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Can my office chair be re-upholstered?

If you find that your Office Chair’s fabric is badly worn and the Chair is still in otherwise good condition or the fabric no longer fits your office decoration, what can you do about it?

A lot of the better chair manufacturers offer a re-upholstery service, particularly for their better quality Office Chairs. So, in the first instance ask your supplier if this can be done. Provided that the cost is reasonable and the chair is in good working order it is well worth considering. However it is unlikely to be available or economically viable for low cost Office Chairs, particularly as these sorts of chairs tend to use cheaper snap fit components that can’t be re-used.

HÃ…G of Norway has a novel answer to this problem as they offer a wide range of quality Office Chairs with removable seat and back covers, you just need to let your supplier know which model you have and they will provide you with a new set of covers for your Office Seat. It is usually possible for you to change the fabric covers yourself as they are retained with zip fasteners.

If your Office Chair manufacturer doesn’t offer a re-upholstery service you may be able to find a local specialist that could undertake the work for you. Ask your Office Seating supplier if they know anyone or look in Yellow Pages or search on the Internet.

Keeping your office chair looking like new

As you use your Office Chair every day it’s a good idea to keep it clean and dust free. First, if you are buying a new Office Chair check with the supplier to see if the upholstery is offered with any form of fabric protection treatment. If so, I would recommend having your new Office Seat treated when you buy it.

At least once a week give your Office Chair a thorough clean with a good quality vacuum cleaner. You wouldn’t believe how much dust and dirt builds up on an Office Chair.

Don’t believe me? Try beating the seat firmly with your vacuum’s nozzle before you clean it and see how much dust flies into the air.

By vacuuming your Office Chair regularly you minimise the build up of dust and small grit particles which if not removed will reduce the life of your Office Chair’s fabric as they cause wear in the fabric itself.

If your Office Chair is upholstered in leather then regularly wiping the surface with a damp cloth to remove dust and grime is a good idea. Periodically, say 3 or 4 times a year renovate you Office Chair’s leather by washing it lightly with saddle soap or a proprietary leather cleaner. This will help to keep your Office Seat’s upholstery in good condition and avoid it cracking and becoming dried out.

Your chair’s metal and plastic parts are pretty much maintenance free and just require a wipe over with a damp cloth.

Never use any silicone based cleaner on your Office Chair, particularly on leather.

Office Chair upholstery selection

Once you’ve decided on the model of Office Chair you’re going to buy you then need to decide on what sort of upholstery to select.

A lot of people choose leather for their Office Chair and this is fine for a Boardroom Chair or a Side Chair. But, as regards for any Office Task or Operators Chair I feel leather is not the right choice.

The problem with leather is that you tend to slip about a lot on it and you can often find yourself sliding around your seat as a result. I’ve tried a number of leather upholstered office swivel chairs over the years and I found they all suffer from this problem. I had one once with a forward tilt function that seemed to want to try and eject me onto the floor, and it wasn’t a cheap chair either.

Leather also has a nasty habit of putting a really good shine on the seat of your clothing, not what you want if you wear expensive suits and outfits.

My personal preference for Office Seating upholstery is for a good quality, durable fabric. Try and choose something that isn’t too heavily patterned or bright, remember you’ve got to live with you new Office Chair for the next several years. I would recommend a plain, or lightly patterned fabric for your chair, the better fabric ranges have a very wide range of choices so you should be able to match your Office Chair quite closely with your office finish.

Make sure that the fabric you select is hard wearing and has a good rub count. This is an abrasion test that the chair fabric is subjected to by the manufacturer and  you should ask your Office Chair supplier for the fabric’s rating. Look for a minimum rating of 40,000 when selecting your Office Seating fabric.

You should also check to see that it complies with any fire retardant properties that may be legally required. A reputable office furniture and seating dealer will know all about this.

Incidentally, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a cheaper fabric has a lower rub count, quite often some of the budget rated fabrics have a high rating. And in fact some of the most expensive Office Seating fabrics can have a low rating so you need to make sure.