In most cases, the office chair will be in perfect shape; only the upholstery is what needs to be fixed. There may be a prominent rip in the fabric or the color may have faded over the years. In such cases, the better alternative would be to reupholster your office chair rather than replacing the chair itself.

In this article, you’ll learn how to reupholster an office chair. You’ll understand that it’s a fairly simple task and you don’t have to be a tailor to be able to do it. In fact, there’s no stitching required at all! Choose a fabric of your choice to reupholster your office chair and enjoy sitting in a brand new chair in no time.

Condition of the old chair

If your office chair looks like something from the pictures below, it needs to be reupholstered.

Condition of the old chair

In all these cases, the chair is in good shape and will work for a couple of more years, at least, if the upholstery is fixed. All that needs to be done is to replace the upholstery with a fresh one. It’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. Once you get started with the project, you’ll know that it won’t take much time at all.

What you’ll need

Procedure to follow

Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary supplies, let’s get started with our project to reupholster office chair. Here are the steps that you’ll need to follow:

Step 1: Disassembling the chair

Disassembling the chair

Every office chair is designed differently, so you need to figure out how the model you have can be taken apart. Here’s what you can try:

  • If the chair has armrests, take them apart by unscrewing all the attachment points using a screwdriver.
  • The screws on the back cushion and the seat may be covered by a plastic lid. You may need to pry these off before you can reach the screw.
  • To remove the seat cushion, you’ll need to turn the chair upside down to access the screws.
  • If your chair has a complicated design, either take pictures or make notes while disassembling the chair so that you can fix it back correctly.

Step 2: Remove the existing upholstery

You can also choose to skip this step and install the new fabric over the old one. It’s better, however, to get rid of the existing upholstery before applying the new one. It ensures a perfect fit for the new fabric, without any creases. Most of the time, it’s fairly simple to remove the old upholstery. Here’s what you do:

  • Lay the back and seat cushions on their back.
  • You’ll find staple pins holding the upholstery in place.
  • Use the staple lifter to remove these pins.
  • Once all the staple pins are out of the way, you’ll be able to pull out the fabric from both the cushions.

Step 3: Cut the new fabric

Now that the old upholstery has been removed from the cushions, let’s see how to reupholster an office chair. For installing the new upholstery, we will need to cut the fabric in the correct size to match the cushions.

  • Lay the fabric upside down on the floor.
  • Place the cushion over the fabric, with the foam facing downwards.
  • Cut the fabric, leaving enough space on all sides to fold and staple it to the back of the cushion.
  • Do the same for the other cushion

Step 4: Staple the fabric

Staple the fabric
  • Put on eye protection for this step since you’ll be working with a staple gun.
  • Pull the fabric from one side of the cushion and fold it on the back.
  • Staple down the fabric, first at the center of this side.
  • Pull the fabric tightly from the opposite side of the cushion and staple it at the back, on the center.
  • Do the same for the other two sides.
  • Now staple all around the back, working from one end and moving in a circle back to the same end.
  • Keep pulling the fabric as you staple to make sure it’s fitted tightly.
  • Remember not to pull too hard, or there’ll be crinkles in the upholstery. Leaving it loose is also not advisable. Just pull it enough to give it an accurate fit around the cushion.
  • Use the same technique to install the upholstery on the other cushion.
  • Use a scissor to cut out any unwanted fabric at the back of the cushions.

You may also need to reupholster the armrest cushions, depending on the model you have. Some chairs feature a plastic armrest which matches with the color of the frame. In such cases, no work is required for them. If, however, the armrests include fabric and you’re changing the fabric of the back and seat cushion, this will need to be replaced as well.

Step 5: Reassemble the office chair

Now that you have reupholstered the back and the seat cushions, it’s time to put everything back in place.

Using the notes or pictures you tool while disassembling your office chair, now put all the components back together. The new fabric might be covering the holes for the screws, but that’s not a problem. Just drive the screw right through the fabric and it will pierce a hole. There! You have a reupholstered office chair right before you!


All done! See how simple it is to give your office chair, one that you were about to throw out, a brand new look! Just make sure that you have all the right supplies and choose the correct type of fabric.

You need a fabric that will stay in shape for a long time and isn’t too susceptible to ripping or fading. Carry out all the steps slowly and you’ll do a wonderful job. Once you’ve learned how to reupholster an office chair, you’ll surely be impressed with the outcome.

Share this post