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How to Upholster an Office Chair
How to Upholster a Chair

How to Upholster a Chair

Sherri Osborn
If you are tired of using a boring office chair, use these instructions to reupholster the chair to fit your personality. I did this for the inexpensive chair I use when I sit in front of my sewing machine. The chair cost me $20.00, but I think it now looks like a million bucks. This would also make a fun gift for a student or a graduate.

  • Age Guideline: 14 Years and Up
  • Time Required: 45 minutes (Does not include drying time if applicable)

The above age and time guidelines are estimates. This project can be modified to suit other ages and may take more or less time depending on your circumstances.

Materials Needed to Upholster a Chair:

  • Office Chair (compare prices)
  • 1 yard of Fabric (the amount of fabric needed may vary depending on your chair and design of the fabric - read more below)
  • Pen
  • Tape Measure or Ruler
  • Heavy Duty Stapler (compare prices)
  • Scissors
  • Tools to Assemble/Disassemble Chair (usually just a screw driver or Allen wrench)

Instructions to Upholster a Chair:

I started out by buying a new chair. Besides the fact that I needed a new chair, it was easier to start out with an un-assembled chair. If you are using a chair you already have, use the manufacturer's directions to remove the seat and the back from the chair.

Measure the back rest and the seat of your chair. Add about 10-inches to both the length and the width of your measurements. Now, cut out two piece of fabric the sizes you need. For example, the back rest of my chair measured 16-inches x 10-inches and the seat measured 18-inches x 17-inches; so, I cut a piece of fabric that was 26-inches x 20-inches for the back rest and a piece of fabric that was approximately 28-inches x 27-inches for the seat. The measurements and cuts do not have be be exact.

The fabric I used was actually a Crafty Cut I found on clearance (compare prices). For most chairs, a yard of fabric will work. If you have a larger chair or a fabric with a pattern you want to fussy cut, you may need more fabric. Measure you chair parts before buying your fabric and you should be fine.

Start out by laying the piece of fabric to cover your seat, right side down, on your work surface. Lay the chair seat, upside down, centered on the fabric. You should now be looking at the bottom of the chair seat. Starting on any side you like, pull the edge of the fabric up and staple it to the bottom of the chair. Make sure you do not cover any of the holes you will need to use to assemble the chair. Staple the fabric about an inch or two from the edge. You will trim any extra fabric once you are done stapling it. Grab the fabric on the opposite side and do the same, pulling the fabric so it is tight enough to pull out any wrinkles and creases but not too tight because that can cause the staples to rip the fabric when the cushion is sat on. Now do the same on the other two sides of the seat. Be very generous with the staples. Once you have the sides stapled, carefully staple the corners, flattening them out as you staple. Once again, be very generous with the staples. Once you have the fabric stapled in place, trim off any extra fabric and made sure all of the assembly holes are clear.

Now, lay down your piece of fabric for the chair back, right side down on your work surface. Center the set back on the fabric and then follow the same steps as above to cover the back of the chair. Don't worry about the way the back of the seat back, or even the seat, looks. Once the chair is assembled, both should be hidden.

All that is left to do is to assemble the chair. Put it together following the directions given by the manufacturer and your fancy reupholstered office chair or student desk chair should be ready to use.

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