I love chairs. Big chairs, mini chairs, long chairs, short chairs, stool like chairs, - chairs of all shapes and sizes tickle my proverbial fancy. I'm not sure why chairs pull at my heart strings so - but I do know that if I had the space and a budget of unlimited means - I would be a chair cat lady. Chairs would be spilling out of my house, onto the lawn and crapping in other peoples flower beds.
The way I look at a chair before purchase or prior to presenting my pleading case to the wiser half - is, does it have good bones? I could care less what it's material skin looks like or it's muscle and padding - the bones are all I desire. The easiest way to transform a new-to-you piece of furniture is to give it new skin.
I bought a used bench seat off of a lady and she gave a second, slightly more beat up, slightly mouldier and rustier version of the one I bought for free. I was thrilled. Some people might say, "Nah lady, keep your crap!" - but not me. I sanded back the rust, eradicated the mould and have now given her a new jacket. Seriously, the easiest thing you can to do jazz up an old piece.
First thing you need to do is strip the material off the piece. Try to get as many nails/staples off the base as you can but I wouldn't worry too much - sometimes there can be hundreds (as I so rightly found out). If there are way more than you want to tend to, just staple over them with your new material and no one will be the wiser! The size of your material totally depends on the item you are recovering. Just lay the item top down on your fabric and cut around it - making sure you leave enough excess to run up the sides, on to the back and fold over to create a clean edge.
I like to staple the long sides first - when you are stapling your fabric give it a bit of a tug to keep it tight when you adhere it to your base - it will help to create a nice clean top with no ripples or bumps. I even put a bit of pressure on the base to squish down the padding - creating an even smoother finish. When you start on the last two small sides you want to tuck in the edges like a fancy present you are giving to your favourite wife on a holiday you don't believe in. This is probably the most challenging part of the recovering process. Hold strong - you will get it. And once you've put it all back together you are done!