How to Update or Redesign Your Old Office Furniture

My recent series of articles on interior design have been targeted at improving the look and feel of your den or bedroom. I have covered chairs, artwork, and swanky coffee tables. This article, however, is meant to turn your attention to your office. We will begin by addressing your office seating. Now this could be your home office or your work office. Both types of spaces are plagued by ugly chairs. For the most part people know how to pick out and purchase nice desks or side tables or bookshelves. The place where you sit the most important part of the office, you, is treated as an afterthought or else overlooked altogether.

It seems that a very common type of chair is the traditional type that rests on “feet” which consist of five casters for mobility. The casters are placed at the ends of four spokes that protrude from a main stem which is often adjustable for height. Then the seat rests on top of this stem. The seat will usually swivel and have an adjustable back. Both the seat and the back support are usually covered with fabric while the rest of the chair is metal. The fabric on the seat and the back support provide appropriate cushioning but are often lacking in the style department. The fabric usually looks dated or just outright bland. The simple fact is it is very easy to replace the fabric on the seat and back support of these types of desk chairs so at to provide the same comfort and support but with a look that better matches your personality or the look of your office. The tools needed for this task are a Phillips screwdriver (or drill with a Phillips bit), a flathead screwdriver, a staple gun and a roll of masking tape. Finally you will also need at least a couple of yards of the fabric of your choice. This fabric can be of any type or pattern. It is up to you how you want it to look and feel. If you want suede, go with suede. Or if you want something solid, go with that.

Once you have the necessary tools and materials, begin the process by removing the back support. Remove the screws that hold the piece in place. Likewise there should be about 4 screws on the underside of the seat that you will need to remove. Use the flathead screwdriver (or other prying tool) to separate the two halves of the back support. Remove the old fabric and foam cushioning from the support. It should pull right off. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any dirt or dust that has collected. Now cut a square piece of the fabric large enough to cover the front part of the back support. Lay the fabric face down on the work surface and then place the front part of the support face down on the fabric. Then wrap the fabric around the piece and use masking tape to secure it. It does not matter how this looks as it will be concealed when the two halves are rejoined. If the old fabric was held in place by some kind of fasteners and these can be reused, then use those. Make sure that you do not leave the fabric too slack. Pull it tight before securing with the tape or fasteners. Once the fabric is in place then reattach the back half of the support. Snapping the two pieces back together will secure the fabric even more as well as keep it taut.

Now, the seat! The foam cushioning is very important. It provides the comfort for your bottom and because it has probably gotten a lot of use over the years, now may be a good time to replace it. Most any fabric store will sell foam. Simply buy enough from which you can cut a size to fit the seat exactly. Now, as we did with the back support, cut a piece of your fabric large enough to wrap the seat. Lay this piece face down, then your cushioning foam, then the actual seat. Wrap the seat in the same manner as you did the back support. Because the seat receives so much stress and because there is no other half to it to help hold the fabric in place, something more sturdy than masking tape is required. Now is the time to reach for your handy-dandy staple gun. Staple the fabric to the bottom piece of the seat by placing the staples along the edge approximately one inch apart all away around the seat. It is very important that you do not allow the fabric to be too slack! Pull it taut as you staple.

With the seat securely covered, reattach the seat to the chair using the screws that you removed. Likewise attach the back support. Your newly redesigned chair is now complete. Now that you know the process you can easily change out this fabric as often as you want. So if you redecorate your office or if you decide to change its look for special occasions, just take your screwdrivers, fabric, and masking tape in hand and go to it. Change it up as often as you like.