Reupholstering dining room chairs is a simple way to change up the decor and design of your dining room. But, since the chairs will get a lot of use and be exposed to potential food and drink spills, you’ll want to choose fabric for them carefully. So what is the best fabric for dining room chairs?
Any fabric you use for dining room chairs should be durable, resistant to stains, and easy to clean. The best fabrics include:
- Cotton blend
- Faux suede
In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about choosing fabric for dining room chairs, including the pros and cons of each of the fabrics listed above. Then, I’ll explain how to reupholster the chairs once you’ve chosen the fabric. Continue reading to learn more.
What is the Best Fabric for Dining Room Chairs?
Dining room chairs can add both style and function to a dining room. However, the style and function are only as good as the fabric you pair them with. Each of the following fabrics is commonly used to upholster dining room chairs due to being functional and coming in many different styles.
Cotton BlendAlthough cotton is a durable fabric, if it is taken care of properly, blending it with synthetic fabrics can increase its functionality. The problem with cotton by itself is that it is very absorbent. This is not necessarily something you want for a dining room chair that could get exposed to drink spills and other liquids from foods.
Because of this, one of the best fabrics to blend with cotton is polyester. Polyester makes the fabric more durable as well as increases its stain and water-resistant properties. The higher percentage of polyester that is blended with cotton, the more durable it will be. For dining room chairs, a 50/50 cotton and polyester blend or a 60% cotton and 40% polyester blend works best.
Even cotton and polyester blended fabric is somewhat more durable and stain-resistant; you will need to treat stains quickly. This is because the large percentage of cotton still makes the fabric highly absorbent. Alternately, you can treat the fabric with a stain-resistant spray to help lower absorption.
- Comes in a wide range of styles
- Comfortable and breathable
- Absorbent of stains and moisture
PolyesterAnother excellent fabric choice for dining room chairs is 100% polyester. As a synthetic fabric, polyester is one of the most durable and affordable fabrics that you can buy. It also comes in a wide range of colors and styles.
One of the most important benefits of using polyester as upholstery fabric is that it is easy to clean and fairly stain-resistant. Even if you don’t spill something on it, things such as dust and pet dander can be easily vacuumed or wiped off of it. And, polyester is more resistant to fading, so if you have a dining room with lots of windows, the fabric will maintain its color longer.
However, what’s important to note is that you likely won’t find 100% polyester upholstery fabric. Upholstery fabric is generally thicker and heavier for increased durability, and polyester is typically blended into other upholstery fabrics to increase stain and water resistance. If you want 100% polyester, you’ll likely have to use regular fabric, which is thinner and may be more prone to ripping.
- Moisture resistant
- Not commonly used by itself in upholstery fabrics
- Synthetic fabrics may be less comfortable against the skin
VelvetVelvet is a classic fabric used for dining room chairs due to its texture and elegance. It is an especially great fabric to use for dining room chairs in a more formal dining room. But, it can be used even in informal dining rooms as a simple way to add texture and dimension to your interior design.
Another great thing about velvet is that despite its texture, it is very easy to clean and fairly stain-resistant, especially when it comes to moisture. It is also a very durable fabric that can last a long time as long as you take care of it. But, sunlight can damage the fabric and it also collects dust and pet hair more than other fabrics.
- Can add texture to a room
- Easy to clean
- Can fade due to sunlight
- Collects dust more easily
VinylVinyl is a type of plastic commonly used for dining room chairs, bar stools, and banquettes due to being durable and easy to wipe clean. It’s a great choice for an informal dining room, or if you have a lot of kids and pets where messes are more likely to occur.
Vinyl has a leather-like texture, and due to coming in a wide range of styles, you can also use it if you want the look of leather without all of the maintenance and expense. However, vinyl can start to crack and rip if exposed to long periods of sunlight and warm temps. It may not be the best choice if your dining room has a lot of windows.
- Can be wiped clean
- More affordable than leather
- Very durable
- Can crack and rip when exposed to heat
LeatherLeather is a luxury fabric option that comes in many different styles and textures. In general, leather is a very durable fabric that doesn’t tend to fade over time. However, how easy it is to care for depends on the type of leather upholstery you buy.
Some types of leather can be wiped clean, while others can show stains. In some cases, leather also needs to be conditioned to keep it in its best shape. Plus, leather is the most expensive out of all the fabrics that are good for dining room chairs.
- Looks luxurious
- Can work with many types of decor
- May require more maintenance
- More expensive than other fabrics
Faux SuedeFaux suede, also known as microsuede, is a type of synthetic leather made from a special type of polyester fiber. It has a similar feel to leather upholstery, but it isn’t as expensive. It also does a great job at resisting stains as long as you clean it as soon as possible.
However, if you wait to clean stains, they will be more noticeable on this fabric, especially on lighter colors. But if you want durability and an elegant look and feel without the expensive price tag, then faux suede is an overall great fabric choice.
- Soft to the touch
- Luxurious look and feel
- Easy to clean
- Shows dirt and stains on lighter colors
How to Choose Upholstery Fabric for Dining Chairs
Now that we’ve looked at all of the best fabric options for dining room chairs let’s look at some of the characteristics you’ll want to look for. When deciding on upholstery fabric, keep the following characteristics in mind.
Not everyone uses their dining room every single day. But, you still want a durable fabric, especially if you do use your dining room regularly. Even if you don’t eat in your dining room every day, you use the tables and chairs for other things, including hobbies and homework.
Plus, dining rooms are usually used around the holidays, so of course, you want the fabric to be in good shape and last for years. Remember that by choosing a durable fabric, you won’t have to replace it as often. And even if you don’t use your dining room that often for eating, your pets, especially cats, may like to hang out in the chairs.
This should speak for itself, but dining room chairs come into contact with all kinds of stains. Food and beverage stains, pet stains, and stains from your kids or craft projects can all find their way onto the upholstery of your dining room chairs.
Since you can’t remove the fabric every time it gets a stain, you’ll want one that does a great job at resisting stains and isn’t absorbent. Especially for liquid stains, you’ll want the fabric to pool up more than it is absorbed. That way, it can be easily wiped clean.
Colorfastness refers to the ability of a fabric to maintain its color and resist fading. For instance, some fabrics can become discolored when they come into contact with certain cleaning agents. Fabrics can also fade when exposed to sunlight. So if your dining room is very sunny or your chairs are kept near a window, you’ll want to choose a colorfast fabric.
Some colors are also more colorfast than others. For example, red tends to fade more quickly, along with orange and yellow. Blue and purple tend to resist fading more. Fabrics that are more absorbent such as cotton and some synthetic fabrics, are also more colorfast.
How Easy to Clean
Since you can’t remove upholstery every time you need to clean it, you’ll want a fabric that is very easy to clean. Fabrics that can be wiped clean or spot cleaned are best. This goes along with stain resistance, as you want to be able to wipe the stain away or use a spot treatment to clean them.
Patterned Fabric or Solid Color
Finally, you’ll have to decide if you want a patterned fabric or a solid color. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. But you’ll want to consider the other design elements of your dining room. For example, if your curtains and rugs are patterned, you can go with patterned fabric for your dining chairs. But if the curtains and rugs are patterned, solid-colored dining chair fabric looks best.
How Much Fabric Do I Need for a Dining Room Chair?
Once you’ve decided on a fabric, you’ll need to determine how much fabric you need. On average, one yard of fabric that is 54-60 inches in width is enough to cover the seat area of two dining room chairs. But, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as it depends on the size of the chair and how much of the chair needs to be upholstered.
For example, some chairs have cushions on just the seat, while others have cushions on the seat and back of the chair. The only way to determine exactly how much you need is to measure the dimensions of your chair.
How To Measure Fabric for a Dining Room Chair
To measure your dining room chair and determine how much fabric you’ll need, you’ll need a measuring tape. Then, measure the length and width of any cushions (including seat and back cushions) to determine the dimensions.
Once you’ve got your dimensions, you want to add a few inches to each measurement to account for folding the fabric and attaching it underneath the cushion. Usually, adding 10 inches to your measurement is more than enough, and you can always cut some off if you have too much.
Another easy way to know how much fabric you need is to use a pattern. But you’ll still need to measure the chair to find a pattern that is the right size. Or, you can remove the old fabric and make a note or take a picture of how it was folded. Then measure the dimensions of the old fabric to determine how much you need. When you mark measurements on your new fabric, be sure to mark them on the reverse side of the fabric.
How To Reupholster a Dining Room Chair
Now that you’ve decided on a fabric and determined how much you need, you can begin reupholstering your dining room chairs. To do this, you’ll need to following items:
- Staple gun
Once you’ve gathered your materials, follow these steps.
1. Remove the Cushion
First, you’ll want to remove the existing cushion. You may need to slide a flathead screwdriver underneath to pry it up. Then, decide whether you want to put new fabric over the old fabric or take the old fabric off first. If you decide to take the old fabric off, use the screwdriver to pry up the old staples.
2. Fit the New Fabric
Whether you removed the old fabric or not, lay the cushion on top of the new fabric. Make sure the inside of the fabric is facing up. Then, wrap the fabric around the cushion, folding it around the corners and in the same areas where the old one was folded. Make sure that the fabric is smooth and wrinkle-free on the other.
3. Attach the Fabric
Next, you’ll want to attach the fabric to the cushion. Begin by making sure that the fabric is snug and pulled tautly. Staple the opposite corners down first, then trim off the excess fabric. Staple the other two corners down, then staple around the sides, leaving about an inch between each staple. Finally, trim off any other excess fabric.
4. Replace the Cushion
Lastly, replace the cushion in the chair. You may need to use the screwdriver to secure it back into place. If you have any back cushions on the chair, follow the same steps as above.
The best fabric for dining room chairs is one that is durable, easy to clean, stain-resistant, and colorfast. But, you’ll also want to choose a fabric that coordinates with your dining room’s decor, so you’ll need to decide whether you want a patterned or solid color. If you found this article helpful, share it and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!