Covering an Ugly Chair




Introduction: Covering an Ugly Chair

About: I'm self taught. I like to make things. (I'm also very thrifty and I don't care much for shopping, so I make a lot of my gifts.) I'm pretty much a do-it-yourselfer.

How to Cover an Ugly Old Chair

My husband bought this ugly orange office chair at a surplus sale at work for $5 at least 30 years ago, (who knows how old it was before the job wanted to get rid of it...) I had a love/hate relationship with it. I loved that it was very comfortable and also that it was very sturdy, (we’ve had dozens of computer chairs that have fallen apart!), but I hated the color and it was stained too. I finally decided to do something about it when we redecorated the office. Here’s how I did it.

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Step 1: Gather Your Supplies


Ugly Chair


Philips Screw Driver

Flat Head Screw Driver


Cotton Batting


Staple Gun with Staples

Velcro (either sew on or stick on)

Narrow Elastic

Needle and Thread (or Sewing Machine)

Furry Helper (Optional)

Step 2: Remove Legs and Seat From Ugly Chair

I turned it upside down and unscrewed the legs from the seat and then unscrewed the seat from the arms.

Step 3: Measure and Cut Batting and Fabric for Seat

The foam from the seat cushion was very old and disintegrating, so I decided not to remove the old covering, but to add some cotton batting right on top of it, then put the new fabric over that. Measure the seat size and cut out some batting adding some extra for around the sides and the edges to fold over. Do the same with the fabric but leave even more extra around the edges. (You can trim it later if you need to; just make sure you have plenty to fold over to the underside.)

Step 4: Staple Fabric Onto Underside of Seat

Place the fabric face down on the floor, then place the batting on top of that. Then lay the cushion face down on that. Fold over one edge. Use your staple gun and staple the fabric and batting to the underside of the cushion along one edge. Now pull the fabric on the opposite edge tightly and staple that too. Go to each corner and fold those over tightly, taking care to avoid big wrinkles, and staple those too. Fold over and staple the other sides tightly.

Step 5: Attach Fabric to Back

I couldn’t get the arms off the back, and also I couldn’t get the back of the back off like I had hoped to, so just decided to work around them; (it was a bit trickier than the seat.) I Measured and cut the fabric, being sure to leave extra. I discovered I could force the blade of my flat head screw driver in the slit between the front and back. I laid the back on the floor and covered it with the fabric, then doubled it over. I decided I would fold the fabric over it on both sides and tuck the edges into the sides with a flat head screw driver. I also just tucked the bottom edges into the crack on the bottom of the back.

Step 6: Padded Armrests

I couldn’t get the padded armrests off either, so I decided to just cover those too. (I would also make them removable so you could wash them if you wanted.) I measured some batting for those and wrapped it around the old ones. Then I measured some fabric making sure to leave extra for the elastic and Velcro. I folded over the front and back edges and sewed them, making casings for the elastic, and inserted the elastic, gathered it, then sewed the ends of the elastic. Then I sewed a strip of Velcro along the long edges where the bottom seam would be. Wrap this around the armrest tightly and fasten the Velcro. Make sure it covers all the old armrest.

Step 7: Reassemble Chair

Screw the seat back onto the arms and then screw the legs back onto the seat. Have your helper inspect the chair.

Step 8: Admire Your Work!

You are done!

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I have an office chair that just last week started to crack and peal. This is perfect timing.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I hope it helps! :-)


    2 years ago

    I really like orange, but I do think the blue looks nice as well :)


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks, the blue matches our office better. :-)