Before & After: A Fresh Look for an Old Office Chair

Before & After: A Fresh Look for an Old Office Chair

This $3 Goodwill score didn't beckon to me with its good looks — the beige body and stained corporate-blue upholstery weren't exactly stylish — but it felt really sturdy and comfortable when I tested it at the store. It wasn't much uglier than the chair I was already using in my home office, either, and when I flipped it over, I discovered it was made by Steelcase.

My plan was to have the '80s-era chair — former property of a bank — reupholstered eventually, but its ugliness started to get on my nerves. I wasn't convinced that it would even be worth the investment of professional upholstering, and didn't have the extra funds to go for it anyway, so I decided to give it a temporary makeover. Look at my cute office chair now!

First, I taped off the fabric and spray painted the arms and body. Next I used double-sided fabric tape to hold the new fabric — bought at Ikea on clearance — in place over the existing fabric; the tape also helps the fabric cling to the contours of the cushions. Then I used a tiny flat-head screwdriver to push the fabric into the space between the cushion and the plastic frame. The last step was time-consuming, but easy enough to do while watching TV.

Will it last indefinitely? I doubt it. But it will definitely hold me over for a few months until I can afford to have the chair professionally reupholstered. Now that I'm certain it cleans up so nicely, I won't fret about investing the money someday.

Images: AnnaMaria Stephens

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