With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years.
I love repurposing old furniture to make it my own and when a neighbor called and asked if I wanted an old office chair, I couldn’t wait to get over there to bring it home. I’m a sucker for throw away furniture.
The chair is really sturdy and all the mechanisms worked, but it just needed a little bit of love and some spit shinning to show all of its glory again.
Items needed for this project:
- Staple Gun
- Upholstery fabric
- Upholstery foam
- Seam Ripper
- Staple Remover
- Fabric scissors
- Sewing machine
- Ball Head Pins
- Fine 120 grit sandpaper
- Rust-Oleum Glossy Spray Laquer
I purchased the upholstery fabric at JoAnn’s since they have the best selection in my area. I highly suggest only using upholstery fabric since it is made to last.
You can see the material was in really bad shape with rips on the seating area. Evidently, the chairs had been recovered before and the old material was not removed.
Let’s get started:
First Mr. G removed the back and seat with a screwdriver and the castors. They came off very easily. Remember to store all your parts in a baggy so they don’t get lost and take pictures to help you remember where they all belong.
He sanded the wood until it was smooth and wiped off all the dust with a damp cloth.
He lightly sprayed the whole chair a couple of times with the lacquer and let it dry completely between each coat. He gave the arms a couple more layers since that area would be used the most.
While Mr. G was working on the wood, I was taking care of the back and seat cushions. I removed all the old staples with a staple remover so I could take off the old material from the cushions.
HINT: While taking off material from cushions, remember how the pieces were connected or take pictures while you are ripping the pieces apart for reference later.
I used a seam ripper to remove all the stitching off of the seat and back to separate all the pieces. I then laid all the pieces on the new upholstery material to cut out. Use fabric straight pins to hold the pieces down on the new material to make cutting easier.
The long strip of old fabric on the bottom in the picture above, I made a few inches longer because I am adding foam to the seat and will need that extra material for the extra height.
HINT: Choose a material that doesn’t have a pattern to match up when sewing to make this process easier.
This is where a little bit of sewing knowledge takes over.
I took the newly cut pieces of material for the back and lay them right side together using straight pins to hold the pieces together to sew. Do the same thing for the seat pieces.
I then sewed the pieces together once and then went back and sewed another row of stitches beside the previous stitching. This will make the pieces stronger.
Set up the cushions:
The old seat and back cushions weren’t in that bad of shape but I wanted more thickness to sit on.
I traced the old seat on 2″ upholstery foam and then cut it out to lay on top of the old cushion.
I then cut a piece of batting to lay on top of the foam. When cutting the pieces, it doesn’t have to be exact since it will be covered up.
For the back, I just laid a couple of layers of the batting on the front part.
adding the fabric:
Lay the seat cushion on a table and place the new fabric piece over it. Pull the fabric over the seat cushion slowly. It really takes two people to do this job.
I then took my staple gun and while tightly pulling the fabric over the bottom of the seat cushion, I put a staple in the middle of each side to hold it in place. I then stapled around the seat, while pulling the material tight and leaving the corners.
Corners can be a little tricky, but all I did was crunch the material and staple where needed as you can see in the picture above. I cut off any excess material close to the staples. I did put staples very close to each other for strength.
I then did the same for the back, but only needed to put staples in the bottom.
Remember that when you put the pieces back on the chair, you won’t see any of the edges of the material.
the finished product:
Mr. G removed the brass plates that were on the castors and replaced the cleaned castors. It looks so much better without the brass plates. We then screwed the back and seat back on the wood frame and were done!
We couldn’t get over how much better it looked and it really didn’t take that long to repair the chair. The material was a great match for the decor of the room and the best part was it was on the clearance rack at JoAnn’s. Be sure to check there first for smaller swatches of material for chairs like this.
I love this little swivel/lean back chair in the office.
One more look of the before and after.
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I’m just a country girl loving my geeky life with my wonderful husband, always taking pictures, getting my hands dirty in the garden, being crafty, exploring with travels and enjoying all this on a budget. But above all, living my faith as a child of God!