How to Update the Padding on a Wood Stool

In this tutorial, learn how to remove and change the padding on a wood stool seat for an updated look.
thrifted stool before, during and after makeover
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If you have a wooden stool that needs a new, comfy padded seat, it's much easier than you might think, and can be completed for under $15!

The grungiest stool

I found the grungiest stool at Goodwill, and decided to buy it! It really had nothing going for it, except that it was wood! The plan was just to remove the yucky fabric and paint the stool, but I ran into some issues and had to repad the entire seat!

grungy, dirty thrifted stool, screws in seat

Thankfully this project is an easy one, and even if you're an amateur DIYer, you can do this! I'll walk you through all the steps to a pretty new and updated stool cover.

How to Replace a Padded Stool Seat

So, I'm betting than if you had walked by this stool at Goodwill, 99.9% of you would have walked right by! Not me, ha! Why did I buy it? Well, I was looking for a stool to use at my craft table in my office, and it was only $7.99. I thought I could just remove the cover, slap a new coat of paint on it and I'd be done.

Screws in the seat!

This stool was dirty, grungy, had an old yucky cover and, like I discovered when I removed the cover and padding, I wasn't going to be able to just paint the seat. It had screws in the top and nobody wants to sit on that, so I had to put new padding on it.

This 30 minute paint job turned into a 2 hour makeover. Now that it's done, I love it! A fresh coat of paint and flirty new ticking stripe cover gave this wooden stool all the charm it could handle!

Removing a stool cover

Before I could add the pretty, it had to get a little messy! This process is the same whether you're working on a stool or replacing the fabric on a dining chair

Steps to remove a stool cover:

  1. Flip the stool over onto a sturdy tabletop.
  2. Use a staple remover and pliers to pull out all the staples that are holding the fabric and old padding in place.
  3. Clean the grime with a degreaser, like Totally Awesome.
  4. Paint stool with a new coat or two of paint (I like to use chalk paint because it will cover even glossy old paint with no sanding necessary - the color I used was Lace).

Tips: when you're working with a grungy piece, I always like to wear disposable gloves, and even a face mask to protect myself.

removing old padding from a wood stool seat

Make a new padded stool seat 

I'll admit I was dreading this process, but it was easier than I expected, which is always a bonus! 

Before you go to the craft store, you'll need to measure your stool seat and purchase padding. I bought both 1" foam, as well as natural cotton batting from Hobby Lobby. You will also need to purchase fabric to cover the seat. This will be the fabric that is seen, unless you opt to sew a ruffled stool cover, like I did.

Steps to add padding to a stool seat:

  1. Trace stool seat onto foam and cut out with scissors.
  2. Do a dry fit to make sure the foam adequately covers the stool. I doubled my foam but this isn't necessary.
  3. Cut a square of batting large enough to cover the seat, with excess that wraps under the stool.
  4. Cut fabric large enough to cover seat, with excess that wraps under stool.
  5. Center stool seat, with foam, then batting, then fabric (in that order) on top of the fabric 'sandwich'. See pictures below for details.
  6. Starting at one end, pull fabric tight and staple with a heavy duty staple gun. Do the opposite side, then the two sides before filling in between with heavy duty staples.
  7. Cut excess fabric with scissors.
Tip: be sure to pull fabric taut before stapling, and work your way around stool in small sections.

adding new padding and fabric to stool seat

At this point, your stool seat is finished, yay! Test out the new padding for comfort and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

Important note: If you aren't planning to make a stool slipcover, you'll want to staple your fabric a little further away from the edge than I did. If you zoom into the below pictures, you can see the edge of the fabric peeking out from the bottom.

neutral padded stool, ruffled towel, basket, flowers, copper

painted stool, ticking stripe ruffled cover, star basket, blue and white transferware

If this tutorial helped save your stool from the curb, please let me know! As always, I love to hear about your success with my tutorials.

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painted stool, neutral padded seat, basket, flowers

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