What are the Basics of Furniture Repair?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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Furniture repair can be a nice hobby. If you are patient, and have some time to invest in learning how to do repair work, furniture repair allows you to turn a formally forgotten or neglected piece of furniture into a usable treasure. There are many facets to furniture repair, and you will need to learn a variety of skills to get started.

Some people interested in furniture repair start by learning to reupholster pieces. Reupholstering a piece of furniture requires patience and an eye for detail. It is easiest to start with a piece that doesn’t have a large area to reupholster. A wooden dining room chair with a covered seat is one example.

The first step is to remove the old fabric. If it is in relatively good shape, you can use it as a pattern for your new covering. If it has rips or is otherwise in poor shape, you can make a template out of newspaper or inexpensive muslin.

The padding underneath the chair will need to be replaced as well. Most sewing shops as well as many craft and big box stores have cushions for a variety of types of furniture. The cost will depend on the quality of what you purchase. A dense foam rubber cushion will cost more, last longer and be more comfortable than a cushion cut from less dense craft foam or cotton batting.


Once you have your new fabric cut to fit your chair and a new cushion, you are ready to finish the piece. With a dining room chair, you can probably stretch the cloth across the top of the chair and staple it underneath. When you progress to armchairs and more complex furniture, sewing skills will become more important. The basics are the same, however; measure and cut carefully and stretch the fabric tightly before securing it.

Furniture repairs such as broken rungs or wobbly seats can be simple and inexpensive as well. While each furniture repair will be unique, there are several things to keep in mind. Remove the broken piece and repair any other damage.

For example, if a slat in a chair back breaks off, you will need to replace the slat as well as remove any of the broken slat from the hole where the replacement will go. Locate or fashion a replacement piece. Purchasing a replacement is often less expensive than fashioning your own, unless you have a full workshop of woodworking tools.

Replace the new piece, ideally using two methods to secure it. For example, use wood glue and a screw to hold the new piece in place. Finally, use a vise to hold the repaired piece steady while you are working on it and until it is completely dry.


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Post 1

The best way to approach it, especially in antique restoration, is to keep a professional contact on hand just in case.

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