How to Pad Wooden Dining Room Chairs

Wooden dining room chairs come in thousands of different styles that match a wide range of tables.
More padding makes your chairs more comfortable.More padding makes your chairs more comfortable.
After regular use, you may notice that the chairs feel less comfortable. Most chairs feature some type of padding, but the padding breaks down over time. Whether you have chairs with inadequate padding, no padding or padding that has broken down, you can replace the padding easily yourself. The process is similar to reupholstering, except that you do not replace the fabric.

Step 1

Turn the chair upside down with the bottom of the chair facing up. Depending on the manufacturer, the chair may feature screws or nails that keep the seat attached to the chair frame. Remove the seat from the wooden chair frame by unscrewing it from the frame using a screwdriver. If the seat had been nailed to the frame instead, remove the nails using a hammer or a pair of pliers, taking extra care not to crack the wood as you pull the nails out.

Step 2

Turn the seat upside down to reveal the staples holding the fabric to the seat. Slide the butter knife under the edge of any staples holding the fabric in place and pop the staples loose.

Step 3

Peel away the fabric from the seat and set it to one side. Slide the edge of the utility knife under the original padding and wiggle it from side to side. Push the knife around, loosening the padding until it comes off the bottom board or backing.

Step 4

Sand the bottom board with medium-grit sandpaper, removing any glue residue left behind. The glue holds the padding to the board. Set the board on top of the foam and trace around the board. Trim the excess foam away, following the line you made.

Step 5

Coat the bottom of the foam with spray adhesive, which makes the foam slightly tacky. Spray more adhesive on the board itself. Set the foam directly on top of the board and press it down gently, letting the glue adhere the pieces together.

Step 6

Arrange the fabric over the top of the foam and board. Drape the fabric over one side of the pieces and turn it around so that you can see the bottom. Staple the fabric to the board and pull the fabric down taut on the opposite side. Add more staples and repeat on the other two sides, pulling the fabric taut and smooth as you staple.

Step 7

Reattach the seat back to the wooden chair frame using the screws or nails you had removed previously.

Things You Will Need

  • Butter knife
  • Utility knife
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Upholstery foam
  • Spray adhesive
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Screwdriver or hammer


  • If you want even more padding, then cover the top of the foam with more adhesive and cotton batting. Wrap the fabric around the layers and staple in place.
  • Some chairs use adhesive between the fabric and foam. In this case, the fabric likely needs replacing, as the adhesive causes rips and tears when you pull off the fabric.

About the Author

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.