How To: Reupholster a Tub Chair

Happy Spring Remodelaholic readers.  Jaime from That’s My Letter here today to share a reupholstery project.  How to recover a tub chair and completely change the look.

tub chair

My friend recently was looking to get rid of two Ikea Tullsta tub chairs.  They were older, dated and covered in brown leather that just didn’t suit my style.  Time for a furniture makeover.

tub chair before and after

I reupholstered the chairs in a classic blue and white ticking, added wheels for mobility and finished off the look with a red pillow trimmed in white pom poms.

tub chair 1

tub chair collage

These tub chairs are a great addition to our family room space and the wheels make them fun and completely mobile for additional seating where ever we need it.

How To Reupholster A Tub Chair | That's My Letter on

 How to Reupholster a Tub Chair


  • tub chair
  • 4 yards home dec fabric @ 54″ wide
  • 10 yards cotton cording (1 package)
  • 4 – 5″ swivel casters (2 with break)
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • scissors
  • rotary cutter
  • self healing mat
  • clear ruler
  • 22″ heavy duty zipper
  • staple gun
  • staples
  • pliers
  • flat head screwdriver

tub chair step 1

Step 1: Unscrew the wood legs and begin removing staples using flat head screwdriver and pliers from the black base cover.

tub chair step 1-1

tub chair step 2

Step 2: Remove all the staples in order to loosen leather from frame.

Step 3: Gently pull leather off of frame keeping big pieces in tact.

tub chair step 4

 Step 4: Label all leather pieces.  (You really only need one side of the leather pieces, just reverse to make the other side.)

tub chair step 5

Step 5: Begin with largest piece (center back typically).  Place leather pattern on fold of new fabric and cut center back.  I opted to make fewer seams than the original leather by combining two panels.

tub chair step 6

Step 6: Begin sewing panels together.  Make both the interior paneled section and exterior back section.

tub chair step 7

Step 7: To make the piping cut 2″ strips on the bias.

tub chair step 8

Step 8: To make the piping sew binding strips together by lining up bias cut (A)  then sew pieces at a 90 angle (B).  Press seam open (C) and the final seam (D).  Make 10 yards of piping for each chair.

tub chair step 9

Step 9: Sew cotton cording into binding by placing cording in the middle and folding binding over.   Use a zipper foot to get seam as tight as possible.

tub chair step 9-1

tub chair step 10

Step 10: Pin the piping to top raw edge of interior back.

tub chair step 11

Step 11: Place exterior panel on top of interior (right sides together) matching up center backs.

tub chair step 12-1

Step 12: Sew panels together (still using zipper foot) with piping in between.  Start at the center back and complete one side.

tub chair step 12

tub chair step 12-2

 Step 12 continued: Sew other half of main body.

tub chair step 13

Step 13: Pin piping to raw edge of arm portion.

tub chair step 14

Step 14: Pin front arm piece at center top to main body portion then sew in place.

tub chair step 14-1

tub chair step 15

Step 15: Staple raw edges of interior panels to crevice of frame at seat.

tub chair step 16

Step 16: Staple raw edges of exterior panels to underside base.

tub chair step 17

Step 17: Staple the front panel cover into seat crevice and under base.

tub chair step 18

Step 18: Replace black base cover by using staples.

tub chair step 19

Step 19: Cut seat cushion pieces – top, bottom, side panel, piping

tub chair step 20

Step 20: Make zipper closure panel.

tub chair step 21

Step 21: Sew side panel to top with piping in between.  Repeat same process for bottom piece.

tub chair step 22

Step 22: Sew zipper panel onto side panel at ends.  Then pin piping in place and continue to finish sewing top and bottom panels.  ** Be sure to leave zipper open in order to turn right side out after sewing.

tub chair wheelsStep 23: Paint interior of wheels, first white then red acrylic.  Seal red with clear gloss varnish to prevent chipping.

tub chair wheels attached


Step 24: Attach wheels to base, predrill and use wood screws to fit.

Your tub chair is ready, now try to keep your kids from rolling all around the house!

tub chair before and after

If sewing is not your thing then consider building a piece of furniture.  I recently constructed this pipe and wood slats bed for my son:

pipe wood slats bed

All the details including construction plans and dimensions can be found here.

And of course don’t forget the handsome nightstand to go with the pipe bed:

handsome nightstand

This very masculine nightstand is a nice simple build you can check out here.

And lastly something for your dining or living room, my most recent build is this sliding barn door console:

sliding barn door console

It’s a knock off project and you won’t believe the retail price.  Never fear you can DIY this barn door console, link to plans in my post here.

Jaime signature


More reupholstering tips and tutorials:

reupholster slip cover tutorial
easy slipcover instructions from Adventures in Creating on Remodelaholic
reupholster painted upholstery
how to paint upholstery from Hyphen Interiors on Remodelaholic
reupholster wingback chair
how to reupholster a wingback chair by Savvy Design on Remodelaholic
reupholster tips wingback chair
More tips for recovering a wingback chair from Diffen Dwelling on Remodelaholic
reupholster side chair
how to reupholster a square side chair by Unexpected Elegance on Remodelaholic
reupholster chair center
reuphostering tips and tricks from The Fickle Hobbyist on Remodelaholic
reupholster cane chair
how to reupholster a cane chair by Peacefully Home on Remodelaholic

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  1. I have these exact chairs BUT the seat cushions are attached, or should I say it only looks like it has a seat cushion. Do you know how I’d be able to recreate that same look if I were to reupholster them? Thanks in advance!!