DIY Network

How to Update a Stool

DIY host Nancy Golden shows how to give an old stool a contemporary look. Learn how to make your own stools look brand new with these easy-to-follow steps.

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make old stools look brand new
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Unscrew the Seat

Unscrew the seat of the stool from the legs. If necessary, make a new wooden seat, using the old seat as a template.

Note: Paint and fabric will determine the look of your remade stool. Paint the legs black to focus attention on the seat — or a bright primary color for use in a kid's room. The fabric will determine the style. Avoid large stripes and plaids since such patterns are too busy for a small seat cushion. A little fabric goes a long way on these small cushions: you can cover four cushions with just one yard of fabric.

Step 2: Paint the Base of the Stool

Brighten the base of the stool with spray paint. Prime first, and then apply two coats of paint in a color of your choice, allowing the surface to dry between coats.

Step 3: Design the Cushion

Make a new cushion for the seat with cushion foam, batting and fabric. Cut the cushion foam a bit bigger all around than the seat, and cut fabric and batting several inches larger so they can be attached to the back of the seat. Arrange the fabric face down on your work surface, and layer it with batting, cushion foam and the seat.

make new cushion for seat with cushion foam

Step 4: Attach the Fabric

Use a staple gun to attach fabric to the back of the seat. Staple one side near the edge, then pull fabric at the opposite side tight and staple it. Continue stapling alternate sides, smoothing wrinkles as you go. When you're finished, trim away the excess fabric.

use staple gun to attach fabric to back of seat

Step 5: Hide the Staples

Before reattaching the seat to the legs, staple a circle of black matte board to fit the underside of the seat. Camouflage the staples by coloring them with black permanent marker.

staple black matte board to fit underside of seat