Make old, wooden bar stools cozy and colorful.

How to Make Backless Bar Stool Cushions

by Eric Jonas

Whether you’ve gotten bored with the pattern on your bar stools or you’ve given the room a makeover, you can transform the stools easily to give them new life and help them blend in with any decor. If the stools have always been uncomfortable -- not enough padding or a little too much -- now is the perfect opportunity to replace the old padding and make the stools some of the most comfortable seats in the house.

Measure the diameter of the bar stool's top and add 5 inches to the measurement. Use a compass circle to draw a circle on your choice of fabric. If your bar stool is square or rectangular, add 2 inches to the length and width and draw the shape accordingly. Cut out the shape from the fabric.

Sew a zigzag stitch all the way around the outer edge of the fabric. Alternatively, serge around the outer edge instead if you have a serger.

Measure the circumference of the bar stool's top and subtract 3 inches. Cut a piece of 1/4-inch-wide elastic to this length.

Sew the elastic around the outer edge of the fabric with a zigzag stitch, pulling firmly on the elastic as you sew. Backstitch as you begin and finish sewing the elastic to the fabric.

Lay the foam padding on your work surface and put the new cover on the padding. Try the cushion on the bar stool to ensure it fits well.

Cut a few scraps from your leftover fabric, each at least 1 1/2 inches square. Wrap one fabric scrap over the front half of a button. Tuck fabric into the hollow in the back, cut off the excess, and slide on the back piece of the button to secure the fabric to the button. Repeat to make three more small covered buttons.

Remove the cushion from the stool and arrange the decorative buttons evenly spaced. Sew each one in place, pulling the thread through both the fabric and the cushion to attach the buttons securely. Pull tightly to sink the button into the cushion, which will make it more comfortable for sitting.

Items you will need

  • Compass circle
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Sewing machine or sewing needle and thread
  • Serger (optional)
  • 1/4-inch-wide elastic
  • 1 1/2-inch foam padding
  • Covered button kit for 4 small buttons


  • If you’d like to make interchangeable covers, skip the buttons and make several covers instead. Now you can slide the cover over the foam padding and the stool top to attach it and then just slide it off to replace it with a new cover any time you like.
  • Use small covered buttons for the bar stool. Large buttons will protrude from the cushion, making it a less comfortable seat.


  • Pillows, Cushions and Tuffets; Carol Zentgraf
  • Easy to Sew Cushions & Covers; Dorothy Wood

About the Author

Eric Jonas has been writing in small-business advertising and local community newsletters since 1998. Prior to his writing career, he became a licensed level II gas technician and continues to work in the field, also authoring educational newsletters for others in the business. Jonas is currently a graduate student with a Bachelor of Arts in English and rhetoric from McMaster University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images