Before & After: Steelcase Office Chair gets Polka Dots!

Before & After: drab to pizzazz!

Poking around the furniture section of a local thrift store, I came across this 1977 Steelcase office chair. Even before I knew Steelcase was a name denoting quality, I could tell this was a well-built chair. Grungy as she was, her potential was clear. No repeat of that 70’s yellow for this one. I had already decided she would wear something much more festive! When I came across the aqua Polka Dots, the decision was made for me.

Before & After: drab to pizzazz!

Before & After: grunge to gorgeous!


aqua on green - ocean dream

Aqua polka dots on a green ground – perfect for an oceanside office

Do you see her in different garb? What fabric would you like to see on this chair?

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About the Author

CarlaHey there! I'm Carla Pyle. I love the stories that our furniture tells. For me a picture of my Granddaddy Milton's green upholstered arm chair brings to mind the vivid rhymes & colors of 'The Cat in the Hat' and his soft low voice in the telling. I love too that there is always an element of nature in furniture - the warm-toned curving grain of a walnut leg or the reflection of life in a mid-century chrome piece. The best part of teaching & sharing natural upholstery is that it ties all of these things together. Stories - of individual experience and of the planet - help us build happy & healthy homes.View all posts by Carla →

  1. CarolCarol03-15-2015


    I have 3 Steelcase barrel chairs with the plastic back and plastic rim where the cloth front meets the plastic back. I haven’t found any instructions on how to reupholster them. Specifically, how to remove the plastic rim (and replace it). Can you give me some input on this?



  2. CarlaCarla03-16-2015

    Hi Carol,
    This was one chair for which I did not photograph the process, but I can tell you what to try first: use a small prying tool to lift the plastic rim/edging away from the outside shell – it might be easiest to start at the top, where you should find a screw at each corner. Unscrew these and work your way around the edge to the bottom, unscrewing any more that you find (I can’t remember how many there are in all – maybe 6?). Once you get the screws out, the outer shell will separate from the inner shell and you can take the fabric off. Be sure to take lots of pictures as you take it apart, so you know how it goes back together. Use the old fabric pieces as a pattern – steaming helps flatten them out. Good Luck!

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