How to Reupholster an Old Office Chair

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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:

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.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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:

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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:

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

The old seat and back cushions weren’t in that bad of shape but I wanted more thickness to sit on.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

I traced the old seat on 2″ upholstery foam and then cut it out to lay on top of the old cushion.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

For the back, I just laid a couple of layers of the batting on the front part.

adding the fabric:

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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:

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

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.

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

I love this little swivel/lean back chair in the office. 

With a little bit of sewing knowledge, you can reupholster an old ugly office chair into something you will love for years. 

One more look of the before and after.

Ideas for organizing your family memories for the next generation to cherish and love. Spending just a little time organizing those family memories will allow you to get the most out of those family memories in years to come.
Learning to sew is easier than you think. Here are a few of my beginner's sewing tips to help anyone get started sewing.
Learn how we restored an old worn out mahogany leather top table when we decoupaged it with sheet music. What a beauty it is now!

Enjoy,

Tammy

* * * *

10 Comments

    1. Thanks so much Denise. Mr. G and I love working on projects like this. He restores old radios and is working on 2 right now.

  1. You made it look so easy! I am quite handy with tools but I have not tried re-upholstering chairs yet. If I do decide to do it, I will use this post as a guide. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, you really explained well on how to do it. I guess I can refurbish my old chairs into office chairs.

  3. What a really nice project and a great result. These are great tips. I’ll have to see if I have any old chairs to try this on!

Comments are closed.