Do you think that your office chair needs a makeover? Your office chair does not need to be that piece of furniture that you purchased once, and now you have kept it in the corner because it does not go with your overall decor.
In fact, any furniture piece’s aesthetics holds great power because it can make you feel more motivated to get the work done.
If you have an old office chair that is still in shape and does its job but has worn-out upholstery, it is time to get an upgrade and reupholster it.
If you have the right tools with you and the perfect fabric, you can actually give your office chair a solid makeover and make it look like it belongs. Plus, it will offer better comfort and give your space a new look.
But how to reupholster an office chair? This guide will help you with precisely that. So keep reading till the end!
Benefits of reupholstering your office chair.
Even though reupholstering old office chairs might take a lot of energy and time, the process is still worth it in the end. Before checking how to reupholster an office chair, here are some benefits of going for it and giving the chair a fresh new look-
It is quite affordable.
There is a huge difference between the money you spend on purchasing a new office chair and reupholstering your current office chair.
The reupholstering process is quite affordable and it is a great idea to go ahead with it if you cannot afford a new one at this point in time. You can put your cash into something more useful instead.
You can modify it according to your preference.
When you decide to purchase a new chair and look for an option in the market or online, they come in designs offered by the manufacturer.
On the other hand, when you reupholster any piece of furniture, you get maximum control over the kind of fabric and the design you want to go for.
From the type of fabric, the color, the print, to the budget, you get to decide everything and choose the best option that will blend perfectly with the decor of your space.
It gives a new look to your workspace.
If you have been wanting to spice up your workspace and give it a fresh new look, there is no better idea than reupholstering your old office chair.
Adding a fresh layer of fabric creates a new ambiance and does not require much effort. You can achieve this goal by selecting artistic color combinations, good quality fabrics, and doing the job well.
It is eco-friendly.
You always have an alternative option of throwing out your old office chair into the dump if you don’t use it anymore.
But why not take the eco-friendly route that can reduce landfill waste? Reusing your old office chair is a great eco-friendly idea, and you are further preventing the environment from getting exposed to harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases.
Steps to reupholster an office chair.
If you are wondering how to reupholster an office chair, no worries because these steps will guide you through the process of giving a new life to your boring piece of furniture.
Step 1 – Gather all required tools and materials.
You do not need an entire army of tools, but there are some which will make the process easier. And you might already have some of these at home, so you will only need to pay for the fabric costs.
Here are the things you will need-
The new piece of fabric- keep the size of your chair in mind while purchasing new fabric. It is always better to go bigger as it is ok if you end up with some extra fabric. But getting a smaller size it will make the process more messy and complicated.
Screwdriver set- you can also use an electric drill or any similar device as an alternative. But the head of the screwdriver should be compatible with the bolts and screw holes. A wrench will be a good companion as well.
Needle nose pliers- this is an essential tool, and you do not want to miss out on these.
A pair of fabric scissors- this is an expected tool you will need to cut the fabric to its appropriate size.
A professional staple gun- this is again a very essential tool that you will need to hold your upholstery in place.
Ample amount of space- you will definitely need a good amount of space for this job, so clear out your floor and get ready to work.
In case your office chair is a little hard, and you want to add some extra padding, you can purchase a light foam layer along with your new piece of fabric. You do not need heavy-duty padding, which is about 1 cm thick, to give you that extra comfort.
Step 2 – Disassemble the office chair.
First, you need to check whether your office chair has armrests. If yes, you need to start the disassembly process from that point and get them out of the way by unlatching or unscrewing them.
You can even reupholster your chair with the arms in place, but it will be a lot more complicated, and it is better to save yourself from that extra hassle.
Next, you need to Flip Your chair upside down and unscrew the bolts and screws that attach the seat to the chair’s wood base.
If you are already confused by this point in time and wondering whether you will be able to re-assemble your chair, click a picture of it later so that you can refer to it when it’s time for reassembling.
After getting rid of the base and the armrests, you will just be left with the seat and the backrest. Now locate the deep-set screws in the shell-like base, and unscrew them. Now, you will be just left with the separated back and seat.
Step 3 – Strip away the old upholstery.
Now, you might be able to see some heavy-duty staples that are attaching the fabric covering of the chair to the seat.
Depending on the chair manufacturer, you will see multiple small staples or large metal fasteners. Get your needle nose pliers and pull them more carefully, while ensuring that you do not damage the wooden surface beneath.
The pliers will be ideal for smaller staples, but in the case of larger fasteners, you might need an industrial staple remover. Move from one corner to the other of the seat, and get rid of all the staples systematically.
You will see that the old fabric is folded over itself at each corner to get a taut fit. Keep unfolding the underlying fabric as you remove the staples. After you are done, remove the upholstery from the seat. Ultimately, you should just see a simple protective foam layer.
You can also skip this entire step if you want to install your new fabric on top of the old one.
Step 4 – Cut the new upholstery fabric.
Spread out your fresh piece of fabric and place it underneath the seat, so the wood back faces upwards.
At this point, you can also replace the old form layer with a new one if you are looking to add extra padding. Take approximate measurements by folding the fabric around the edges of the seat.
It is ok if you do not get the exact dimensions, but ensure that you have enough fabric, approximately 4 inches, around the edges of the base to attach to it. After the measuring part is done, you can cut your fabric using a pair of scissors.
Step 5 – Attach the new upholstery.
This will be the most challenging and complicated step in the entire journey, especially if you are a beginner in the world of tailoring.
This is because not every seat of an office chair has a perfect shape. Some are shaped quite awkwardly, and folding the fabric neatly around the base is difficult. However, the key to getting this step right is high patience.
To add new upholstery to the chair, fold around the base slowly and attach it slowly while alternating sides to keep the fabric tight and smooth. Do not do the corners yet and leave them for the last.
Now use a glue gun or similar adhesive to attach the fabric to the base before stapling it down. You just need to spread a little amount of glue over the fabric, attach it to the base, press it down so that it sticks on, and then staple it.
While attaching the fabric to the base in the corners, try imitating the folds that you came across while undoing the fabric during step 3. Try to shape excess fabric in triangular folds, just like when we wrap any present.
Do not pull the fabric too tight, as it can create wrinkles and other issues. If you have used glue, let it dry for approximately half an hour before starting with the final step.
Once it has dried and the fabric is attached into a smooth fit, you now need to fasten down the fabric using your regular staple gun and go ahead with a line of staples every inch. You can cut off leftover folds with your scissors.
Repeat this same process to cover the backrest and armrests.
Step 6 – Reassemble all components of your office chair.
This is the last step that you need to take care of since there is nothing left to do with fabric now.
Attach the seat and the back of the chair at first if they are still in separate pieces. Then move on to attach the base of the chair with wheels.
You can reverse the entire process you followed while disassembling the chair and replace all the bolts and screws as necessary.
Refer to the picture you had clicked earlier to be sure where each part should fit, and keep testing the components so that you know they are connected safely and are sturdy. Do this process carefully to ensure you do not forget even a single piece or fixture.
After putting back the seat cushion and returning the chair to its original form, set it down and test it out. Double-check for any weird angles or loose pieces, and adjust them if necessary. Tuck fabric wrinkles into the depths of the chair.
If you have any doubts about the process of disassembling or reassembling an office chair, you’ll also find several videos to refer to online.
Tips and tricks for reupholstering an office chair.
After knowing how to reupholster an office chair, here are some tips and tricks that will make the reupholstering process easier for you
- Use an electric staple gun instead of a manual staple gun, as it can be painful for your hands and wrists.
- Invest in a heavier fabric if you are redoing your chair to use in a business office. Fabrics that are too thin will wear out sooner and are also hard to attach to the frame using a staple gun.
- Before attaching the fabric to the chair with the staple gun, ensure you hold the fabric tightly to get a smooth finish. Add some pleats if you want the corners to look neat. You can trim off excess fabric with a pair of scissors.
- Use a hammer to ensure the staples go all the way into the chair’s frame. Because if you encounter any issues, the staples may fall out.
Now you know how to reupholster an office chair in-depth. And hopefully, this guide has helped let you get much better clarity on this subject.
Reupholstering an old office chair is a great idea to give a fresh look to your workspace, spice up your boring chair, play a part in working towards a better environment, and use your time and creativity in the best way possible.
How much does it cost to reupholster an office chair?
Considering the tools mentioned above and the fabric you will need, it should not cost you more than $100, providing you are doing it yourself without the help of professional labor.
Whether you buy the tools from your local market or from Amazon, they should cost you approximately 60 to 70 dollars.
Plus, you’ll need around three yards of fabric, and basic upholstery fabric costs roughly $10 per yard. Overall, the cost will be less than $100, and it will be reduced even further if you already have some of the tools at home.
Which is the best fabric for reupholstering an office chair?
The most common upholstery fabric for an office chair is usually a woven type. These have varying textures and appearances but our durable as they have high abrasion.
Mesh is also a great option as it has excellent airflow. You can also choose genuine leather for a luxurious feel or ultra-leather to still enjoy the sophisticated feel at a cheaper price.
How to reupholster an office chair at home- is it possible?
Yes, you can definitely reupholster your office chair at home using the steps mentioned above. Plus, it will let you save money in terms of labor cost, which is approximately $60-$100 per hour.
What to look for in an upholstery fabric?
For daily usage, choosing a fabric that retains its color and is resistant to abrasion is better. It is another bonus point if the fabric is stain-resistant and easy to clean.
Go for something soft which does not cause allergies, and does not retain heat, so that you do not feel extremely hot and sweaty while sitting and working on it.