To fix a flat office chair cushion:
- Try fluffing it up in the dryer or using sunlight
- Wrap the existing foam cushion in fiberfill
- Replace the old, worn-out cushion with new foam and fiberfill
The method you need to use depends on how flat your cushion is and the material of the cushion.
In this article, we explain how to revamp or replace your flat cushion and what you can do to prevent flattening in the future.
Why Office Chair Cushions Go Flat
While flattening is a larger issue with cheaper foam fills, every office chair cushion will flatten with enough time.
This happens as:
- The foam degrades
- Moisture warps and curls the material
- Pressure pushes it past its yield state
Flattening may occur sooner when the chair is under a lot of pressure or deals with issues like high humidity or moisture.
But you have several options to regain the comfort of the office chair cushion.
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Revamping Your Flat Office Chair Cushion
If your cushion is not too far gone, there are a few ways you can fluff up the existing material.
This only works for a short while and will not undo years of damage, but it solves your problem at little to no cost.
Sunlight and Air:
Allowing your office chair to sit in direct sunlight with good airflow for a few hours can help evaporate moisture and allow the cushion to decompress.
This also works well to get rid of some odor-causing bacteria, and it shouldn’t cost you anything to do.
If possible, flip the chair cushion to ensure all areas get proper sunlight and airflow.
Let the chair air out for as long as possible, but keep in mind that the sun can bleach fabric and break down plastic.
Aim for a few hours up to 3 days for the best results.
If you’re on a shorter schedule or don’t have consistent weather in your area, popping your cushion in the driver for 15 to 30 minutes is a better choice.
Even just an air fluff cycle can push more air through the cushion, while heat drying will help dry out any moisture.
Make sure your cushion is in decent condition before moving forward with this method. Dried up, the crumbling foam will just deteriorate faster.
You should also pay attention to any parts attached to the cushion that will not do so well in the dryer, such as staples or plastic backing.
When possible, isolate the cushion from the chair and the cushion cover before running it through the dryer.
Fiberfill offers an additional layer of comfort on top of the foam, and it may be more resistant to flattening and deterioration over time.
If your foam cushion still has decent shape, remove it and wrap it in a sheet of fiberfill to immediately improve the level of comfort.
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The success of this depends on the state of your existing cushion and ease of access.
If you have to completely disassemble your office chair cushion, it’s better to replace the entire cushion at the same time.
This only costs a bit more and prevents the need to repeat the process.
Replacing Your Flat Office Chair Cushion
Replacing your office chair cushion requires a larger investment but offers the best results.
When you replace the cushion, you can choose materials that work best for your situation, including upgrading the base fill of the cushion.
For most office chairs, replacing the cushion is more an issue of an annoyance than difficulty.
If you’re okay with tedious staple removal, you should have no issue replacing your flat office chair cushion.
Gather the right materials before you start on the project. For most chairs you need:
- Screwdriver and/or an Allen wrench
- Staple puller
- Scissors and a blade (to cut foam)
- Foam padding
- Adhesive spray
- Staple gun and staples
- Chalk or a washable fabric marker
- Protective gloves, goggles, and mask
Make sure you choose dense foam that meets your needs. Now is a good time to replace your basic foam cushion with memory foam.
Protective wear may seem like a nuisance while working with the materials, but they prevent nicks from the blade and crumbling foam from getting into your eyes and lungs.
To disassemble your chair, you need to isolate the seat of the chair. Using your screwdriver or Allen wrench (or both) detach the backrest and armrests to leave the seat and lower the assembly of the chair.
Use the chalk or washable fabric marker to indicate the front of the cushion on the cover (this helps with reassembly), then turn the seat over and release it from the underside.
Remove the cushion from the fabric cover and the wooden base. Usually, you need to remove several staples with a staple puller, pushing it away from your hand as you do so. Use the pliers to take care of any stragglers, and only remove as much of the cover as needed to pull out the cushion.
Preparing the Padding
If the old foam cushion is not falling apart and still has its basic form, trace that onto the new foam to get the general shape. If you did not have fiberfill on the old cushion and plan to add it to the new one, make sure you account for the extra width.
Cut the new foam along the outline, then cut enough fiberfill to wrap over the top of the cushion.
Spray foam adhesive on one edge of the cushion, wait about 10 seconds and then press the fiberfill to that edge. Work from one side to the other, making sure there is enough tension in the fiberfill while avoiding the center of the cushion.
When you have the edges glued down, wait about 5 minutes for it to dry completely, and, then cut off the excess fiberfill.
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Installation and Closing Up
At this point, you can put the office chair cushion back on the cover and reassemble your chair.
Take care to pull the cushion cover snug around the padding and then staple the cover back to the wooden base.
Reverse the process you took to remove the seat, arms, and backrest to return your chair to normal, and then sit down and relax on the comfort of the new cushion.