How to Measure Fabric for Upholstery on Recliners

Mary Lougee

Every surface of a recliner must be measured in the length and width to calculate the total amount of fabric needed for reupholstery. Each measurement includes the largest area of each specific recliner part so that the total of the measurements will account for full coverage of the chair. Most recliners have seats that are larger at the front than the rear and include ears. The width of the recliner for upholstery purposes will include the measurement from ear to ear.

Reupholstering a recliner is a less-expensive alternative than purchasing a new chair.
  1. Sketch a picture of the recliner on a piece of paper with a pen. Making a visual of the recliner helps organize the measurements for each surface of the chair.

  2. Measure the recliner seat's width. Measure the recliner width horizontally from the left to the right side at the seat's front, middle and rear. Record the largest measurement as the recliner seat's width.

  3. Measure the length of the recliner seat from the back to the front edge. Take a measurement at the left, center and right side of the seat. Record the largest measurement as the recliner seat's length.

  4. Measure the recliner's back on the chair's front and backside in the same manner as the seat measurements. Record the largest measurements for the length and width of the front side and rear of the back. Write down the largest measurements for each part.

  5. Measure both recliner arms from the point where they meet the seat, over and around the arm to the point where each arm attaches to the recliner's side. Include a measurement for the width and length for each arm's outside surface. Record the largest measurements.

  6. Measure all of the front surfaces of the recliner below the seat in length and width for the gusset and the front of each arm. Measure the footrest in width and length. Add the largest measurements to your paper.

  7. Multiply the length times the width of each piece of the recliner in inches to obtain the amount of square-inches per piece. Add all of these totals together for the total amount of fabric needed in inches. Add 10 percent to this total to allow for some inaccuracies in measurements.

  8. Divide the total you calculated above by 60 to obtain the amount of fabric for 60-inch-wide upholstery fabric. Divide the total by 54 to obtain the amount of fabric for 54-inch-wide fabric and so forth. Divide this number by 12 to transfer the number into yards. Upholstery fabric is sold by the yard on each bolt.