Fabric Options For My Desk Chair (These Are The Swatches I’ve Ordered)

For about an hour last night, I seriously considered purchasing another desk chair for my studio. And because I’ve searched high and low for a green velvet high back desk chair with no success, I knew my only option was to purchase a chair from a place that will allow me to select a fabric.

So my mind automatically went to Ballard Designs. They do have a desk chair that I love, and I’ve looked at it several times in the past. Their Grammercy Desk Chair is beautiful, and I actually found a fabric that I thought would work perfectly in my studio.

But after about an hour of serious contemplation, I came to my senses. (I just can’t justify paying $1100 for a desk chair when (1) I’m perfectly capable of reupholstering a chair, and (2) I have a perfectly good desk chair with a very high back and a shape that I love. Here’s what my current desk chair looks like…

chair makeover - from dining chair to rolling desk chair - 1

I’ve done a lot of upholstering, so while it’s not my favorite thing to do (I’d much rather build than upholster), I just can’t let myself take the easy way out on this one, especially when the cost to do so is so high. Even having someone else reupholster my desk chair isn’t something I’d consider because (1) the wait time for local upholsterers is generally about two months, and (2) the cost for labor would start at about $500 for my chair (it’s a wingback with a separate seat cushion), not including the fabric cost.

So I’m afraid that my only option is to keep my current desk chair, and reupholster it myself. That’s fine. I’m capable. After all, I once built a chair from scratch and then upholstered it myself. Do y’all remember that? 😀 I even matched the patterns and everything. I was so proud of this project!

So I’m now 100% committed to upholstering my own desk chair. I’m going to stop looking for an escape route from this project because I’ve exhausted all other options. There’s no desk chair in existence that fits my criteria. So now, my only goal is to find the perfect fabric for my chair.

Since I did really like the fabric that I selected for the Ballard Designs chair, I decided to go ahead and order a swatch since they sell that fabric by the yard. It’s not velvet, so I’ll have to see what it looks and feels like in person. If my cat can easily get her little claws into this fabric, it won’t work. She’s been using my desk chair as a scratching post since we got her. (And yes, she has three other scratching posts, but she still loves to use my chair.)

From there, I just did a search for “green velvet upholstery fabric” to see what I could find. I did find some velvet options, but I also came across others that I couldn’t resist, like this green and white stripe.

I love the textured look of this one. It’s microfiber, and I’ve heard that it’s good for houses with cat as well, so we’ll see if it’s a good option.

And then I came across this velvet and absolutely could NOT resist. I love this so much!! I have a feeling that the colors will be all wrong, but I still had to see this for myself. The price is a bit hard to swallow, but I think I’ll only need three yards. So it would still be much cheaper than paying someone else to reupholster my chair.

And then I found several solid color green velvets. I’m so anxious to get this sample in my hand and see why in the world it costs $150 per yard. What could make a velvet that special?

I’ve used many P. Kaufmann fabrics in the past, and I’ve always been happy with them. This one is more in the price range I was expecting to pay.

I have a feeling this one will be way too bright. It’s kind of the color that the bases of my work tables were before I repainted them earlier this week. But maybe in person it won’t be quite this bright.

This one is way on the opposite end of the spectrum. I have a feeling it will be too dark, but I still want to see it in person.

If I’m going to go with a solid color, I actually hope this is the one that works the best. This is a happy green, and I’m really hoping it plays nicely with my pink cabinets.

And then I got two more swatches that are called Citron. In all, three swatches I bought are called Citron, and they’re all very different, so it’ll be interesting to see what they actually look like in person.

So let’s review. 😀 The chair will be sitting in front of these cabinets…

I also have an entire wall of cabinets that color on the wall perpendicular to those cabinets…

The wall opposite the desk area looks like this…

And the desk area is right by the back entry, which looks like this…

And these are the swatches I’ve ordered…

I’m hoping one of the first three works. If I had to choose today just based on the pictures, my favorite is the light green straw-look microfiber. I hope I like it as much in person as I do in the picture! And I also hope it’ll stand up against cat claws l like velvet does.



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  1. I’m not a person who cares for green. More of a sage if I’m going to go that direction. I would have gone the purple route, but that’s just me. That being said, the light green straw like micro fiber is my favorite out of your samples.

  2. I like your choice but only you will know how it will stand up to cat scratches. Personally I prefer no stripes too much going on around it.

  3. The straw look is my favorite too! On my computer it looks like it will work with the green entry area walls. Not feelin’ any of the striped choices. Hope the options arrive quickly!

  4. Lots of choices. I like the Kiwi one. But in person it may look different. I’d be so excited to get the samples.

    Your studio is so beautiful, but I’d sure hate to spend $150.00 a yard for material. That seems like way too much. I’d also hate to spend time and money redoing a chair the cat might tear up.

    It will be interesting to see which one you pick. Have a great day.

  5. Do you have the colors you are using on your light shade over the desk? I can’t remember if mentioned that already.

  6. I love the straw look one or the first one. Microfiber is the absolutely best material to use with cats. We have always had cats … and every piece of furniture that we own is either microfiber or velvet. You will like it!

  7. I picked the straw also. I like that it’s not as bold and patterned yet has a strong color. I will say that I’m surprised you’re not adding in a little teal since it’s a favorite of yours and is in the wallpaper yet not repeated anywhere as yet.

  8. They all look fantastic, and I know you will make the right choice. I liked Kiwi and Green Apple, can’t tell you why, and I am a person who really likes green. Good luck with the kitty test and hope it will hold up. That room is so incredible, I don’t think you could get me out of it.

    1. I think that might be too much purple for my taste. Now that the tables are purple, they’re quite a bit presence in the room. I’d be afraid to add more at this point, especially since I don’t like purple nearly as much as pink and teal, or even green.

  9. I love your desk chair and I’d definitely choose it over the one from Ballard Designs. I’ve done some reupholstering I wouldn’t want to put the time and effort into the chair only to discover your kitty finds scratching the fabric is irresistible! I’d go with velvet which would be beautiful on your chair. Will you see the chair against the green walls outside the studio? I would consider the lovely teal blue in the wallpaper for your chair.

  10. Your instincts for choosing the right color or item is always great, so excited to see the end result.
    We’ve had a couch covered with a microfiber weave and it was not a good choice with our indoor-only cat. It snags and I tried pulling the snags back under the fabric with a crochet hook, but it became a tedious task. It was an expensive custom couch from Flexsteel, and was OK with we had our indoor/outdoor cats since they dulled their claws when outside. But was a disaster later. Hope if this one looks the best that the weave is tight. Guess some velvets will snag too, but they’re easy to vac off cat hair

  11. I luv the Kaufman Kiwi, it looks sooo lush to my eye.

    I can see why you like the Green Apple color in regards to your room colors.
    Happy deciding!

  12. Sailrite makes a velvet that I a colorful confetti-like stripe that I’ve used. Can’t attach a picture so I can’t send it to you!

  13. I love the cheetah-like green, stripe and green apple best. I favor the prints because they would not show dust, dirt as much. Also if you accidentally sat down with a drip of wet paint the prints would be more concealing, forgiving. Can’t seem to get my practical self to chill.
    I reupholstered a similar chair…. front was turquoise/ivory cheetah, the back in turquoise, blue, green on ivory bird print. It was a bold choice but I have absolutely adored it with all my other furniture that is so neutral.
    You have a lot of energy in your studio design that supports it as a place of inspiration and pep.

  14. Love all of them but especially the random dots. I know what you mean about loving something that a cat will love too. I had a non-velvet chair that looked worse than one of the scratching posts. The back of the chair wasn’t in a very visible position in the room so after reupholstering, I cut a piece of 4 gauge vinyl in the same shape as the back and pinned it over the good fabric. They hated it. : )

  15. Great choices. The stripe looks fun but might be a challenge with the curves of the chair. The microfiber is also my favorite. I have 2 cats, one religiously uses the scratching posts and the other one only scratches the furniture. I have a bed upholstered in microfiber that he tries regularly but can’t get his claws into. I put microfiber slipcovers on my sofa and loveseat and that put an end to his scratching them. I just need to reupholster the dining chairs as they are now his favorite!
    Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  16. I like the straw-look sample. I think it is wise that you’re set on doing the chair covering yourself because you know the chair you have is comfortable for your stature. and boy, that is a major consideration.

    A client decided on a chair sight unseen and could not be deterred. He was a short person but despite my reasoning as tactfully as possible that the front to back seat depth was not likely to be comfortable for him, he was determined to go with it. Expensive fabric and poor design for him personally led to “Why didn’t I listen?” I let him answer his question.

    Put on a good book to listen to and have at it. It is all coming together so well.

  17. Take a look at the velvets at Famcorfabrics.com. I believe they are a wholesaler. They sell direct to consumers as well. Prices are great! I think the “Bella” and “modern” and “Justin” velvet lines are ones I’ve ordered from before. They send samples. Enjoy!

  18. I really like the Green Apple Velvet, and, the Emerald Green Velvet. All of the swatches you ordered are beautiful choices. I can’t wait to see your choice after you have finished it.

  19. The chair being parked where it will, it’s going to need some of the cabinet color in it (pillow?) or on it, imo. I like them all but the spots are nice, all the greens, and the Kovi stripe is nice only it lacks at least one of the prominent colors in your wallpaper. All, so very beautiful choices!

  20. The Tully Pear is pretty and the print is smaller and won’t conflict with the other patterns in the room. My choice. And the price is good.

  21. I love all the greens! The Green Apple Velvet looks like the same color in your landscape where the grass is. Kind of ties things together, but you have to see them in person to decide.

  22. We’ve had a microfiber couch for 11 years now and have had 4 different cats around it. Only one has ever even attempted to scratch it, and she stretched up and put her claws into it a few times (no damage) and decided it wasn’t worth it. Our cats have always preferred to scratch cardboard lounges, so maybe they just know their preferences and don’t care to scratch other things, but after 4 cats it seems like evidence that they don’t like to scratch microfiber. And as I said, we have had this couch for 11 years, 4 cats, 4.5 years of toddlers, and it looks like new still. It’s dark brown, so it does hide stains, but I wipe it down a lot with a cloth dipped into 1tsp powdered laundry detergent and 1/2c peroxide per gallon of hot water, wrung very well, and it cleans so easily. Fur vacuums off very easily too. It wasn’t even an expensive performance microfiber – it was a $500 American Signature sectional. So I think you’ll be happy with microfiber.

  23. Fun! I love samples. There are always some surprises when they arrive. Green seems like just the color you need to balance what’s already in the room.

  24. Kristi, have you ever tried Soft Claws on your cat? I know not every cat will tolerate them. My old boys were fine with them (and styling!) but my new boy Henry would NEVER!

    Also, have you looked at Fabric Guru? Their prices are usually often better that others’ because they have discontinued and remnants. Their inventory changes often. They don’t currently have any green velvet but this chenille is cool (and reversible!). Check out https://www.fabricguru.com/forest-color-theme/tempo-galaxy-reversible-woven-chenille-upholstery-fabric-forest.html#main-content.

  25. If you have any wall space left you could frame your swatches and hang them perpendicular to the wall paper wall

  26. The straw microfiber is so pretty – I hope it works out.

    The citron ones are giving me serious Grinch vibes 😅 Anyone else??

  27. Late to the party, but oh, I LOVE the multi-colored stripe, but not the price! My “alternate” to it would be the straw-looking one also!

  28. all great options. I also have cat damage and recently had a recliner recovered in velvet as i read they cannot get their claws into due to the tightness of the weave. I am here in metro Atlanta and LOVE going to Fabric and Fringe Warehouse. They have an immense collection and you can order samples. Great selection and service. Highly recommend.