How to Reupholster an Office Chair

by Andrew Smith| Last Updated: October 29, 2021

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How to Reupholster an Office Chair

Reupholstering your office chair is a great way to update the look of your furniture without spending too much money. It’s also a good idea if you want to change up the color or pattern on your existing chairs, and you can do this in just about any fabric that fits over the frame.

If you don’t have time for this project but still want to give your old chairs new life, check out our guide on how to reupholster an office chair below.

You can reupholster a chair yourself as there are many excellent resources like Youtube to guide you on preferred designs. While at it, you need as much fabric as the dimensions of your current upholstery or slightly more. You cover an office chair with fabric using staples or glue.

Table of Contents

Things To Consider Before You Reholster A Chair Yourself

If you don’t mind spending a little bit more than hiring professional services, you could always try to tackle the project yourself. There are plenty of resources online where you can learn all sorts of tips and tricks from other DIYers who have successfully completed similar jobs.

Additionally, consider how much time you would like to spend doing the work yourself. Some people prefer to hire professionals, while others enjoy tackling projects themselves.

If you decide to go ahead and tackle the project yourself, here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing fabrics and colors:

1. Choose a Fabric That Fits Your Budget

You don’t necessarily need to buy expensive materials if you plan on using them only once. For example, you could use leftover material from another piece of furniture instead of spending more than necessary.

2. Consider Color Combinations

You might not think twice about matching one shade of blue to another, but mixing two shades can create a unique look. Try pairing light gray with dark brown or black. Or maybe try something completely unexpected such as orange and white.

3. Use Patterns & Texture

Patterns and textures add dimension to your room. They make things feel more prominent and give off a sense of style. Think about adding patterns to your walls, curtains, pillows, and the like.

4. Go With What Works Best for Your Space

The space where you work plays a significant role in determining which fabrics and styles work best for you. Is your office small? Then you probably wouldn’t want to invest too much into decorating.

On the other hand, if you love having lots of natural sunlight streaming through windows, you might want to incorporate bright colors and bold prints.

5. Keep in Mind How to Care for Fabrics

Fabric care depends mainly on its intended purpose. Cotton tends to wear out faster than wool, so if you plan on keeping your fabric longer than six months, then cotton is better suited for indoor uses.

However, if you plan to use your fabric outdoors, you should opt for outdoor-friendly fabrics such as polyester.

6. Be Creative When Choosing Colors

When deciding between red and green, purple and yellow, or pink and turquoise, remember that these combinations aren’t always easy to match. Instead, take inspiration from nature and combine complementary hues.

7. Make Sure Your Material Is Clean Before Starting Work

Before starting any home improvement project, clean all surfaces thoroughly. Remove dust, dirt, grease, and anything else that could potentially damage your newly purchased items.

8. Start Small And Build Up From There

Don’t expect to finish everything right away. Take baby steps by first cleaning and organizing your existing pieces. Once you start getting comfortable working around your furniture, you can move onto larger tasks.

9. Get Help Where Needed

If you have never reupholstered before, it may be helpful to enlist the help of someone who knows what they’re doing. Moreover, you can ask friends and family members for advice.

10. Have Fun While Doing It

Reupholstery isn’t just about making your office beautiful; it’s also about creating memories. So enjoy yourself while you do it.

How Much Fabric Do I Need to Recover a Desk Chair?

The amount of material needed depends on whether you plan to replace the existing padding entirely or add additional padding to make the chair look better.

To determine how much fabric you’ll need, measure the width and length of the current cushion along its longest edge. Then multiply those measurements to calculate the total square footage of the old cushion.

Next, divide the number obtained above by 1/2 inch to figure out how thick each piece of fabric needs to be.

Finally, cut two pieces of fabric equal to the size of the original cushion plus one-half inch. Be sure to leave enough extra room around the edges of the fabric to allow for trimming later.

How Do You Cover an Office Chair With Fabric?

There are several options available when covering an office chair with fabric. One option is to purchase pre-cut panels specifically designed for office chairs.

Another option is to buy readymade covers that come in standard sizes. Yet another option is to sew your panel using patterns designed especially for office chairs.

Regardless of which method you decide to go with, remember first to remove the screws holding the backrest assembly into place.

Once this is accomplished, it’s easier to slide the new fabric over the entire chair frame. If you can, don’t move the armrests while attached to the chair because doing so may damage them.

After removing the screws, carefully lift the arms away from the rest of the chair frame. This should help prevent any potential problems during installation.

When replacing the cushions, take care not to pull too hard on the straps used to secure the cushions to the chair frame. 

Doing so could cause the fabric to tear. Instead, gently tug at the ends of the straps until the cushions fall free.

Let’s look at the office chair reupholstery process in detail below.

What You’ll Need to Reupholster an Office Chair

Of course, you need fabric to reupholster.

The type of fabric you choose depends largely upon the style of furniture you wish to restore. For example, if you prefer traditional styles, you probably won’t want to use modern fabrics like microfiber.

However, if you want something more contemporary, you might opt for a textured patterned fabric instead.

In addition, there’s no reason why you couldn’t mix different types of materials within the same project. For instance, you could combine leather with cotton or wool.

Here are other essential things to get before starting:

You also need tools to disassemble your chair, like screwdrivers and WD40, if you need to lubricate tough-to-remove components.

Steps to Reupholster an office chair

Note: The fabric should extend about 1/4 inch beyond the outermost corners of the chair frame.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does it Cost to Have an Office Chair Reupholstered?

It costs about $50 to $2,000 to have an office chair reupholstered. You can reupholster in just about any color you want, and the cost varies depending on what type of fabric or leather you choose for the new upholstery.

What Is the Most Durable Material for Upholstery?

The most durable material for upholstery is genuine leather because it resists stains and wears over time.

However, synthetic leather, faux leather, and even some natural fibers such as suede may last longer than genuine leather, but they aren’t nearly as hardy.

If you decide that you’d instead go with a non-leather alternative, make sure you select one that offers good stain resistance.


If you follow these tips, you should complete this DIY project without any problems. This way, you may even end up saving money because buying new chairs is expensive.

However, if you decide to buy new chairs, make sure that they match the existing decor of your office. If you do this, you won’t need to spend extra time redecorating.


  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith is the founder of CozySeating, is a father of 2, and an engineer from one of the leading furniture stores in the country. Due to his 10 years of experience, he has proved to be the best person to offer advice to clients regarding different seating furniture based on their needs and performance. Besides, he is a specialist in product reviews and always keeps up with the current trends in the market.

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