Sunday, 20 November 2011

Making my chair last a bit longer

I saw an executive office chair, a bit like this one, in a shop window the other day, and thought it would be lovely to relax in a little bit of luxury while I am blogging. This one costs £183 from No I am not endorsing the company, just acknowledging where I borrowed the picture from.

I am not about to shell out for something I don't need, however tempting it might be, after all I do spend hours bashing away on the ketboard, surely I am entitled. Well no actually, I am not. I have already got a perfectly useable chair, although after ten years it is getting a bit tatty.

When I aquired my chair it had already had a previous owner, it was given to me when a new replacement arrived. My then boyfriend could well afford something like the posh chair above. He was about to chuck out his old chair when he asked me if I wanted it. Of course, thank you very much.

It came with a broken back. My hunky fella had leaned a little too far backwards, and with a crack the backrest wobbled and went all floppy.

Oh dear, not the best of typing positions to be in. I might be laid back but not that laid back.

I have managed with it by using a plastic coated washing line, tied to the arm rest on one side, taken across the back several times, and tied off on the other side. This has supported my back for the last ten years. I had to redo it once as it had stretched.

So, something better is needed. I have a spare ratchet and a short piece of belt, the bit left over from the dog collar I made. So, with the same principal of going from one side to the other, it makes a much better job of it, and easier to attach.

The next job of my refurbishment was to fill a hole with some foam and sew a patch on to cover it. My dear cat Lily is constantly reaching up with his front paws to sit on my knee, which is where he is now. I must say he is lovely and warm. As you can guess, his sharp claws have pulled holes in the corner of the seat cushion, but now it is mended.

One last thing to do, is to drape a very thick and huge bath towel, folded four times, over the back of it. The metal spine inside has started to stick out a bit and it feels lumpy. This will give it a bit of extra padding.

I must say, it feels quite comfortable, even though it has gone through the wars a bit. There's quite a lot of wear left in it yet, I simply cannot justify replacing it. Not bad at all for saying it was given to me free in the first place.


  1. Wow! Good for you! Obviously you have put a lot of thought and effort into keeping this chair and making it work! Bravo!!

  2. I've seen some lovely desk chairs that just got recovered in new fabric so that might be a possibility for the future. I keep a towel or a sheet over mine because my can like to lay on the top of the back an digs his claws in to hold on. The things we do for our fur children.

  3. Whilst I appreciate your thriftiness, I am seriously concerned about your back and your posture too. Just as well you get out and walk a lot.

  4. Ilona, Morrison`s used to sell something similar to the chair you`d seen in the shop window. I bought myself one last year, for just £15.00
    I`m not sure if you should skimp on a good chair for your office. Back pain can get worse from the wrong seats. Maybe you could find something a bit newer in a local charity sale.

  5. Before you know it, everyone will want a patched up chair as the latest fashion LOL!
    I noticed that 3 shops had knitted cardigans/jackets with either floral of tweed patches over the elbows...and that's before they've even been worn LOL!

    I have to have a bath towel over my 'office' chair, bought from Ikea years ago as the fabric is tickly/spiky, never got around to making it over and me with all the fabric I've got too, tut! Tut!

    Sandie xx

  6. That is a great repair job, back and front. Now, to suit your sense of style in clothing, find something to throw over the whole thing, something pretty or stylish. Since you modeled some clothing, give your chair something to model, wear permanently. You should see my raggedy sofa that is covered in a length of dark green upholstery velvet. It looks luxurious now instead of identifying itself as a 60's raggedy sofa.

    You could have my office chair except for 1) I already gave to exbf, 2) it's a long way to come for a free chair. I now just sit in an upholstered chair with my laptop and feet on an ottoman.

    I have a friend who breaks all his friends chairs by raring back like your ex did. He breaks wooden chairs, antiques or new.

  7. Just looked at my famiy room furniture. The chair and settee bought in Southampton in 1986 look tatty, the arms have worn through to show the foam padding. The other settee bought here in Canada in 1991 has come apart at the seams. I have just remembered that there are a couple of throw cushions stashed away (somewhere)...I'm going to patch the settees and chair with them. Thanks to Sandie's comment I'll know I'm being fashionable!!
    Jane x

  8. Thanks for the trip down memory lane again Ilona.I used to sit on a chair identical to the patched up one in your photo when I was working for a company a few years ago and it was just the right height for me for crimping terminals onto electrical cable wires.The arms were a bit rocky but I didn't care as it saved me from terrible back problems.I was so upset when they chucked it in the skip and brought me a shiny new one.I started having sciatica problems after that.Boo hoo...


  9. I wish I was nearby; I would come over and re-cover it for you - do you have any batting or old quilts that you could ramp up the seat with. I just did mine and am very pleased with it - I also re-covered it with some scraps of faux leather I found in a skip. I have a friend who taught me the fundamentals of upholstery and gave me a stretcher and a couple of other tools - saved me a fortune. Keep a look out at the freecycle, people throw out office chairs all the time sometimes just because a few nuts need tightening (their waste is our gain)

  10. My chair is from a federal government building. A guy trying to win favors from me offered to bring me his old one. I asked what was wrong with it. He said nothing that everyone got new chairs. With my money? Sure, I will take the old one. No, he was sent packing.

    If I lean back just a bit, it tries to become a recliner and I end up on the floor. The whole chair, not just the back falls backward. I think that may be my heavy bottom. My friend with her extra-heavy top sat in it and did not get spilled onto the floor. Eventually, I learned what I could do and stay upright. Exbf is NOT bottom-heavy, so it will work fine for him if he ever takes it home!

  11. Let me know how the patch holds up. I had the exact same problem and used strong tape. Only lasted for a few months however.

  12. I would imagine you can get office chairs on free cycle? might be worth investigating?

  13. Well done - I reckon that someone who makes such funky bags could now give it a funky finish - if you have a spare moment or two!! x