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Reupholster an office chair

This weekend I decided the time had come to reupholster my chair. The foam has gone so flat, it's like sitting on a block of hard wood.


Apart from the fact that the foam has gone flat and the fabric is starting to look a bit grungy, there's nothing else wrong with the chair. Rather than fork out for a new chair, I decided to add some new foam padding and fabric and give my old office chair a makeover.

When you think how much it costs to buy these chairs nowadays, and what you would pay for a bit of scrap fabric and some foam, it's definitely more affordable - and eco-friendly - to revamp.

If you do decide to revamp or reupholster an old office chair, give it a good inspection before you do to see what needs to be done. If the framework itself is damaged, it might not be a worthwhile project to reupholster.

The rubber trim around the seat and backrest of the chair was so old that the rubber itself was becoming brittle and falling off - so that was the first thing I removed, as well as the millions of staples holding it in place...!

I had some scrap pieces of foam left from various projects and I cut these up to fit the chair seat. It doesn't really matter if you have to cut different pieces to make one whole, as it will all be covered up anyway.

A layer of batting over the top of the foam will ensure nicely curved edges and also hide the roughness when you cut the foam to fit. Make the batting only slightly larger than the foam, so that you can tease it and staple underneath the seat.

You will need your fabric, scrap pieces of foam, a small piece of batting and a staple gun with staples. Builders Warehouse have a range of staple guns available. A pair of pliers and a hammer are also handy for removing and hammering in stubborn staples.

Place the fabric over the foam and batting and start stapling underneath the seat. Don't staple the corners at this stage. Before you can staple the corners, cut off what I like to call the "bunny ears". This removes a lot of excess fabric that would otherwise make the corners very bulky and difficult to work with. If you're not sure how much to cut off, start with a small piece and work your way up.

Fold and play with the corners until you are happy that they are nicely arranged and will leave a neat, rounded corner before stapling the fabric in place. Here you can see what the underside of the stapled chair seat looks like.

I stapled fabric to the backrest in the same way as I did for the seat, cutting off excess fabric to make nice smooth corners. Don't worry about the staples as these will be covered over.

Undo the screws that hold the backrest support in place. Cut out a piece of fabric that is slightly smaller than the back. Use fabric glue to stick this down over the back section. Now you don't see the staples anymore.

Here's my finished chair, all nice and comfy with its newly padded seat and a new look with faux suede in a chocolate brown.


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