Can low or worn, sagging chairs be repaired? Learn 3 solutions that won’t break the bank.
Is it getting harder to stand up from your favorite chair? Maybe your old football or dance injuries are catching up to you. Maybe you’re tall and standard chairs are generally too low. Whether you need a little extra help or want to give an older seat a refresh, try these 3 quick and easy fixes to reinvent it!
3 Solutions for low or worn chairs
Risers to elevate low seats and beds
WARNING: Remember to check the weight limit for any item used. Consider the weight of the piece of furniture including the weight of the people who will use it before deciding on which product or solution to use.
Risers for chairs, sofas, love seats and beds with 4 legs
Here’s a solution that works for low beds and sofas as well as chairs that have 4 legs. You can buy plastic or wooden lift platforms which are usually labeled as “bed risers.” The furniture leg sits on a platform that has a lip around it so the leg doesn’t slip off. They come in various heights generally from 2 to 8 inches high.
These are especially popular with college students who want to raise their bed to be able to add additional underbed storage in dorm rooms. But they also work really well to make a chair, sofa, or non-dorm bed higher.
I’ve used these with many clients and they are a game changer. Adding just a few inches of height can turn an uncomfortably low seat into a perfect height chair, sofa or bed. And they only cost a few dollars.
If you’re thinking it can’t be attractive to have lifters under your chair, you might be surprised. Depending on the type of furniture and the height and design of the riser, you may hardly notice the lifts are there. A chair or sofa with a skirted bottom hides bed risers well. If you get risers that match the wood on the leg of the furniture, they also blend in easier.
Add higher legs or feet
This will not work for all chairs, but may be an option for some chairs with removable legs. The original chair legs/feet can be removed and replaced with longer/taller legs or feet. You could even change up the look of your chair or sofa by choosing a different style or finish of the new legs/feet.
Prices vary depending on style, height and finish, but you should be able to get 4 new basic legs or feet for less than $30.
Platform risers for chairs & recliners
Another option that is sometimes necessary or preferred for maximum stability is a full platform. This would be used if the furniture doesn’t have individual legs/feet or ones that fit on individual risers or if extra stability is needed or desired.
Full platforms are usually needed for any type of recliner because the base of the chair is larger, more complex and needs more support. There are DIY wood platform tutorials online and options to purchase as well.
If you make your own platform, be certain to put anti-slip material between the platform and the chair to prevent slippage. Also have a lip around the entire platform so the chair base does not fall off.
Keep in mind that all platforms will not work with all recliners because the chair base often needs to move to achieve a reclined position. Depending on the configuration of the platform, it may prevent the recliner from rocking, reclining or both. For recliners, I highly recommend thoroughly examining how the recliner works before purchasing a platform. Experimenting with a DIY trial setup will help to determine what platform type will work best. A sturdy wood pallet can work well for testing height and platform configuration.
A platform may be able to provide enough assistance to eliminate or postpone the need for a lift recliner.
How to choose the right seat height
Some risers come as a 4 pack with several heights to choose from so you can experiment to find the best height. You can also try putting pillows or cushions of different thicknesses on the seat to estimate the height that may work best before making a purchase or starting construction of a platform.
Don’t just try standing up and down a few times and make a decision. Use the chair for a few days, experiment with more or fewer pillows or cushions until you find what works the best at all times of the day and night. What works in the morning when you have the most energy and least pain may not work later in the day as you fatigue and aches accumulate.
Solutions to increase seat support
If your chair seat lacks enough support either after years of use or even when new, try adding under cushion supports. There are several ways to accomplish this:
Add a piece of thin plywood under the chair or sofa cushion that is cut a little smaller than the cushion. There are some commercially made support base options as well.
Experiment with different thicknesses of plywood or support bases to achieve the right amount of support you desire.
Base with support boards or slats
There are also some types that combine boards or slats of attached wood or plastic instead of one solid piece. The theory is that the individual pieces can shift while still providing support which will likely be more comfortable. It really depends on the type of seat because I have seen these work really well and also not at all.
Replace cushion foam
New, firmer upholstery foam for the chair or sofa cushion seat will make a dramatic improvement in support and make it easier to stand up. If the cushion covers can be unzipped to remove the foam and insert new foam, this is a fairly quick and easy project.
If the cushion covers are not zippered and removable, consider adding a zipper or recovering the cushion when adding new form. In case you can’t match the original fabric, chairs with different, but coordinating fabric on the cushion are trendy.
You can also replace the foam in the cushions on the back of the chair although this won’t have as much impact as increase firmness on the seat cushions.
Best type of foam
There are 2 main types of cushion foam, solid and shredded. Make certain that the new foam is specifically for upholstery purposes because it provides the most support and durability. Foam comes in a variety of types and thicknesses. Also consider whether having foam that is waterproof may be best for your situation. If there is a high likelihood that liquids such as food and beverage as well as urine may be an issue, foam with liquid resistance may be a good idea.
Cost of foam
Upholstery foam is not inexpensive, but is much less expensive than replacing a favorite chair or sofa. Finding affordable upholstery foam can be challenging. Foam is something that “you get what you pay for.” So consider how much the seat will get used, how long you want the seat to last and of course your budget.
Where to purchase foam
Some craft stores have a limited selection of upholstery foam. Local upholstery shops may sell foam and could give advice about the best type of foam for the application and how to measure correctly. Most cities probably have a foam company or supplier, but they may not sell directly to individuals. There are also online stores offering varying amounts of products and customer service.
DIY instructions for foam replacement
I am not familiar with this company so I can’t recommend it’s products, but the instructions they provide are easy to understand and a good place to start. If you want to purchase foam, I would give them a call to see what they offer.
3 Quick & easy solutions for low or worn seats
- Add bed risers or a riser platform to the chair, sofa, loveseat or bed
- Add under cushion support
- Replace or add foam to cushions
Although one of these repairs may solve your furniture woes, perhaps it’s just a way to extend the life of the furniture. By living with a modified seat for a while, you will begin to see the comfort level of a different height or cushion firmness so you’ll be better able to choose a new chair, sofa or bed in the future.