How to Reupholster an Old Office Chair in 7 Steps

Is sitting in your office chair now making you uncomfortable rather than relaxing? Do you consider your chair to be an eyesore?

No worries; in a few simple steps, you can transform the current state of your chair. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to cover an old office chair on your own.

The procedure outlined here has been successfully utilized to reupholster leather office chairs.

However, it would help if you remembered that the process is the same for all other chair coverings and can be easily replicated by following the steps.

Equipment’s Needed to Reupholster or Cover Your Old Office Chair

Upholstery Material

The material is the most important equipment and should be the first item on your list. If you don’t already have it, you’ll probably need to buy some upholstery leather or fabric from a nearby store. The amount of material to be purchased is determined by the number of chairs involved and the parts that need to be reupholstered.

For example, if you are only covering the base or cushion where you sit, a half yard of material will suffice. However, if you need to reupholster the cushion and armrests completely, you should consider purchasing a full yard of fabric or leather to be on the safe side.

Screw gun or electric drive:

This tool helps remove and tighten bolts or screws that secure the cushion or armrest to the chair frame.

Staple Gun:

The staple gun comes in handy when securing the new chair cover to the chair cushion. Staple guns are available in both manual and electric versions. If you’re only working on one chair, a manual stapler will suffice. If you’re working on multiple chairs, the battery-powered type is your best bet for reducing arm fatigue from stapling.


The scissors is used to cut the excess fabric or materials that are not in use. The material should fit the chair cushion to avoid dealing with saggy cushions later on. The scissors helps you take care of that easily.


If you decide to remove the old upholstery before covering it with the new one, then you would need the needle-nose plier to pull out the old staples installed by the manufacturer.

Extra foam padding:

You can also use this opportunity to make your chair slightly softer and more comfortable by adding a light layer of padding. The padding should be a few inches of lightweight foam to avoid giving the chair an awkward or bulky appearance.

Step by Step Guide to Cover an Old Office Chair

At this stage, you should have all of your tools and fabric or leather ready to begin.

Step 1:

Now the first thing you want to do is identify all the chair parts where a screw or bolt was used to fasten the chair part to the frame. An excellent way to do this is to turn the chair over to expose its plastic base; that’s where most screws are likely to be found on chairs.

Step 2:

Use the screw gun or electric drive to loosen the screws from the chair. This is a relatively simple step, so take care not to destroy the screw head as you will be screwing it back in after the process is completed.

Apply a small amount of torque to each of the screws to loosen them from the framework of the chair.

 Step 3:

After removing the screws from the chair, lift the seat cushion and armrest from the framework to your workspace.

Carefully pull out the staples used to secure the old fabric to avoid damaging the wood framework.

This process can be a bit tedious depending on the number of staples used to secure the chair in the first place.

If your old fabric covering is thin or difficult to remove, you can skip this step and proceed to cover your chair with the new material instead.

Step 4:

Spread the fabric or material to be used to cover the chair. Begin reupholstering with the chair cushion, as it will require the most material. If you have extra padding for your chair, now is the time to attach it to the top of the cushion.

Step 5:

Place the cushion on the material, with the base facing the sky. Wrap the material around the cushion leaving the screw holes and make an allowance in the material for holding the material to the chair. Wrapping the material too tight may cause wrinkles and other issues at the top of the chair.

Secure each edge of the fabric to the chair with a glue gun or a staple gun. This step is critical because it allows you to use a stapler to secure the fabric later while keeping your measurements intact. Repeat for the remaining edges, saving the corners for last. The corners can be a bit tricky due to the various shapes of different chairs. Gently fold the corners down, trying to keep the original configuration used to cover the chair.

 Step 6:

Cut away any extra fabric or leather from the base of the cushion. Then, use your staple gun to staple each side of the material firmly; a staple pin should suffice every inch or so.

Repeat the above procedure for the armrest and any other chair components that require reupholstering.

Step 7:

It’s time to reassemble our chair. Place the upholstered cushion back on top of the chair frame.

Use the screw gun to fasten the screws back to the chair. If any screws or Screw heads are damaged or worn out, it is best to replace them with new ones to ensure that the chair is fastened securely to the framework.

Repeat the same process for the armrest or headrest as the case may be, each time making sure that the part is returned to its natural state before being dismantled.

If you’re follow the entire process, your chair is most likely fully upholstered and ready to go.


Reupholstering a chair does not just give a chair a new look but also helps extend the life of your chair, and the process can be repeated as long as the framework is in good condition.

Instead of buying a new chair every time one wears out, follow the detailed steps outlined above to reupholster your chair, regardless of the material used to cover it initially.

Photo of author

Jason D. Turner

Hi there! My name is Jason, a keen enthusiast in power tools and their mechanisms and the sole mastermind behind the Noisy Tools. Working in a multi-national construction firm in Brooklyn for over a decade, I have developed a fair flair for different construction devices, gadgets, and their diverse operational aspects. By the dint of this platform, I have researched and reviewed various tools with utmost details of even the most trivial matters that will provide valuable insights for any prospective user.

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