Stair Lift Remake

A few years ago I was given an amazing gift that, honestly, has enabled us to stay in our two-story home: a secondhand stairlift. If you’ve ever priced a brand new lift, you know it can be very cost prohibitive. Installing a used stairlift comes with some inherent risks, but can be a life-changing help for those of us with chronic health issues!

My lift was completely functional and useful, but, like all things related to my health, I found myself wanting to put my own stamp on it to make it feel just a little younger and fresher. It proved to be a super simple project, with rewarding results!

First of all, here is the chair before my mini-makeover:

Photo of stairlift chair, with rose colored seat covers.
A stairlift chair with beige frame and arms, and rose-colored fabric seat. Photo by Livable by Design.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the original seat, it was just a little dated and plain. It needed a personal touch.

The first step was to remove the seat pads. My chair turns to the side, making it easy to access the back of the seatback. Removing just a few screws released the back piece (the chair portion on most stairlifts is also removable, which allows you to access these places).

Image of stairlift seat back.
The back of the chair is shown, with four screws visible. Photo by Livable by Design.

The bottom of the seat flips up, again giving easy access to the screws to remove the seat pad.

Image of underside of stairlift chair.
The underside of the stairlift chair is shown, with screws visible. Photo by Livable by Design.

The seat pieces, it turns out, were made of plywood. This made it ideal for my next step: attaching new fabric. I had picked out a durable, washable fabric in a floral pattern. I laid the fabric right side-down on the floor, then set the seat pieces on top, with the backs facing me. I cut out the fabric around the seats about 3-4 inches wider than the pieces.

I folded the fabric over the top of the first seat piece and secured it in place with a staple gun, stapling into the plywood back of the seat. I moved to the bottom of the piece and repeated this process; then repeated for one side, then the opposite side. I made sure the fabric was taut as I secured it. Then I tucked the corners over the plywood and stapled them in place. I turned the piece over to look at the front side, making sure the fabric was pulled tight and evenly over the seat cushion, and the curves and corners were smooth and even. If any places didn’t look right, I simply removed the staple and tried again.

Once both seats were re-covered, I screwed them back in place on the stairlift.

Image of stairlift chair recovered in floral fabric.
The same stairlift chair shown re-upholstered in floral fabric with beige background. Photo by Livable by Design.

For just a few dollars and half an hour’s worth of work, I had what felt like a brand-new stair lift. And, better yet, it looked like me. And, as I’ve often said, I’ve lost so much of myself to my health journey that reclaiming ground wherever I can is worth it all.

Gif of stairlift being ridden upstairs.
Gif of author riding stairlift up a staircase. Photo by Livable by Design.

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