Colorful Office Chair Makeover

I am so excited to be able to show you the office chair we made-over! Not just because I think it is so fresh and fun, but because it means it is finally finished!

This is a makeover that honestly was begun about a year ago when my parents were visiting. A number of delays, such as lack of cute fabric and splattering spray paint (first go-around) have pushed this should-have-been-fairly-quick project to the back-burner for too long! Today I am happy to claim victory! It is a boring and basic office chair no more!

As you know, I am a little intimidated by my sewing machine, so this project would never have been completed if it hadn’t been for my mother, who I’m pretty sure is not intimidated by anything!

I don’t think she knew what grand visions I had for this chair when she started tearing into it. We took pictures of the process, in case you, like I, are unsure where to start. With this chair, the top portion comes off easily by unscrewing the black knob. There are small screws holding the black box inplace. Once unscrewed it shouldn’t be a problem to take it off. Flip the base of the chair up-side-down to unscrew the metal frame from the bottom cushion. The frame can now be spray painted. (We primed with a spray paint for plastic and finished the chair in Rustoleum’s Strawflower–a light muted yellow.)

To recover the top of the chair, you first have to pry off the back panel with a flat screwdriver or knife. Then come the tedious job of pulling out staples to free the fabric from the chair. You might have to be careful when separating the fabric from the foam so that it stays intact.

I don’t really have pictures of the rest of it. Mom used the flattened original fabric as a pattern for the new covers.

I finally found a fun, modern floral fabric that was heavy-duty enough and on-sale enough for me to be excited about! I believe it came from the outdoor fabric at Joann’s. Not sure that my mother approved of my fabric choice, but thankfully she didn’t boycott my project. Don’t you think we ought to trick our brains into thinking work is fun? The chair screamed tedium before. Now it looks like a party is happening at my desk!

Mom sewed up the pieces and gathered them around each section, then stapled the fabric securely on. I might have to double check with her on this one, but I believe the screws in the back through that box, secure the back panel to the rest of the top cushion. I am now realizing I should have sprayed the knob and the box. *sigh* I still might, but I’m not going to hold off on blogging this until I do.

I finally completed the spray-painted portion of the project over Spring Break (on the windiest day–cause I’m smart like that!). And BSB helped me screw everything back together–ready for use.


Something was amiss! At least I thought so, but BSB who had experience working in a furniture store, insisted that he had installed the top portion the appropriate way (Exhibit A), and really thought I was insane (what’s new?) when I had to flip it around to see what it would look like the other way (Exhibit B). I had been picturing it like this all along. When I finally dug up the old before pictures, I knew why…

It had apparently been on “wrong” the whole time! I think I prefer the line of Exhibit B from a style standpoint, and while BSB maintains that A is more comfortable since it was designed to go like that, I find them equally comfortable.

So I’m asking for your help! Will you please settle our marital dispute. Which orientation do you prefer for our funky office chair? Exhibit “A” (The right way according to BSB), or Exhibit “B” (The more retro/stylish option IMHO)? I’m dying to know! 

At least maybe now, I’ll be more motivated to get that office area organized, since I’ll have a fun place to sit while doing it!

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  1. I think B looks awkward… I Love the chair and am going to side with BSB and go with A on this one. :o)

    • Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve been using an old office chair, as my vanity chair in the bathroom, since it’s so stinkin’ comfy! I’m getting my house ready to sell now so it’s time for my office chair to be cute also! 🙂

    • Peggy Barr says

      I have this exact same chair that I recovered myself several years ago and I was sure that the rounded part should be at the top until I looked over at my chair and I was wrong. So the correct answer is “B”. The rounded portion should be at the bottom.

  2. I vote for B – your shoulders and upper back are wider and need more support than the small of your back – so that seems logical (and looks better!!) to me!!

  3. I think “B” looks more proportional and like it would fit your shoulders and lower back better…

  4. I think B looks funny… haha. 🙂 But the chair looks amazing!! Great redo!!!

  5. Terri Gunn says

    They both look good so pick which ever is most comfortable for YOU.

  6. Terri Gunn says

    …and thanks for giving me another project to do…

  7. I don’t care for style a at all! Go for b
    , go for whatever you like better! Looks fabulous!

  8. I absolutely love this chair, but you left out the most important details. The wording was so vague on how she made the fabric cover. I read it over a couple of times, and as a “sewing challenged” crafter, I need a lot more guidance in that area. And….I vote for A! 🙂

    • I was a little vague as I am also a “sewing challenged” crafter, but the good news is, I double checked with my mom and there really isn’t a lot of sewing involved in this one. Here’s what she said:

      “I possibly sewed a half inch or so seam around the bottom and inserted a string so that it could be drawn in. The best way to know is to be observant as you take the old cover off and then copy what was done in reverse. I think that the top was drawn in and stapled then the back piece was covered in a similar way and the two were fit together with the hardware. Probably the most important thing on this chair was to have a staple gun to put the fabric back onto the seat and the back.”

      I think she sewed the seam because that had been done originally, but if you are handy with a staple gun, this could likely be a no-sew project.

      Good luck!

  9. Gael Tino says

    Great makeover! I’ve seen office chairs re-done but yours is the first to have spray painted it too! Did u use a special spray paint?

    • Hi Gael,

      We did initially get a spray paint that was designed to adhere to plastic (The big brands make these, just look for the plastic designation on the label). The first can we bought was having some trouble splattering, so I used it more as a primer and went back over the top with a can of regular spray paint in the color I wanted. If you are concerned about the finish, they also make sealers you could use. The chair surface was pretty textured, rough, so it took the paint well. Hope that helps!

  10. So fun and funny to see all of the strong opinions on the matter. We may have to flip it back and forth for a while to appease us both! Thanks for the votes! 🙂

  11. I have been wanting to do that to my chair… You have given me some inspiration!!! Thank you!!! xoxo- Rachel

  12. I like A….tend to be a traditionalist…trying to go a little more modern so B looks good as well. Never wanted, at all, an office chair because of their looks…. well, missy… I might have just changed my mind, thatnks to you!

  13. The black knob in the back looks like a flower. I love it! And I am siding with your husband with the chair, A looks better.

  14. Orientation B looks best in my opinion in case you’re tallying votes to see who wins! But either way, the chair is adorable!

  15. That is adorable!! I have no less than 3 (!) of those types of chairs in my sewing room and it has always bugged me how ugly they are. What a fantastic idea! Thank you!!

  16. Awesome job! I hate I just threw out a chair just like this one because it was not to my liking. My husband needs a new chair for his desk so now I will be on the lookout for one similar to this that I can remake!

  17. I think ‘A’ looks much better with the new fabric and colors. I’ve stared at both pictures for a while now, haha. Trust ME.

  18. wi.dragonfly says

    I think “A” provides more support for your lower back while leaving more room for the shoulders to move. Usually people need more lower back support….

  19. Cool project, but all this mother did not approve stuff makes you sound a bit like norman baites

  20. Very ptetty! How much fabric did it take to cover the chair?

  21. “B” simply because we need more support just between the shoulder blades. If you look at the wooden office chairs, most of them flare at the top for that very reason. Just check an ergonomic website for the “official” call on that one. Nevertheless, you have turned a blah office product is something with a lot of pizazz! BRILLIANT!

  22. Hi there,

    I’m having a bit of trouble visualizing how you put the two fabric-covered pieces of the back panel together.. I have a very similar chair where I have to take the back panel apart (which somehow are joined with nails) and now I’m wondering how to put them back together. How did you do it???

    Great work on the chair, by the way! It looks amazing!

  23. Hooray!! I think you should paint the knob red – the same color as the flowers in your fabric. It looks like a flower, so why not?

  24. azazazazaz says

    A, definitely

  25. Oh, I love it!! It looks amazing both ways. I had my husband bring my old chair home for me to redo. I asked him today where it was and he put it on the curb. So now my amazing chair is no more…. Yours is the greatest makeover! Either way looks great.

  26. Hi, I just bought a super comfy office chair at Goodwill for $2.99. But it is super ugly. It is the same style as yours, so your pictures are helpful. How did you tuck the fabric between the back cushion and back panel? I don’t see that that part comes apart and I don’t want to resort to a loose slipcover. Thanks…

    • My chair had a piece that comes off. You may have to pry it apart. I’d have to see the back of your chair (and probably ask my mom) in order to offer you any further advice.

  27. Love your chair and am showing a picture of it at our Habitat for Humanity “Pinterest Day” event at our ReStore in honor of Earth Day! A question I have is… does the paint chip when you adjust the seat? It is so beautiful, I would hate for that to happen but it might be a question that our visitors might ask!

    • Hi Joanne!

      We’ve used the chair for a couple of years now, and the paint seems to be holding up fine. I think the fabric has faded more than the paint has chipped, but all in all it still looks good. I definitely recommend spray paint and probably a kind that is designated for plastic since there are a lot of plastic parts on the chair and to apply the paint in thin layers. Rolled on paint might peel after a while.

  28. Noel Jahar says

    I’m hoping to refurbish a chair as well, but I am still confused as to how the seam at the back is not distracting. Any additional info would be great.

    PS. A all the way!

  29. This is great, would be nice to have a little bit of color and creativity going on in the office besides having the normal boring shades. I would make mine polka dotted hehe

  30. Samantha says

    Hi! I picked up almost the exact same chair… same brand and colors and all. I planned on covering it for my son’s desk. I’ve been all over Pinterest trying to see how to get the back to pieces to stick back together! After reading your posts, yours have held for a few years, what kind of adhesive did you (your mom) use? I’m terrified to pry the pieces apart and not have them stick again after!

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  31. I w?s wondering if you efer considered chanving tthe structure of your website?

    Its ve?y w?ll written; I love what youve got to say.
    But msybe yo? could a little more in the way of cont?nt so people could
    connect with it b?tter. Youve ggot an awful lot of text for only
    having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you coul?d spade it out better?

  32. Becky marshall says

    I am curious about the rollers. Did you leave them the original color? I think that the paint would wear off if they had been painted yellow. You did a great job and I love it!

  33. Good answer back in return of this question with firm arguments and telling everything on the topic of that.

  34. When you don’t have any work to do then you can do some different like this. Nice to see an inspiring post like this.

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  36. Hey,
    I am Maxine L. Knighton. Your chairs is so colorful and gorgeous.

  37. Hey,
    That is great, but it would be even better to add some vibrant colors and creativity to the office instead of the usual dull tones. Because I love this color.


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