video

Final Words

As you can see, reupholstering a leather recliner is possible and that’s good news since you don’t have to get rid of your favorite old recliner. Yes, it’s no walk in the park but reupholstering a recliner by yourself is a good way to save money but also give you the satisfaction of improving your handyman skills.

That’s why we have written this article and hopefully, the guidelines will help you out when you decide to reupholster your recliner. All you have to do is purchase the necessary material and tools as mentioned above and follow the step and step guides to get the satisfactory results.

Note that, if you need to repair a leather couch or chair, we still have you covered in this article with some simple steps to follow.  With this and much more, you are set with all that you need to get the job done. So don’t wait any longer and just start now.

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I am an Architect Engineer by profession with great interest in web and content creation. I have used leather products for a long time, which has increased my enthusiasm, knowledge, and understanding of leather. I am here to shed light on the leather and guide you on choosing the best leather products.

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