Good Housekeeping, how to, Style

How To: Recover Patio Seat Cushions

When I married Bryan, I inherited this adorable cafe table and chairs.  B’s mom lovingly, and carefully painted it bright red, and covered the seats in red and white canvas for us, and it was truly a great set.  But, years in the sun faded out the canvas, and then a year in storage didn’t do much for the fabric.  It was high time to recover the seats, especially since I have a little party coming up this weekend.

I am neither as good at, nor as equipped to cover chair seats as my mother-in-law (who owns a staple gun! I admire this woman so much!), and I am also cheap.  Lucky for me, I grew up watching Todd Oldham on MTV’s House of Style, so I know all about faking fabulous.  He used to do these great episodes about recovering chairs with old sheets, hot glue, and buttons.  I thought about that after a couple of weeks worth of me hunting for what I wanted on the internet failed, and I decided to hit up Ross and see what I could find.

What I found were three great, vinyl tablecloths for $4 each.  Just enough to cover the cafe table chairs, and give some new life to my other patio dining table and chairs.  Along with a roll of duct tape that cost about $2, I can spruce it up nicely.  Tonight, I worked on the cafe table.  Tomorrow night I’ll hit the bigger set.

I started with this Waverly tablecloth. It was felt backed, so I thought that would give the covers a little longer life.


I plopped a seat cushion down in the corner of the tablecloth (60″x120″ sized rectangle), and started cutting as though I were wrapping a Christmas present.


Those of you who have received Christmas presents from me will not be surprised to find out that I used an obscene amount of tape to secure the cover. I pulled and tucked, and taped as I worked for a smooth top of the cushion, and sides that were flat enough to fit into the chair rims. Duct Tape. Is there nothing it can’t do?


The finished product looked like this.


Thor gave the newly revived seats two thumbs-up.


I had enough tablecloth left to cover the glass top of the table, which has become smokey over the years. I tucked the tablecloth into the table frame, then went to work cutting around the edges like it was a pie crust.


And now, for $6, my little table is ready for the party. And when it’s said and done, I won’t feel bad about having to recover it because I only spent $6.

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