How to: Upholster Bar Stools in a Jiffy

July 4, 2012
In: Home Decor
Upholstered IKEA Bar Stools

Nowadays everybody has an work island in their kitchen, or if you’re a carefree bachelor – a bar. With these pieces comes a great responsibility: bar stools. If you’re anything like me, by the time you’ve got to picking out bar stools you’re at the stage where your budget has run out and you’re looking for the cheapest option available. For me that means IKEA. Unfortunately, the simple stools are boring, and not easy on my aching tail bone either. So if IKEA it is, IKEA hack is coming up (in fact, even the fabric I used was from IKEA)!

We’ve had these bar stools for a while, and I’ve already posted their upholstered pictures when I posted about my home makeover. However, they’re so easy, cheap and fast to make – I decided that I must share.

Upholstered IKEA Bar Stools Before

The upholstery can be done with or without a sewing machine. If you do choose to use a sewing machine, you will get a cleaner look, and can even add piping for a more professional finish. But, if you just want to get it over with – go ahead with the no sew version.


  • Staple gun and staples
  • Fabric marker
  • Scissors
  • About 1/2 meter of fabric for each stool
  • Foam (enough to cover the seat)
  • Batting (optional, it will soften the edges of the seat)
  • A baby sitter for the kids (if you have them. Working with a staple gun when there are children around is a bad idea)
  • Sewing machine and notions if you plan to make the sewn version.


  1. Spread the fabric on the floor and place the batting over it. Place the chair seat upside down on the fabric. Mark a circle around the seat. Do the same with the foam.Upholstered IKEA Bar Stools
  2. Cut the foam on the circle mark you made in step 1. If you don’t have a good craft knife, use scissors. They cut foam well, and any uneven edges will be hidden by the fabric.

  3. Mark a second circle around the first circle on the fabric and the batting, still together: If you are planning to make the sewn version, make the second circle about 1.5 cm larger than the first. Otherwise, make it about 10 cm larger (it should be long enough to cover the foam, seat and overlap enough to staple onto the seat bottom). Cut around the larger of the two circles.

  4. If you are sewing: Measure the diameter of the seat. Cut a strip of fabric and batting 4 times that length by 12 cm wide (make sure that it will be enough to cover the foam and seat etc.). With fabric and batting held together, fold over one short edge 2 cm and pin.

    If you want to add piping, sew in on to the strip now, stitching very close to the long edge of the strip.

    Pin the strip to the circle, right sides together (batting on wrong sides…), starting with the folded edge. When you complete the circle, pin your raw edge behind the folded edge and cut the excess fabric and batting.

    Sew all around the circle. When you are done, edge stitch the folded edge of the strip to finish it nicely (any raw edges will be on the inside). Cut excess fabric and turn right side out.

  5. Place fabric with batting on the floor. Place foam in the center of the circle. Place chair upside down on the foam. Fold over one side of the fabric and staple in place. Do the same on the opposite edge. Do the same in the center of both other edges. Start stapling around the entire seat, the closer the staples are to each other – the better the upholstery will hold, and the less loose ends will show.

    Trim excess fabric.

    Upholstered IKEA Bar Stools

Turn over and enjoy!

Upholstered IKEA Bar Stools

You could use easy to clean vinyl fabric for the upholstery, but I figure these are so easy to make, if they get dirty – I’ll just replace it with a new fabric!

[This tutorial is free for commercial use. Please read the Terms & Conditions for further details.]


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