How to Reupholster a Lazyboy Recliner

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Sometimes, a slight change in your house can be a real stress buster. While it is not always possible to buy new things, reupholstering your Lazyboy recliner can change the look of your living room quite a bit.

How to Reupholster a Lazyboy Recliner

The process of reupholstering a La-z-boy Recliner is straightforward. I’ve broken it down into a few easy steps.

Materials Needed

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Nylon thread
  • Foam piping cord
  • White polyester batting
  • Upholstery tack strip
  • Cardboard upholstery tack strip
  • White elastic
  • Black cambric dust cover fabric
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • 5-ply waxed twine
  • Polyurethane foam with fabric backing
  • Marking chalk for fabric

Tools Needed

  • Tack and staple remover
  • Rawhide upholstery mallet
  • Gingher scissors right / left-handed
  • Shortnose upholstery staple gun
  • Multiuse pins 1 ½” (250 pins)
  • Clear acrylic ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Comfort grip rotary cutter
  • Super 77 spray adhesive 16.75oz
  • Assorted curved hand sewing needles
  • Mpl4 industrial stapling plier stapler
  • Torques bit
  • Dual wire cutters
  • Sewing machine
  • Tape machine
  • Sharpie marker
  • Wrench

Step #1: Dismantling the Recliner

Make sure to click pictures while dismantling or fixing the Lazy-boy recliner after every step so that there are no problems during reassembly.

A recliner can be dismantled in two ways:

Releasing Locking Levers

  1. Tilt the sofa so that the back faces the top. If your recliner has a detachable back, lift it to expose the inner frame.
  2. Locate and loosen the Velcro strap or snap, attaching the fiber to the frame. Then remove the upholstered panel.
  3. Check the sides of the recliner to find the locking levers. While the levers are typically at the side of the recliner, if your recliner has a central console, look around it to find the levers.
  4. Check the side and the rear for other locking levers. Release them carefully to dismantle the recliner.

Removing the Bolt Bars

  1. Turn the recliner upside down and locate the bolt bars. Seek someone’s help here, as it is heavy.
  2. Unfasten the bolts that attach the bar to the bottom of the recliner. This is to be done carefully and ensure not to lose any of the bolts.
  3. After finishing the process, attach the bolts tightly and in the correct position so that the recliner functions correctly.

If you have a power recliner, make sure to remove the battery and all power connections properly before you proceed with the dismantling process.

Step #2: Estimate the Fabric Needed 

Measure every dismantled part of the recliner that needs to be reupholstered. You can add some extra fabric for stapling purposes to save the hassle of sewing.

It is recommended not to use a very linear pattern. The chair’s moving parts may make lining the pattern up difficult, make it less aesthetic and sloppier.

Knowing the amount of fabric needed in advance is very useful; it helps you reduce your expenditure and prevent wastage.

Step #3: Decide If You Want To Keep The Old Fabric

This is the most critical and important step. You can choose to keep the old fabric and put the new upholstery for the furniture above it, or you can choose to rip the old fabric apart.

To take the old fabric off, you can use a seam ripper and the tack remover.

If you decide to remove the existing fabric, it is recommended to remove the material from the arms first, followed by the seat deck and then the backrest.

You can then trace the old fabric and cut pieces of your replacement fabric with ease.

Step #4: Replace the Arm Covers

The arm covers are the most important part of any quality recliners when it comes to reupholstering and hence need to be dealt with with care.

Start by making proper patterns for the arm cover using acrylic rulers. It is followed by making piping using Polyurethane Foam.

After the piping is done properly, start with the sewing process if needed. Make sure it is done from side to center in order to maintain consistency.

Set the acrylic rulers at an angle of 45 degrees with both the bottom and side edge of the fabric when marking. This will ensure proper dimensions and reduce wastage.

Step #5: Reupholster the Deck

After finishing the arm covers, start working on the deck. It is a larger part and almost follows a similar pattern but needs to be done meticulously.

Pattern, sew, and cover the deck with the new fabric, keeping in mind all the precautions used while covering the arm cover. Then re-install the deck to the frame.

Then start sewing the inside of the deck. Sew from the inside to the outside and start with the top plate and the top face.

After the top face is done, move to either the left or right sides and then proceed to work on the other side. Finish by sewing up the bottom.

Step #6: Cover Up the Buttons

Covering the buttons could be challenging, but you can use hardware that makes your job easier. You can use the same fabric to cover the buttons while keeping them easily distinguishable.

The hardware is called Cover Button Refill. Since it is difficult to find a long enough needle, use a thin screwdriver to pierce the fabric and attach the button to its head.

Read the instructions behind the button kit package carefully before proceeding.  This will help you ensure that your buttons are fixed properly.

Step #7: Tuft the Cushion

It is an optional step to be done only if you wish to tuft the cushion. This is done by using wax thread and an upholstery needle.

You can insert foam into the cushion if you feel your recliner could be a bit more comfortable. Do it after tufting the cushion, and make sure not to overdo it.

Step #8: Reassemble the Recliner

Depending on how you had dismantled your recliner, make sure to assemble it properly. Make sure to reassemble in a systematic manner to avoid damage.

Refer to pictures of the recliner you had clicked while dismantling in order to avoid any errors or imperfections.

Here is a comprehensive video guide to help you understand the process better.

How to Reupholster a Recliner Chair

Tips for Reupholstering Fabric with Ease

  • Cut pieces of the new fabric precisely to the recliner’s dimensions to cover the dismantled part you are working on. Ensure to properly tug, pull, and fold the fabric before stapling. 
  • Use a staple gun to attach the new fabric to the frame. Always start from the middle and not the sides. While stapling, ensure that the fabric is tight in all instances.
  • While working on the corner, staple the center of each corner first. Keep folding and stapling till you receive the desired appearance.
  • The La-z-boy recliner has some cardboard parts inside it. Do not staple fabric to these parts. You can use a hot glue gun instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost to Reupholster a La-z-boy Recliner?

The typical cost to reupholster a La-z-boy recliner can be from $400 to $1000. This cost includes both labor and fabric charge. The labor charge can be avoided by doing the process oneself and hence reducing cost considerably.

Is It Better to Buy New or Reupholster?

Both have their pros and cons.  Reupholstering saves time, is hassle-free, and often saves money if done by oneself. However, if the quality of the existing recliner isn’t good enough, consider buying a new one.

Are Recliners Challenging to Reupholster?

Reupholstering looks more complicated than it is. If you follow the instructions given above and do it with care, it can be done easily and in a cost-effective manner.


Reupholstering a recliner can be quite gratifying to pull off, as long as you follow the instructions and don’t get messy. If you can’t wait for the Lazy Boy store sales, reupholstering can be cost-effective and time-saving if done properly and with precautions. It is an effort worth making to make your house look new and better.

Brett E.

Brett E. is the Owner of  Brett comes from a long line of craftsman and foreman, and has been involved with the construction and renovation world ever since he was a boy while working for his families construction and remodeling company.  After graduating with a a degree in Interior Design, Brett is the go to guy for any interior design or remodeling questions!