Office Chair Reupholstery

October 01, 2014

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

This project nearly drove me to tears. Trust me when I say that re-upholstery is expensive for a reason, and well worth the money rather than doing it yourself.

We got a couple of office chairs off Craigslist for a steal, but they were in pretty bad shape. The seats were pilled, water marked, and almost raw in places. One of the chairs even had a tear in the back fabric, and the arm rests looked like they'd been chewed by a dog, but I was determined to rehab them, because how hard could it be to change the cloth on a seat?! (Insert weeping and gnashing of teeth)

The photo above is one of the finished seats. Not bad right? But it took forever.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

So, innocently I started disassembling everything. Check out the screw layout! I made sure that they would all go back in the same place they came from.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

This is the tear I mentioned before. I used some embroidery thread and stitched it back up. I think it would have looked particularly cool if I used lime green, or even yellow, but black was all I had on had, so black it was.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

Now this was the worst part. Even with a staple removing tool thingy (it's a screwdriver type thing with a forked tip, like a snake's tongue, at an angle), removing the hundreds of staples that kept the fabric in place several hours just for one seat. Repeat x 2. If you've got more muscle than me it would probably take you half the time, but it's still no easy job.

THEN I cut out fabric, using the original cover as an outline, and stapled the heck out of it so that the new one would stay. I used a fairly thick cotton with a bit of stretch to it. The stretch was good, but the thickness of the fabric made it hard to manipulate around curves. There was a lot of excess fabric going on, and I did the best I could, but it was impossible to get a smooth edge.

Office chair reupholstery. More work than I expected

Now if you look very carefully, you can see this is a different chair than the first photo. I tried re-upholstering the chewed arm rests, but they turned out so ugly so I decided not to put them back on. You can also see the stitching I did to close up that tear in the backing.

I lost 2 days lost to office chairs that I can never get back. On the other hand, we ended up with 2 new office chairs for less than 14$ a piece, including new fabric. Mind you, the real price was paid for in sweat and blood and tears.

IF you're more patient than I am, you can do it yourself. Here's a tutorial I found for upholstering an office chair. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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