INSIDE: How to recover kitchen bar stools. Redo thrift store kitchen stools with foam, laminated cotton fabric and spray adhesive.

DIY reupholster kitchen barstools using laminated cotton fabric and foam padding.

Have you ever purchased something from your local Craigslist? Interesting adventure, isn’t it?! Once you weed through the weird and wacky, there are some awesome gems out there. Case in point, our kitchen barstools.

We were on the hunt for six of them. We found four stools from a former ice cream parlor, who once seated folks enjoying banana splits and extra spinkles, and found another two from an auto body shop, previously covered in grease and motor fuel.

See how new fabric can bring life to an old item AND how I added padded fabric to an unpadded back.

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How To Easily Recover Bar Stools with Laminated Fabrics

After spending too much time fabric pattern surfing online, I located a fun colorful, retro pattern that was most importantly laminated and wipe-able to withstand the meal chaos that are my three kids.

Separate the seat from the stool and let’s get the rehab started!

Seat Supplies
Staple Gun and appropriate sized staples
– Hammer
– Fabric (I like to use laminated cotton fabric)

Padded Back Supplies
Staple Gun and appropriate sized staples
– Hammer
– Foam
– Cardboard (or heavy duty board, like a cereal box)
– Fabric (I like to use laminated cotton fabric)
3M 77 Multipurpose Spray Adhesive


How To Recover Thrift Store Kitchen Barstools

Barstool SEAT Redo:
Lay your fabric down, wrong side facing up. Place the seat on the fabric, wrong side also facing up. Since our seats were round, I cut a larger circle shape.

Enough to wrap around the seat, be pulled tight and comfortably be stapled to the bottom.

Pick where you want to start, pull tight and staple. To avoid pleats in the fabric, pull tight and overlap the fabric on the bottom.

Continue in this manner until you’ve covered and stapled the entire seat.

How to easily and quickly recover barstools and add a padded back
Adding a Padded BACK:
Our seats already had a padded back on the front of the stool that I recovered in a similar manner as explained above.

However, it didn’t have anything on the backside of the stool except boring black metal.

Since these stools can be seen from our adjoining family room, I wanted to see a pop of fun color.

How to recover barstools and add a padded back
Now I understand that every stool is designed differently.

In my case, I had to figure out a way to work around two back posts.

After staying up too late and playing with different ideas on how to add fabric to the back, I came up with the idea of using cardboard and foam to create padded inserts.

How to Add a padded back to a stool

I cut the cardboard and foam to fit the shape between the posts. (The foam sits atop the cardboard, and the cardboard side sits against the metal back of the stool.)

I then proceeded to wrap each of these inserts with the fabric, spraying it with (very sticky and messy – work outside if you can) spray adhesive.

How to recover barstools and add a padded back

I was able to squeeze each padded insert into the sections between the posts.

If your stool is post-less, use a light spray of the adhesive to secure the insert to the backside of the stool.

diy bar stool makeover for kids and busy families

What do you think? From auto body shop to retro cool kitchen bar stools!

How to recover barstools and add a padded back

What will you recover today?

How to recover barstools and add a padded back
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