Before and After: A $20 DIY Takes a Boring Desk Chair from Corporate to Chic

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Before: Standard blue office chair
Credit: Sarah

Many people have been working from home for months now, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for whatever desk chair you bought pre-COVID-19. Instead, take the lead from Sarah: When she decided she needed an upgrade without breaking the bank, she gave a lift to an on-sale seat.

Sarah was looking to spruce up her working space in her New York City apartment, and found a $30 chair from Pier 1 during their going out of business sale. “I wanted something that would look nice in my apartment without it feeling like an office,” Sarah says. “My apartment is small and my desk is in the living space. I wanted my home to still feel like that!”

Credit: Sarah

The chair was at the right price point, but not exactly what she was looking for aesthetically. So, she picked up some fabric for $20, and headed to her parents’ house in New Jersey where she could access more tools and materials. 

With the help of her boyfriend, she took the chair apart and began swapping out the fabric, but ran into trouble when removing the back cushion. Sarah says it was the “most difficult piece” of the project, because it was plastic, which made stapling in the new fabric difficult. But the bottom of the chair had a wooden base which she says was much easier. After they reupholstered both cushions, they spray painted the bottom black to give it a “sleek final look,” Sarah says.

Credit: Sarah

“I love that we did this ourselves and that it was my first DIY project at this scale,” Sarah says. “It was fun and I am happy with the result. I also really like the pattern. If I were to do it again, I might add extra fluff to the bottom cushion to make it a bit more comfortable.”

For just $50 and two hours, Sarah created her perfect desk chair—something she recommends to others who are less than enthused by their home office seating. “Have fun and try it out, even if you are unsure if it will work!” she says.