Old chair, new chair

A friend in Dubai who was moving to Abu Dhabi recently offered a preloved leather swivel chair to our group of friends for free. Since there were no takers and we have been making do with sitting on a stool while working on the computer for the past months, I took up the offer.

I didn’t know that I was in for a surprise then. According to her, it was still in a good working condition. So when we finally picked it up, I was a little shocked; the leather on the seat was worn out, discoloured and has cracked. See below:


However, she was right about its functioning state. We could still adjust the height of the chair and the wheels were all working great. To be honest, I almost wanted to leave the chair behind or dump it away but my inner voice told me to be grateful and give the chair another chance.

I thought hard about what to do with it. I tried putting a huge blanket over it but it was uncomfortable and too slippery to sit on. I fell from the chair twice! Should I send it to Dr Leather for refurbishment? But that would cost me almost the same price as a new chair, though probably a lesser quality one. Then I remembered that a friend (thanks, Hui Ling!) once transformed an old and boring office chair into something that looked as good as new. I turned to Mr Google for tips and guidance.

I decided to give it a new lease of life. “I won’t give up on you,” I told the chair. The objective was to keep the refurbishment costs as low as possible. So when I was back in Melaka for the summer holiday, I went to Bunga Raya street for fabric shopping. I wanted something versatile and unisex, and at the same time, something cute. It can’t be too thick or thin as well. Oh, did I mention it has to be cheap too?

I finally settled on a dark blue polka dot fabric, retailing at RM3.50 per meter. I bought 4 meters, which was way more than enough.


Other tools required include a staple gun and its bullets (RM30). A handyman-husband too.

Fast forward to Dubai, Hubby dismantled the chair with an Allen key. We measured, cut, folded and stapled the fabric to the chair. The most tedious part was to wrap the sides of the chair while pulling the fabric tightly and making sure the folds look presentable. It took us around two hours to complete the process.

Here’s the end result:


Well, it doesn’t look professionally upholstered if you look closely but it’s great for a first attempt. Best of all, we only spent RM44 (around AED49) for this project. Instead of buying a similar brand new chair which will easily cost us eight to ten times more, we also get to reduce, reuse and recycle!

What do you think of our “new” chair? 🙂


10 thoughts on “Old chair, new chair

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