How To Reupholster An Office Chair On A Budget Step-by-Step Guide

Reviewed By Chiropractic Specialist

Reupholstering an office chair on a budget can be a great way to give it a new look and make it feel more comfortable.

Whether you’re looking to refresh an old favorite or make an inexpensive purchase more functional, reupholstering an office chair is a simple and affordable way to do it.

This step-by-step guide will show you exactly how to reupholster an office chair on a budget without sacrificing quality.

I’ll cover the materials you’ll need, the tools you’ll need to do the job, and the techniques to achieve a professional-looking finish.

With a few simple steps, you can have an office chair that looks brand new in no time. So let’s get started!

Materials Needed for Reupholstering

While a few different materials can be used to reupholster an office chair, the most common are fabric, vinyl, and leather.

Materials Needed for Reupholstering

Each of these materials has its pros and cons, so it is a good idea to consider which one will work best for your chair and your needs.

Fabric – Fabric is the most common material used for reupholstering office chairs, especially chairs with upholstered seats. Fabrics like cotton, linen, and polyester are popular choices for reupholstering office chairs since they are durable, easy to clean, and come in various colors and patterns.
Vinyl – Vinyl is a common material used for reupholstering office chairs with a wooden frame since it is easy to clean, waterproof, and will not absorb liquids. However, vinyl is not very soft, so it may not be comfortable to sit in the office.
Leather – The leather may be the best choice for your new chair seat if you want a soft and luxurious look and feel. While it is more expensive and requires more maintenance, leather is a great luxury.

Tools Needed for Reupholstering

Tools Needed for Reupholstering

There are a few tools you will need to reupholster an office chair. Depending on the type of fabric you use, you will likely need a staple gun, scissors, and a yardstick or measuring tape.

Staple Gun – A staple gun will be necessary if you use fabric as your reupholstering material. A full-sized or mini staple gun will work for reupholstering an office chair.
Scissors – Scissors are necessary for cutting fabric and staples.
Yardstick or Measuring Tape – A yardstick or measuring tape will be incredibly helpful for reupholstering an office chair. You will use it to measure and mark your fabric and cut it to size.

Step-By-Step Guide To Reupholstering

Reupholstering an office chair on a budget can be done by almost anyone with just a few tools, fabric, and a little time. This step-by-step guide will show you how it all works.


Remove Old Fabric

The first step in reupholstering an office chair is to remove the old fabric. This is usually done by pulling it off the chair and cutting it away with scissors or a utility knife.

Be careful when removing the material from the chair frame and seat since you don’t want to damage the chair.


Measure and Cut New Fabric

Once the old fabric has been removed, the next step is to measure and cut your new material. Use the yardstick or measuring tape to measure the length and width of your fabric.

Once the fabric has been calculated, you can cut it to size. You’ll want to add extra material at the ends to allow for a clean cut and ensure you have enough fabric to reupholster your chair.


Start Reupholstering Process

Once your fabric has been measured and cut, it’s time to start reupholstering. First, you will want to tape your material to the chair frame. This will help you get a smooth and clean edge when you staple it to the frame. Once your fabric is taped down, you can start to staple.

You should start at the back of the chair and work your way around the seat and any armrests. You should also staple the fabric around the bottom of the chair legs.


Secure and Finish

Once you’ve finished stapling the fabric to your chair, you can start to secure it with a few hand stitches. Use a needle and thread to secure loose fabric and ensure everything is nice and tight.

You can also finish off the raw edges of your fabric with a simple zigzag stitch. This will help to prevent fraying and give your reupholstered chair a clean and finished appearance.

Tips for Successful Reupholstering

When reupholstering an office chair, you can do a few things to make the process easier and ensure that your new chair fabric looks great. These tips will help you reupholster an office chair on a budget and with professional results.

Measure Twice – The first and most important thing you can do to ensure that your reupholstering job looks professional is to measure your fabric correctly. This will help ensure that your fabric fits your chair comfortably and snugly.

Staple On The Outside – While you can staple your fabric to the inside or outside of your chair frame, it is generally recommended to staple it to the outside. This will help to add support to the fabric and make it more durable.


Can I reupholster a chair myself?

Absolutely! Reupholstering a chair yourself is a great way to save money and have fun simultaneously.
The first step to reupholstering a chair is to remove the old fabric. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the staples, then pull the fabric away from the frame. Check the frame for any worn or damaged wood and repair it as needed. You may need to sand, prime, and paint the frame if it is damaged or discolored from age.
Next, you’ll need to measure the chair and cut your new fabric. Measure your chair’s height, length, and depth, then add 4-6 inches to each measurement. This will give you enough fabric to fold over the edges. Use chalk or a fabric pen to mark where you need to cut.
Now it’s time to attach the new fabric to the frame. Start by stapling the fabric in the center of each side of the frame, then move outward towards the edges. Stretch the fabric tightly around the frame and ensure it is evenly distributed. When stapling, make sure you use enough staples that the fabric won’t come loose easily.
Finally, use scissors to trim any excess fabric and neaten the edges. You can add decorative details like buttons or piping for an extra special touch.
And there you have it! You can now enjoy your newly reupholstered chair and be proud of your work!

How much does it cost to reupholster an office chair?

The cost of reupholstering an office chair will depend on several factors. Firstly, the size of the chair will play a role in the overall cost. The larger the chair, the more fabric, and labor will be needed to reupholster it. Secondly, the type of fabric you choose will also influence the cost. High-end fabrics such as leather or silk can be more expensive than other, more affordable materials. Finally, the labor required to reupholster the chair will also factor into the cost. If you’re hiring a professional upholsterer, their hourly rate and the time it takes them to complete the job will also play a role.
Overall, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150-$500 to reupholster an office chair, depending on the size and type of fabric chosen.


Now that you’ve read this guide reupholstering an office chair on a budget should be a walk in the park.

Reupholstering an office chair is a great way to refresh an old favorite, starting with measuring and cutting your fabric and ending with a simple finish.

With just a few simple steps and tools, you can reupholster an office chair in no time. So whether you’re looking to update an old office chair or on the hunt for an inexpensive new chair, reupholstering is a great option.

Ron Mason
I, Ron Mason, am a retired forestry professional. My previous profession was that of an environmental educator, specifically as a Forester, with the USDA Forest Service. Additionally, I have worked as a contract forester in the private sector. With a strong background in science and engineering, my expertise lies in timber stand management, forest ecology, and wildlife biology. I am a dedicated woodworker and take pleasure in crafting furniture, tables, cabinets and other wooden items as a hobby.