In which a desk chair gets a new lease of life


After over a year of this working from home malarkey, I decided recently that using a dining room chair at my desk just wasn’t cutting it anymore. The seat was uncomfortable, it was the wrong height, and my back was hurting after a few hours working. Happily this desire for more ergonomic furniture coincided with my office disposing of several computer chairs.

While the chair I salvaged fulfilled my seating requirements, it certainly didn’t win any prizes in the looks department.

I idly wondered whether I could re-cover it, as bright green with manky stains didn’t really match my spare room, so turned to the magic that is the internet. Lo and behold, a plethora of blogs and sites came up to show me that it was entirely possible and actually rather easy. In fact, the hardest part was deciding what fabric to use.

Following the internet’s helpful instructions, I unscrewed the seat of the chair and cut a piece of fabric to roughly the right size. I then put this on the seat, straight over the old material, and stapled it into place, pulling the material as taut as I could, working on opposite corners first and then gathering in around the edges. Some people advocate then stapling a  piece of muslin over the edges to make it look neater; I didn’t, mostly because I am lazy and know I won’t be looking at the underside.

For my seat back, I tried to prise it off with a flathead screwdriver but only succeeded in cracking the plastic a tiny bit. I ended up cutting the fabric into shape, and then simply tucking it in between the plastic and the padding. Again, some people suggest putting a running stitch around the edge and gathering before you start tucking, but I just tucked mine in really tightly using the screwdriver blade. It didn’t seem to make any difference though as my more basic method still got the cloth lying really flat and smooth.

Then, because I was in a DIY groove, I decided to re-cover an ottoman we use to store our bedlinen in. I’d had this since I was 13 and the material on it reflected my teenage tastes (I think every girl in the nineties had some moon and stars in her room somewhere). I’d stopped noticing it anymore, but S hadn’t, and it didn’t exactly gel with his tastes.


This was equally easy: I simply took the old cloth and tacks off, fluffed up the padding a bit and then cut a new piece of fabric to the right size. Starting on with the long edges, I tucked the material under to get a crisp edge and then stapled it straight to the wood. I then tucked under the short sides and stapled those along, before making neat folds on the corners and stapling these into position.

After two hours of cutting and stapling in front of It Takes Two, EastEnders and the Children in Need gig, this is what I ended up with.

I just need to touch up the paint now...

You can just see the bike peeping into shot in the corner... my office space really does multitask

This was a really easy piece of DIY that has made a big difference to our spare room. Best of all, it was really cheap (just £5 for the fabric) but the joy I get from sitting on my funky polka dot chair is priceless.


One response »

  1. Fantastic makeover, Helen! I love the polka dots. D and I inherited an old office chair that had been tossed into the loft of our rental house. It’s covered in some kind of mustard yellow burlap type stuff. I should try a makeover of my own.

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