How to: Recover an Upholstered Footstool

Whether you’re simply covering it with plain or painted fabric, reupholstering an old footstool is an upcycling project that is fun and achievable for anyone.

It doesn’t take much fabric – or effort! – to recover a footstool. If you’d like to replace the fabric on an upholstered footstool, you don’t need to be an expert. Arm yourself with some pliers, a tack lifter and a staple gun, and you’re good to go. Have fun painting the legs in the Chalk Paint™ colour of your choice. Perhaps you want to gild the feet too! Of course you can use shop bought patterned fabric, but why not create your own simple pattern on plain fabric using Chalk Paint™ too? Whatever look you go for, follow these simple steps to give your fabric footstool a new look in no time.

Step by step guide to upcycling a footstool

  1. Unscrew the footstool’s legs and strip the original fabric using pliers and a tack lifter.
  2. Lay the stool down on your new fabric, keeping the fabric as taut and straight as possible. Here, Annie has used Linen Union in Old White + French Linen printed with Chalk Paint™ in Emperor’s Silk and Henrietta.
  3. Smooth the fabric out with your hand, ‘brushing’ it towards the corners, and up and around the edges.
  4. Pull the fabric around the sides of the stool and staple down along the underside of the stool using a staple gun to within about 1.5 inches from the corner. Always start in the centre and work out to the corners.
  5. Pull the fabric as tightly as possible over one corner, and staple it once diagonally.
  6. Make two pleats, one on either side of the corner. Cut away as much fabric as possible so your pleats are not too bulky.
  7. Staple the two pleats in place.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 on the remaining three corners, starting in the opposite corner to the one you have just finished.
  9. Finally, cut out some black bottom lining just a little smaller than the stool base. Fold the edges in by 1cm, and staple in place.

The fabric on our footstool was printed in Chalk Paint™. To find out how it was done, see Annie Sloan Paints Everything published by CICO Books 2016. Photography by Christopher Drake © CICO Books.

Footstool upholstered with fabric painted with Chalk Paint® furniture paint by Annie Sloan in Emperor's Silk and Henrietta

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