DIY Vinyl Dining Room Chairs

Michelle Powell-Smith

Vinyl chairs were a kitchen classic from the 1940s through the 1970s, but the vinyl on your vintage chairs may be looking sad and tired. Preserve that retro look by recovering your dining room chairs with fresh vinyl.

Make your faded chairs fresh with new vinyl.

You'll find matte, shiny or sparkly vinyl in a wide range of colors, allowing you to recover your chairs to match any decor.

  1. Dismantle your chair with a flat or Phillips head screwdriver. Remove the seat and back of the chair. Set the frames aside.

  2. Remove the vinyl with a utility knife and pull the old foam off of the seat base and back. Scrape remaining bits of foam off of the wooden seat and back. Save the vinyl to use as a pattern.

  3. Trace the seat back and base onto the foam. Cut 1-inch to 2-inch thick foam with a serrated blade along the lines. Glue foam into place on the seat back and base. Allow the glue to dry completely.

  4. Cut vinyl several inches larger than your original pattern or cut a generously sized square for the seat of your chair. Place the seat foam side down on the wrong side of the vinyl. Staple the front and back, pulling the vinyl firmly as you move from front to back with each staple. Staple each side into place in the same way, then fold and pleat the corners, and staple them securely.

  5. Cut a rectangle large enough to wrap around the seat back, with enough additional allowance to fold the edges underneath for a neat finish. Wrap the back of the seat much as you would a holiday present, securing the vinyl at the bottom of the seat back with staples. Tuck the corners at each side of the top and fold each side over. Hammer upholstery tacks into place along the sides of the seat back to secure the wrapped sides.

  6. Tip

    If you have your heart set on piping, you'll need to construct a cover for your seat on the sewing machine before you staple it into place. Use the original vinyl to create a seamed pattern for your covers and then sew them together before stapling into place.


    While it isn't essential, an electric staple gun will reduce wear and tear on your hands. You may want to wear work gloves if you're using a manual staple gun.