MIL just called me to let me know she and FIL found a much needed table and chairs for us in a local garage sale. The chairs need to be reupholstered. Has anybody done this? How would I go about recovering them and what would be the best material?
It depends on what kind of chairs they are, really. If you are lucky, the chairs will be like most dining chairs and look something like this: Dining chair. The seat portion of the chair is a separate piece, held by screws that can be found on the bottom of the seat. There is a bit of padding on top, and the fabric wraps around the edges and is stapled on the other side. It is very easy to add another layer of fabric over the seats and staple it on, the corners are tricky but you can play with it until it looks right. A staple gun is well worth borrowing or buying, a desk stapler isn't strong enough.
For fabric choices, you can use almost any heavier weight woven. Use home dec fabrics if stain resistance is important to you, you will be able to sponge clean these fabrics. Use vinyl if you want easy wipeable care. Hemp would be great if you want durability. After you reupholster, you could make slipcovers that are washable to protect the seats. There are many, many possibilities that depend on your time, budget, and needs.