UpholsterCycle DIY Upholstery

How to Upholster a Corner on Furniture

how to upholster a corner

In this tutorial, we explain how to upholster a corner on home furniture step-by-step, including sofas, chairs, benches, stools and more.

Perhaps one of the most difficult and challenging tasks of any furniture project is upholstering around the outside of a corner. However, with the right tools, techniques, and understanding, you can achieve professional-looking results on any DIY project.

In this article, we explain how to upholster around a corner on furniture of all types. While the main focus is on home furniture such as chairs and sofas, the same techniques will also apply to boat upholstery seats and outdoor furniture. Let’s jump in.

How to Upholster a Corner

Essential Materials and Tools

As with any home upholstering project, you will need several materials and tools to get the job done right the first time. Make sure you have your tools and materials handy, so you do not have to stop mid-task to purchase anything.

  • Fabric, Vinyl, or Leather
  • Foam Padding
  • Staple Gun (learn more here)
  • Staples
  • Rotary Cutter or Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Glue Sticks
  • Kraft Paper

If you are new to upholstering, you can learn more about these essential tools in our upholstery tools and equipment guide.

how to upholster around a corner
TIP: When learning how to upholster around a corner, choose furniture with simple corners and straight edges. Avoid complex designs and curves as shown here, as these will make the task more difficult.

PART 1 | How to Upholster a Corner – Preparation

#1 Remove the Old Fabric

If you are working on an existing piece of furniture, then it’s important to remove the old fabric first in order to create a template for the new material. The task of removing the old fabric can be daunting, and you are bound to get covered in years of dust and mites from its regular use. But assuming you are able to remove all of the old fabric cleanly, you can use it to create new templates with the help of some kraft paper.

Here is a video demonstration for removing upholstery fabric from furniture, to help you along:

Video Source: youtube.com/watch?v=qe9i7hFN85Q

#2 Measure and Cut Fabric

Regardless of whether you are working from a template, or starting from scratch, it’s important to make sure that you measure twice and cut once. The last thing you want to do is cut a piece of fabric too short or at an off-angle. If you do not measure accordingly, you may end up wasting a lot of material in the process.

In order to get the correct measurements for upholstering around the outside of a corner, you will need to measure the length of each side of the corner you plan on upholstering. From that figure, you will add an additional 2 to 3 inches to the length of each side, giving you adequate additional material for folding and stapling.

#3 Prepare the Corner for Upholstery

The corner that you are going to reupholster needs to be free from dust, debris, and any pre-existing fasteners. After wiping down the surface, carefully slide your fingers across the surface to feel for any rough spots. If there are any pieces of staples left in the material, try to dig them out before attaching the material.

Chances are, you’ll need to add a little bit of padding to help cover the underlying material and ensure that the corner looks neat and professional. With the help of some extra kraft paper, you can make an accurate template of the edge of the furniture, which will help you to cut and shape the foam padding.

Using your hot glue gun, attach the foam padding to the corner and make sure that it is securely fastened. If the foam padding is not held in place securely, there’s a chance that it can move around when covering it with the fabric.

Now that your corner is prepared, we can move onto how to upholster a corner with your new fabric.

PART 2 | How to Upholster Around a Corner – Technique

#1 Start Upholstering

Now that your pre-work is done, you can begin to position your fabric around the corner. Before you start attaching the new fabric, first, make sure that the material is able to cover the entire side of the furniture, and wraps around the corner to the adjacent sides.

How to Upholster a Corner on Furniture:

  1. Start by pulling the fabric gently, but firmly, around the first corner.
  2. Secure the fabric in place using your staple gun. Place the staples on the underside of the piece of furniture, so that it cannot be seen. You want the staples to be as close to the edge as possible, but not so close that you risk tearing the fabric.
  3. Continue applying staples around the entire corner of the furniture, to firmly attach the fabric to the frame. Keep the staples spaced at about 1 or 2 inches from each other.

That is the first corner completed. Next, you will need to work on the sides.

Here is a video demonstration to help you visualise the process:

#2 Working on Adjacent Sides

Next, you need to work on one of the adjacent sides of the corner. Take care to pull the fabric tight and folded as neatly as possible around the edge of the adjacent side. Once you feel comfortable that the fabric has been pulled around the corner tightly and evenly, begin stapling from the corner and work your way out. Take the time to ensure that no puckering or wrinkles form as you go.

#3 Finish the Corners

The hardest part comes down to working with the excess fabric that you will encounter in the corner itself. Once you have taken the time to completely upholster all of the sides, it is time to tidy up the corners by folding them professionally.

This process takes time and effort to create carefully and neatly folded pleats in the material. The more time you spend on this part of the corner, the more professional-looking the final piece will be. To make a good fold, you will want to fold the material first diagonally, to form a tight corner. From there, you can pull the material taunt and staple it on the underside

#4 Check and Adjust

The fact is, that when you start folding and pleating the corners, the loose fabric along the sides tends to become uneven and will often pucker up or wrinkle. When this happens, you’ll need to carefully remove any staples in the affected area, readjust the fabric, and then re-staple it back in place.

#5 Trim Excess Fabric

After you have completely upholstered around all of the corners of your work, stand it upright and take the time to walk around the piece multiple times to inspect your handiwork. During this inspection, you may notice certain defects in your handiwork, and it is important to identify and fix them before you trim any excess fabric.

If you are lucky enough to have a rotary cutter, this tool will be very helpful in ensuring that your trimming is clean and neat. If you use scissors, make sure they are sharp enough to cut the fabric cleanly and easily. A good pair of heavy fabric shears are always the best option for making clean cuts. Take your time, being careful not to cut the material too close to the edge of the staples, as this can result in the material ripping under regular use. You will want to leave about a 1/4 to 3/8ths of an inch of material to prevent fraying.

Conclusion

That concludes our tutorial on how to upholster a corner on furniture. Corners are tricky to work with, but the key as with most hobbies is to keep practicing. The results will not be professional standard the first time around, but with some practice and a feel for how to fabric moves and folds, then you will eventually learn how to upholster around a corner to a near-professional standard. Test the technique on a few cheap pieces of furniture first, before tackling your beloved items.

To give upholstering corners some practice, why not try some of our step-by-step upholstery projects including upholstering a dining chair and upholster an ottoman. Happy upholstering!