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DIY: Office Chair Makeover with Fabric

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Fabric and Slipcovered Office Chair Makeover

This is my desk chair.  It was in a photo on a previous post I did about organizing my creative space.  You can find more in my post, here, Getting Organized.   A few of you asked me if I was going to do a post about the chair.

So I decided, why wait – here is:

Office chair makeover 101


Here is the chair as I am taking the simple slipcover I made for it off the back.

White and black polka dot fabric being added to a red office chair.

You can see the typical office chair fabric on the back, not my style. I kept the polka dot fabric on for the photo, but that has the red fabric underneath, too.  I bought the chair because it was the right price and had lots of cool ergonomic features that I wanted.  I knew the minute I got it home it would be getting a makeover.

Removable cover on office chair

I keep a stash of  leftover fabric from previous projects and this black and white check and polka dot are from that stash.  I didn’t have enough of each to do the seat and back in the same fabric so I picked both since they coordinated.   You can see the slipcover I took off for these photos draped over the arm.

Black and white checked fabric cover.

 I made the slipcover with my circa 1950’s Singer.  I am not a sewer, but this machine given to me by my mother-in-law works like a charm.  I like the surprise of a little detail, so I added striped piping.

I didn’t use a pattern, I just took the back measurements and made a “pillow case” style cover to slip over.  The back of the chair is slightly curved and I wanted it to look fitted, so I kept putting it back on (inside out) and pinning it, sewing more until I was happy with the fit.  A rectangular or square back chair would be easier.

under side of seat showing staples
How to staple fabric to the seat

How to Cover the Seat on an Office Chair:

For the seat, I un-screwed it and took it off the chair to make it easier to cover.  I simply cut the fabric to size plus extra to wrap around and staple to the underside of the chair.  I made sure the fabric was  taut and lined up as I stapled.  I am a display designer and our motto is “Whatever you can’t see can easily be faked or not so pretty”.

I did try to be a bit neat by folding the fabric under as you would a hem so no unraveled  threads would show.

How to cover an office chair with fabric

Much better than the office fabric underneath.  When it gets dirty it is easy to take off and clean.   I should tell you that any fabric would do.  The polka dot on the seat is silk.  The check is cotton duck cloth.

How to Cover an Office Chair with a Molded Plastic Back:

Heather from My Frugal Family left a comment about her chair having a plastic back and not being able to cover it.

The following photos are of the chair I have on the opposite side of my partners desk.  It is from IKEA with a plastic back.

office chair with new fabric cover

If you have a chair that looks like this, you can still cover the bottom in the same way as directed above.

Close up of the back of an office chair seat.
How to take the back off an office chair so you can cover it with the fabric of your choice.

For the back, if back doesn’t come off –  pry the plastic back away with a screwdriver or putty knife and push fabric in to secure  – or

How to take the back off an office chair.

Depending on your chair you can unscrew the back and carefully pull the plastic back from the upholstered front.

covering the back of an office chair

Then cover the upholstered side and snap the two sides back into place, then screw the whole thing back onto the chair.

covering the bottom seat of an office chair

There are 4 of these snaps. Line up the front and back and place on a hard surface and press hard until you hear all 4 snap back into place.


If you would like to see how I made my chair over again in green and white fabric check out this post: How to Make Over an Office Chair   I used paint and a throw rug…YES a throw rug!


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  1. THis is such a great idea for an office chair! Why do they make them so very ugly!??
    I love the polka dotted fabric too!


  2. That is an amazing transformation, and oh-so-cute… I would have never thought to fix up one of those horrid awful office chairs, thank you for the inspiration! (Now, I’m off to learn to sew, apparently, LOL)

  3. I love that you like me feel everything should be pretty not just functional. I did something like this a few years back, but mine was more of a slip cover for both pieces. The funny thing is the seat cover had fringe around the bottom and my girls would steal it and wear it as a wig, I should have stapled that bad boy down. Live and learn, live and learn. Thanks for the lesson, I will know better next time.

    Cha Cha