Whether it’s due to changing styles or simply a desire for something new, people often update their furniture well before the end of the product’s useful life. This led me to explore the idea of reconstruction of a task chair – how could a chair be updated or modified to update its style or renew interest?

I acquired several inexpensive task chairs from IKEA. The chair model I chose to reconstruct, called “Rickard,” is a cheaper version of the ubiquitous task chair I disassembled. It has an upholstered seat and back, pneumatic cylinder, and adjustable back depth and height. It costs a mere $19.99, making it the perfect candidate for a college dorm room, to be used for a year or so, and then thrown to the curb. At such a low cost it is essentially designed to be disposable. How could I add value and interest to a disposable chair to inspire users to keep it longer?

Flower Child Removable covers with fabric from IKEA, hand embroidered detail to increase emotional durability.

Citizen Cane Removable covers with reclaimed caning from discarded chairs and recycled wool felt.

Maria Reclaimed leather jackets with functional pockets, a playful twist on the leather executive chair.

Miyazaki Anime-inspired high back with scoop head rest. Fabric from IKEA, fully upholstered including base.

Studio 54 Stretch Fabric, faux gold chain. This disco iteration alters seat form but retains function.

Captain von Trapp Fabric from IKEA, this version winks at tradition and delves into whimsicality bordering on absurdity.

I shared the project on Instructables and on Ikeahacker, and made the pattern for the seat and back covers available as a free PDF download.

 Rickard chair $19.99 from IKEA     
 Flower Child     
 Flower Child detail   with hand embroidery 
 Citizen Cane     
 Citizen Cane detail   Reclaimed chair caning, wool felt 
 Maria   Reclaimed leather jackets 
 Maria detail   Placket and functional pockets 
 Miyazaki   fully upholstered with headrest 
 Studio 54   Faux gold chain and stretch fabric 
 Studio 54 detail     
 Captain Von Trapp   plywood, foam, batting, IKEA fabric 
 Captain Von Trapp   plywood, foam, batting, IKEA fabric