Holiday Dining Guide: Dining chairs

In anticipation of entertaining, give your chairs a tuneup.
In anticipation of entertaining, give your chairs a tuneup. (Hickory Chair)
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Before the holidays, the workroom of Upholstery Restoration & Select Fabrics in Kensington (, a favorite of D.C. designer Stan Kelly, becomes jammed with dining chairs in for a tuneup: fresh fabric on the seats and regluing.

Owner O'B O'Brien has a simple test to see if your dining chair needs its joints attended to: Facing the chair, put your knee on the seat and put your left arm on the back of the chair, then pull back and forth. If it wiggles or wobbles, it needs attention.

For $50 to $75 a chair, O'Brien will take apart the loose joints, clean off the old glue, apply new glue and put clamps on the chair for 24 hours. The firm will re-cover a standard dining chair slip seat for $45. You'll need to provide one yard of fabric to upholster two seats. If your chair padding could use a boost, they'll add high-density foam for $10 a chair.

For the DIY crowd, it's possible to change the fabric on your chair seats yourself using a staple gun.

If you end up with additional guests and no more matching dining chairs, no worries. Nestor Santa-Cruz, a design director at Gensler in the District, has a go-to favorite from Ikea ( with a lot of style for a low price: the $12.99 Nisse chair in citrus yellow. (For the color shy, it also comes in black.)

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