Before & After: New Upholstery for my Steelcase Amia Chair

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Slowly, but surely, I’m working on our office space. As I mentioned in the post about the curtains, it is the very first room you see as you walk in the front door, so I really want it to be beautiful. The color scheme is orange, blue, black and white. Clearly, my beloved green Steelcase Amia chair stuck out like a sore thumb. Not to mention the fact that nearly two years of wear and tear really had done a number on it’s upholstery. I’m almost embarrassed to show the photo above. It is easily the most comfortable office chair I had ever owned, but it was no longer the most stylish.

Something had to be done. I bought several yards of Mod Green Pod’s organic cotton Aspire fabric a LONG time ago with the intention of making some pillows and reupholstering a chair that I ended up donating to Habitat for Humanity. Since that never happened, I had that beautiful fabric just sitting in my craft bin waiting to be used. It was a perfect fit for the Amia, since it is a fairly rugged, home decor weight fabric meant to stand up to constant use.

How do you like her now?

amiachair-after

I was skeptical at first about pairing the Aspire pattern with the orange I already had on the windows, but I like it. Aspire is a very deep slate blue — almost gray, actually. It’s a nice complement to the lighter blues I’m using throughout the rest of the space.

I will admit I was petrified to take apart this $600 chair, afraid that I would irreparably damage it. But once I removed the back from the base with a few screws and some elbow grease, the rest was pretty easy. The plastic base came apart from the front of the chair in a few snaps, and all it took was a few staples to secure the fabric. The bottom of the chair back required a special strip that snapped into the frame. This strip was attached to a piece of stretchy fabric that was then sewn into the seam of the green fabric. Since I couldn’t remove this necessary part without ruining it, I had to improvise around this obstacle. I folded the fabric and stapled it into the seam so the staples wouldn’t be visible. I think I did pretty well, and it’s invisible unless you flip the chair over and inspect it carefully.

I totally cheated on the seat. I didn’t have the right tool to remove the seat from the chair base. So what did I do? I used a flat head screwdriver to push the fabric snugly between the seat and the plastic base. The fit is very snug and secure, and I almost wish I had just done the same with the back. Then it would be really easy to remove when I decide to change the fabric again. Since I plan to own this chair for a very long time to come, it’s nice to know that I can change the fabric as my mood and decor changes. I wish still wish I could be spending my days working from a vintage tulip or lucite chair, but something tells me this is a lot more comfortable.

I’m pretty happy with this makeover that cost me nothing but some fabric I already had.

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10 comments… add one

  • Naomi July 12, 2010, 4:16 pm

    Wow- what a fabulous transformation! I love it.

  • Cassi July 13, 2010, 11:22 am

    Wow! I have a very similar office chair, and I would love to try something like this. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • jennae July 13, 2010, 11:51 am

      @Carla Go for it! It really wasn’t nearly as hard as I anticipated, and I wish I had done it weeks ago!

  • Stancie @ Fig+Sage July 13, 2010, 6:14 pm

    Your office chair makeover looks great – I love the new fabric!! I have hesitated sharing photos of my home office transformation because it isn’t 100% complete – but you’ve just inspired me to do a “progress post” :) Thanks Jennae!!

    • jennae July 13, 2010, 6:52 pm

      Stancie, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d love to see your office in progress. In fact, I’d love to see your whole home, because we all know you have impeccable taste :)

      • Stancie @ Fig+Sage July 13, 2010, 7:12 pm

        Jennae, You definitely know how to make a girl grin from ear to ear :) Thank you for your very kind compliment! I’ll work on getting a Phase 2 Office Makeover post up soon. It may take awhile longer for the rest of the house – I feel like its an entire work in progress, but I know how fun it is to see others homes so I’ll have to consider it. My next purchase should probably be a really great camera so I can take really great pictures :)

  • Kathleen July 28, 2010, 6:26 pm

    That\’s amazing, and I adore that fabric. I never realized you could easily cover an office chair.

  • Turid February 11, 2011, 7:00 am

    Thank you for sharing with us! Very eco, I love it :) I´ll try the same.

  • decoguy June 25, 2012, 12:08 pm

    Hey jennae, Thanks for the great idea, i love it =)
    I think the fabric choice against the orange was a great idea and the space looks beautiful.
    I want to redo my chair too but the problem is my desk chair is leather… have any suggestions on upholstering leather? Id love to hear what you have to say

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