Recovering office chairs…

StudioFrmBedroom-01I've had two mis-matched office chairs in my studio for several years. One is tall for my drafting table, the other is the one I use at the sewing machine and computer. I finally found a perfect fabric (by Heather Bailey – Oops! I just found out is Anna Maria Horner's fabric. Both ladies do such great work I got confused) to recover them.

Last weekend, when my head was too sore to applique (due to a sinus infection) I decided to tackle the chairs. If this is something you've wondered about doing I want you to know that they were surprisingly easy to recover.

Both of the chairs' seats were screwed to their chair's base. Once off, it's pretty easy to remove the old fabric from the seat and put on new fabric. The chair backs are more cryptic.

There's an obvious join between the back and front of the chair back. To separate them put a small pry bar into the join and pry them apart. In both of my chairs the front and back had been nailed together with 1" finish nails. I recovered the individual parts. Nailing them back together is a trick. I snaked new 1" finish nails into the fabric in such a way as to be able to pop the fabric over the end of the nail once it was nailed in. I was careful not to mar the fabric. 


Aren't they cute! I sprayed them with Scotch Guard and I hope it works. I considered spray painting the metal parts of the chairs a color but the black looks OK and I just didn't want to fool with them any more. In the photo above I cleaned up the area around the chairs. Just so you know that my studio is not that pristine, here they are in their actual environment:


And a question… does anyone know what that plant in the background is? It was a gift and if I know what it is I'm less likely to kill it. I'm guessing it wants light and not much water – and a bigger pot than it is currently living in. Here's close-up:


18 thoughts on “Recovering office chairs…

  1. Yes, a bromeliad. I bought several at Central Market and gave for Christmas gifts. The label on the plant if I remember right said to keep moist, which was a surprise…I was thinking they could be on the dry side. Just google it!


  2. The chairs are lovely Becky and Heather’s fabric looks great very fresh, good job on my return from a 3 week holiday I’ll have that project waiting for me.
    Thanks for the tips, hope that rotten infection is all clear, they are so painful infected sinuses.
    Have a good week on your new chairs.
    Heather will be impressed!


  3. Becky the chairs look great and I’m sure Heather will be very pleased to see her fabric on display in this way.
    Thanks for the tips on doing this job, they’re very boring office chairs a smarten up like you’ve done transforms.
    Bromeliad- I live in Brisbane Queensland Australia and these plants are very popular here, they require a little shade and a wee bit of sun, I don’t water mine, let the heavens do it for me and they have been very accomodating of late, the flower head actually holds the water and they drink from that,mine are in the garden not indoors, hope that helps.


  4. Yes, it is a bromeliad.The bloom will last several months as others have stated…put a little water IN the leaves, and bloom. The plant will only bloom once from the same stalk, so just pitch it when it dies, unless you like just the green plant. Should there be a “pup(s)” growing from the side near the bottom, separate this and replant it. the new pup should eventually bloom. Here in Fl. they grow prolifically outside without much trouble. I usually buy new blooming ones every year for pots in the patio, and when they are past their prime, I throw them in the plant graveyard and the pups thrive and bloom without any interference. Nurturing the pups in a pot takes more effort than I am willing to do.
    Love the chairs!!!


  5. Get an office chair with armrests to take some of the strain off your neck and shoulders. The armrests should be adjustable as well, to let you position them in a way that lets your arms rest comfortably while making you less likely to slouch.


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