Velvet Desk Chair Makeover

5 Materials
1 Day

Today I’m sharing my velvet desk chair makeover with velvet fabric. This DIY started out by chance. I was actually browsing to buy a new office chair! That’s until I found this chair in the picture below.

Feel free to check out my blog post if you need the in-depth guide to reupholster a desk chair! It's a very rewarding DIY project

This is the chair I started with! I decided to add the new fabric and padding on top since my office chair was still in fairly good condition apart from the top fabric tearing in some places. It’s a good idea to replace the complete upholstery when working with an old piece of furniture as it has gathered dust over the years and can trigger allergies. Better start clean if that’s the case!

To start, take the chair apart and remove the feet from the seat. You might have to remove extra items, like armrests or decorative piping. For example, my chair had a sort of rubber piping running all the way around the seat, hiding the staples. I just pulled it off with my pliers.

For the feet, cover the parts that won’t be painted with paper and tape and spray paint. It’s best not to paint the wheels as the repetitive rolling motion will eventually chip the paint away.

I decided to add more padding despite keeping the existing chair padding. It’s always worth providing your derriere extra comfort while seating on your office chair! If you want to get upholstery batting, that’s great. Another sustainable option I took was to upcycle an old duvet.

Simply lay your duvet flat and place the chair seat on top of it to trace the pattern. Add an inch of allowance to make sure you don’t cut it too small.

Staple the batting, starting at the top and working your way around the seat. I always staple evenly on both sides, pulling tight.

Lay down your fabric and place your chair seat on top to trace out the pattern. Like with the padding, add an inch or two extra around the pattern. Once you have cut the pattern, place it on top of the rest of the fabric to cut another – one to upholster the front and one for the back.

Starting with the back fabric, staple the top edge of the seating area loosely. You will come back to it later to add more staples but for now, you just want to hold it in place. Apply a few staples on the bottom edge, pulling very tight.

With the top and bottom edges secured, you can work on the sides: start by stapling the middle bend on both sides. Work your way along the sides, stapling on both sides and pulling the fabric taut as you go.

To reupholster the front, start by laying out your fabric on the chair, adjusting so that it is even.

Start by cutting a few dents in the fabric that will go around the middle bend. This will make it easier to pull the fabric tight. Staple in place on both sides of the bend. These are provisional staples you can remove later if needed.

Next, start working on the top edge of the seat. Pull the fabric tight over the padding. Staple over the seam of the back fabric. You want to achieve a straight line which you can hide with double pipping later.

Work your way around the sides, placing staples close together. When you get to the middle bend, remove the initial staples with a flat screwdriver if you need to pull the fabric tighter.

When you staple the sides, take a look at the shape of the seat. It might have a natural curve like mine in the picture above. If it does, make sure to follow that curve with your staples.

Once you have gone around the seat and your front fabric has been secured, cut the fabric as close to the staples as possible.

This chair makeover uses double piping in the middle bend and all around the seat. You can buy this type of decorative finish online or in fabric stores but it’s also possible to make your own. Check out my tutorial if you want to make double piping for pennies!

Before you hide the middle bend crease, hammer a few nails along the crease in a straight line.

Now, apply some fabric glue to the crease, little by little, and press the double piping into the glue. Staple both ends of the piping into the chair seat to secure it in place.

To finish the reupholstery, glue a long piece of double piping around the chair. Start in an inconspicuous spot, I chose the middle bend. Apply glue as you go along and press the piping into it, making sure you follow the curve of the chair seat.

And finally, now that you have reupholstered the whole chair seat, you can screw the feet back on!

That’s all it takes to makeover an old chair. Don’t hesitate next time you see one on the curbside, adopt a chair!

Resources for this project:

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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2 of 10 comments
  • Flipturn Flipturn on Feb 19, 2021

    When sewing the double piping, to help eliminate jumped or uneven stitching, I would recommend that you use a piping presser foot.

    Also for sewing upholstery material of this density, especially if it has a backing, use a quality brand name denim/jeans/canvas needle.

  • Pascale Mohr Pascale Mohr on Feb 24, 2021

    Very nice!