Chair Caning Alternatives: Which One To Choose? [Pros + Cons]

Perhaps you’ve had enough of those cane chair repairs and now feel it’s time to switch it up for something that won’t give you as much grief.

Or, it could be that you’ve had an eye out for a different type of chair, however, with the same charm as your cane seat.

So, if you’ve recently considered making a switch, this article has so much that you don’t want to miss!

JUMP TO: Alternatives for Chair Canning | Pros of Alternative Canning | Cons of Alternative Canning |

  • Key Takeaways

      • Caning alternatives offer a great way to transform the look of your old chairs. 
      • They can be more comfortable than traditional chair caning and are usually more durable.
      • Some popular alternatives include upholstered seats, woven neckties, fabric, and woven belts.
      • At times, using alternatives can be more expensive and require more work than traditional chair caning.

    4 Common Caning Chair Alternatives

    If you are looking for something better for your broken-down caning dining chairs and don’t want to install a new cane, here are some of the most popular chair caning substitutes:

    Upholstered Seat

    Are you looking for a more luxurious feel and look in the place of cane backs?

    If yes, an upholstered seat is your perfect alternative!

    Offering great comfortability, an upholstered seat as an alternative method to caning allows you to customize your chair’s size, shape, fabric, and color.

    You can also opt for tufting, buttons, and other decorative details to make the chair look more luxurious.

    I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the envy of their neighbors with a super chic upholstered seat?

    And yes, you don’t need a professional upholsterer to get it done for you if your skills are more on the DIY side!

    Just begin by removing the old cane from your seat.

    upholstered seat

    Then, cut a piece of ply according to the size of the chair frame and secure it with the staples. Then, cover it with your choicest cushion foam or any other type of padding.

    You can put as much or as little padding as you want, depending on how comfortable you would like the seat to be.

    Once you’ve covered the seat, proceed to the fabric and staple that into place using a staple gun. Then, you are all set!

    If you want to add some extra decorative touches, you can do so with a few tacks or nails.

    Woven Neckties

    I was wondering where those old neckties in the wardrobe will ever be of any use?

    Here’s the answer – why not knit them into a beautiful chair seat?

    Woven neckties are a great way to give your chair a unique look and feel.

    This technique is perfect for those who don’t have access to upholstery material or those who have but need a more unique style with a touch of vintage.

    If possible, only work with ties that best complement your home’s interior design and color scheme.

    The intricate details of woven ties are so attractive that they can easily transform the look of your chair.

    And the best part?

    This alternative way does not require any complex installation either! You don’t even need to have any sophisticated tools or materials.

    As long as you have a handful of upholstery tacks, an upholstery needle and thread, ties, and an old chair that needs a makeover, then you already have all the supplies necessary for the challenge!

    Just knit the ties together with a few stitches and tie them securely around the seat frame. Then, secure the ties to the chair’s frame using upholstery tacks.

    Don’t even have the little pins in hand?

    No worries!

    You can as well opt for staples. They’ll do the work perfectly well!

    Once you’ve done all that, voila!

    You have a wonderful woven tie chair that will definitely stand out from the crowd.

    woven neckties seat

    One thing, though – remember that you need to match the wide end of one tie to the thin side of the other to ensure that your pattern lines up correctly.

    And yes, as you do so, ensure that you configure the ties in an order that brings out the best of the design you want.


    Upholstery fabric is the next thing that can go into your previously caned chair.

    Now, unlike any of the previously discussed alternatives, this option isn’t strong enough to bear a lot of weight.

    You see, the fabric can easily wear and tear due to frequent use and sometimes stretch when a lot of weight is exerted on it.

    So, you’ll want to only bring it in for areas that won’t bear too much pressure.

    Using it for the seat back or at the sides of the chair would be a safe bet.

    That said, you can choose from various fabrics – from cotton and linen to wool and even velvet. Pick one that best fits your interior design scheme or any other taste you may have.

    You may also want to pay attention to the color, pattern, and texture of the fabric you select too. But as you pay attention to all the aesthetic details, don’t forget to check out the fabric’s durability and maintenance requirements.

    Ideally, choose a heavyweight fabric and one that won’t stretch or bunch up when a lot of weight is put on it.

    Once you have all that factored in, stretch the fabric across the chair’s back or whichever area you want to cover.

    You may need to use at least two layers of fabric to ensure that it holds firm and that it doesn’t tear easily.

    You can then secure the fabric with a few metal or plastic tacks. Or, if you have an upholstery stapler, that can also do the job. Then, cut the excess fabric with scissors.

    For a neater look, consider hiding the pins. For that, just get the cut pieces of the same fabric and cover the pins. You may want to use hide glue or wood glue for this depending on the nature of the fabric.

    But as you do so, ensure that you coordinate the pattern of the new piece of fabric with that of the existing fabric for a dovetailed effect.

    Also Read : Why Are Accent Chairs So Expensive

    Woven Belts or Leather Straps

    If you’ve got a bunch of unused belts that you don’t know what to do with, why not weave them into your chair’s seat?

    Woven belts are another great way to transform the look and feel of your piece of furniture and give them some extra style and sophistication.

    leather starp chairs

    Don’t think that you have enough belts?

    No problem!

    You can easily get extra good-quality secondhand belts in a thrift store at affordable prices.

    Just ensure that you purchase high-grade leather belts for the best results.

    Similar to how you would weave the neckties, start by weaving several belts together. Of course, you have to ensure that you align the ends of the belts properly, so you don’t end up overlapping some belts while others are left short.

    Afterward, you must secure the weaved belts on the chair’s seat frame.

    Then, affix the belts underneath the wood frame so the chair looks neat.

    Ensure that you use nails or screws to firmly secure the woven belts in place, and it’ll be good to go!

    If you don’t want to do the weaving, you can interlock the belts in a crisscross pattern and affix them to the chair’s seat frame.

    It will take some time and skill, but the outcome will be worth it!

    And don’t forget that you can always mix and match the colors of your belts to make the chair look even more unique.

    Why You Need To Choose Caning Alternatives

    Caning is a classic look that still has its place in today’s homes, but there are many other alternatives that you can use to give your chairs a unique, stylish look.

    Let’s discuss the pros and cons of using alternatives instead of using traditional caning.

    Pros of Alternative Caning

    Some of the pros of working with caning alternatives include the following:

    Better Durability

    Of course, chair caning can be durable when you use quality materials and know how to take proper care of them.

    But more often than not, it tends to wear down over time as the cane can get brittle and break away from the chair.

    In comparison, alternatives like upholstered seat fabric and woven belts are more durable and can even help improve the chair’s comfort level.

    Unique Look and Feel

    Using chair caning subs gives you a chance to give chairs a unique look and feel that is sure to stand out from the rest.

    You can choose to use different fabrics, belts, or even neckties for a truly one-of-a-kind chair that won’t be replicated anywhere else.

    Better Comfort

    Some caning alternatives, such as upholstery and woven fabrics, are more comfortable than traditional cane chairs.

    This makes them ideal for chairs or furniture meant to be comfortable and used predominantly.

    Cons of Alternative Canning

    Some of the cons associated with using caning alternatives include the following:

    More Expensive

    Alternatives such as upholstery or woven belts often come at a higher cost than chair caning.

    This may make them inaccessible for some people since they can be more expensive depending on the materials’ quality.

    More Time Consuming

    Caning alternatives often require more work and time to achieve the desired result. That’s especially true compared to some caning types like pre-woven cane webbing, where everything comes pre-woven, and all you need to do is install it on your chairs with the proper caning supplies.

    Upholstering a chair seat, for example, may take a bit of skill and patience during the process.

    You may also need to use the necessary tools to affix the fabric in place, such as nails or screws.

    But of course, you can’t compare the alternative methods to hand caning. The latter requires more work and skill.

    Related Read: 30 Types of Antique Chairs


    Caning alternatives offer a great way to completely transform the look and feel of your old chairs.

    You can choose between upholstered seats, woven neckties, fabric, and woven belts to give your chairs a stylish and unique look.

    They are also more comfortable than most chair caning materials and tend to be quite durable, which means they can last for years. And yes, they’re all a simple fix, some than hand caning! 

    The only downside is that some alternatives may be more expensive than traditional caning and require more time for installation.

    Regardless, using chair caning alternative options is a great way to give your old chairs a brand-new look without breaking the bank. So, why not give it a try?

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