Office chair repair

Right to repair / Office


After a few years, my office chair was so worn out that it could no longer be hidden. So far I always had a seat cushion and could cover the affected area well with it. The thought of the damaged spot remained, and so I looked around for a new chair. These were all too expensive for me because I had already invested a lot in the old one and it looked good to me (except for the broken part). I ordered online foam, artificial leather, upholstery nails and a black spray can to fix it myself. With 38-40€ I was well on course. It can't be that hard to re-upholster a chair.


I already had many of the tools at home. Only the spray paint, the artificial leather, the foam and the upholstery nails were important. You can order everything online if you search for sentences such as chair upholstery or upholstery materials using a search engine. As already mentioned above, this is not quite as expensive and if you calculate it exactly you save a lot of money. It is always more expensive to buy a completely new office chair.

  • Metal shelves
  • Hacksaw
  • Parallel vice or clamps
  • Hammer
  • Wood saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Iron file
  • Upholstery nails

The old office chair we'll be repairing in the next few hours.

First we unscrew the armrests. We do this with the Allen key. If the screws are heavily canted, you can help with pliers and a portion of leverage.

Fortunately, the chair has no special screws for which we would need special tools. A normal stress tester is sufficient to detach the metal struts from the two plastic backrests.

The screw jack for the substructure and the tacker needles with which the artificial leather was attached to the underside of the seat are clearly visible.

The substructure with the axle and the rollers.

Since the metal armrests were difficult to paint in the box, I took them out after a short drying time (10 minutes) and wedged long shashlik skewers in order to be able to place them better and spray them.

After removing the cover I also wanted to remove the metal clips from the wood. But that turned out to be so hard that I didn't do it, because the old brackets are getting the new one anyway.

We roughly draw the contours of the seat with a black marker so that we know exactly where we have to cut with the scissors.

The idea of cutting the foam with scissors turned out to be quite stupid. A straight cut is possible to 0%, and that was only a rough chopping and pricking.

The upholstery nails aren't as good as I thought. The wood is industrially manufactured and therefore too hard to hammer in the nails properly. The caps also always slipped off. You need a lot of practice and dexterity to work well with upholstery nails.

It's really hard to pad the seat. It takes an incredible amount of strength and patience to pull the imitation leather halfway into the right position. Do not drive the nails in too deeply so that they can be loosened again. Only when everything fits perfectly do you drive the nails in firmly.

Almost done (also with the nerves). From here I needed about 40 minutes for the fine work. In total you should allow 4-5 hours for the complete work.

The armrest is screwed back on so that it can be attached to the office chair again.


There's a lot I learned from this repair. Upholstering an office chair with new upholstery is more difficult than expected. It cost me a lot of energy in some places and I started to sweat too. As I saw later, there is padding glue with which you can glue foam and covers, so that they don't slip when you pull the material onto the wood. I didn't know that. I will also save the upholstery nails in the future and prefer to use a tacker machine with tacker nails. They go deeper into the wood and also get better through the imitation leather. The upholstery nails are slightly bent in some places and I had to take new ones.

Nevertheless, I am satisfied with the result, because it looks almost like new again and I have saved a lot of money. We throw far too much away and waste our resources, only the materials of the earth are not unlimited. I say this again and again here in the documentaries, but you can't mention something like that often enough. Don't waste any raw materials.