How to DIY Reupholster your old bar stools to look new again

I was a little picky when choosing bar stools for our new kitchen bench. I wanted stools that had four legs, that didnt spin or go up and down, and that could be pushed underneith the bench out of view when not being used.

I found these Freedom bar stools on Ebay and was able to purchase two lots from two different sellers. I bought my first two for $20 and another 4 for $25.


These leather freedom bench chairs were all cracked along the stitching

Unfortunately looks can be deceiving when all you have to go by is a couple of photos in bad lighting so I didnt realise how badly damaged they were when bidding on them. The metal bases were all in good nick but the leather seats were soon cracking around the edge on the stitching.

So I measured the stools and set off to Spotlight with the idea of re-covering them without too much expense. I timed my shopping right and was able to pick up some good quality charcoal grey upholstery material while it was on sale for $10 per meter. The beauty about re-upholstering your own stools is that you can choose from a massive variety of materials to suit your décor and once you see how easy it is to do, you can change the upholstery as frequently as you like.

This is how I did it:

Cut the trim along the stitching with a cutting knife.

I tried recovering the chairs straight over the top of the leather with the little trim still attached however this made it really difficult to get a nice edge so I got rid of the trim by cutting along the stitching.

No need to remove the leather.

I tried to remove the leather completely from the stool, however this also removed all the padding from the chair because the leather, padding and seat are all glued together. It was also messy since the leather tore as I pulled it off. So unless you want to replace the padding, I would leave the leather on.

re-upholster freedom bench chair
Cut your material to size.


This piece of material was approximately 70m wide (and whatever length the rolls are at the shop). It was charcoal on top with a second black layer underneath which made it nice and thick-pretty much the stuff that is used to cover your lounge.

You need at least 5m-10cm on each side of the seat to allow for the material to be pulled around and stapled.

I didn’t draw any lines, I just laid the seats along the material with an even gap between the them and cut away.




Use a spray adhesive to glue the material to the top side of the stool.

Using the adhesive glue will keep the material still while you staple. It’s like upholstery hair spray! You only need a thin layer. I did all the chairs at once, stacked them on top of each other, went away to have lunch, then came back an hour or two later to start the stapling.

A paint- on glue would work the same but don’t paste it on too thick. The glue needs to be suitable for material so that it holds long-term. My seats have a curve in them towards the back and I wanted the material to sit neatly on that curve. This spray glue cost about $7 and I used maybe a quarter of a can.

Use a staple gun to staple the underside to the chair.

I started with the sides first, then did the front, then the back. You will find the back corners will be the hardest.

Pull the material just enough. Put a staple in the middle of the side that you are working on, and make your way to the corners.

Turn it over frequently as you staple to ensure the sides look smooth from the top-side.

As you move closer to the corners you will need to put small folds in the material. Keep turning the seat over to ensure that the folds are not obvious from the top-side. It doesn’t matter how messy the under-side looks but you want it to look nice and smooth from the top-side.

Screw the legs back on and give the metal legs a clean with a mixture of lemon and cream of tartare to remove any rust.
Ta daaa!!


The lemon and cream of tartare paste was an idea that I picked up from Pinterest, since I needed to use something I already had in the cupboard. I found it remove a good amount of the orange rust that had formed under the seat as well as the grubby hand prints on the legs and made the metal look nice and shiny.

These stools were worth over $100 each to purchase new.

My cost:

6 second hand stools: $65

adhesive glue $7

1.5m of upholstery material $15

Total cost for 6 newly upholstered stools: $87,  I saved over $700.


Sandy xx



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