Turn an Old Car Seat Into a New Office Chair

By Tom Suddard
Mar 27, 2021 | DIY, tech, Office Chair | Posted in Shop Work | From the Oct. 2014 issue | Never miss an article

Step 1

Desk jobs aren’t all bad, what with their air conditioning and livable salaries. But there’s one thing that’s been bugging us: our uncomfortable office chair. 

Most people see two options here: Suffer on an uncomfortable perch all day long, or pony up for one of those expensive “executive” chairs found in the SkyMall catalog. We’re car people, though, so we prefer a more creative solution. 

Almost anybody who’s built a car or two has an extra seat lying around, and in our case it was the stock seat from a Fiesta. Time to put it to use.

Step 2

The office chair is held to its base with four bolts near the middle, while the Fiesta seat is bolted to the car with a bolt on each corner. To bolt the Fiesta seat to the office chair base, we’d need to make an adapter.

Step 3

We used pieces of scrap steel, but you can also buy some appropriate metal at your local home improvement store. We started by cutting, drilling and bolting a piece of angle iron to either end of the seat. Then we cut two more pieces of steel to create a box. Ideally this box should match up to the office chair’s base. 

Step 4

We clamped everything together and sat the seat on the chair base to make sure everything was lined up correctly.

Step 5

Time to break out the torch and weld our steel pieces together. Don’t own a welder? Bolting the steel together will work fine, too. Once the welds were cool, we drilled four holes and bolted the steel to the base. After applying a quick coat of paint, we were ready to attach the car’s seat.

Step 6

All done. We gave it a test-sit to make sure we’d centered the weight over the base. Not surprisingly, our new chair is much more comfortable than the one it replaced.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more DIY, tech and Office Chair articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
nimblemotorsports Reader
3/16/20 11:54 a.m.

Interestingly, I was contemplating the exact thing yesterday.  Did you maintain the electric controls? 

einy HalfDork
3/16/20 1:59 p.m.

Oooo ... since I am on work from home status for the foreseeable future, I should do that with the GTI's passenger seat!  But, I'd need to hook up the seat heater to really make it comfortable down here in my basement "office"!

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
3/16/20 2:14 p.m.

I'm sitting in my usual chair, an office chair made from a Viper seat. I've had this one for over twenty years.


FuzzWuzzy HalfDork
3/16/20 2:38 p.m.

Now to figure out the armrests and heated seat function....

mad_machine MegaDork
3/16/20 6:12 p.m.

I have a chair made from an E36 passenger seat that came out of my 318ti. It's very comfy. Because it was a fully manual seat, it needed no hookups. While it no longer slides or rises up, I did keep the tilt back function for when i need a small nap

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/20 6:36 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

I've been staring at that spare captain's chair from the van sitting in the garage & plotting how I'm going to install casters on it, so I can use it for suspension work. Or just sit in it, trying to get enough motivation to do suspension work. 

ProDarwin UltimaDork
3/16/20 6:51 p.m.

Does it immediately fall over if you recline?  :P

dculberson MegaDork
3/16/20 7:48 p.m.

I made one from a spare mr2 spyder seat!

Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/20 12:40 p.m.

Here's mine! (And yes, you can keep the power functions like recline and heat - just grab and old laptop power supply rated for 14ish volts).



dculberson MegaDork
3/17/20 12:54 p.m.

Found a pic of mine:

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/17/20 1:28 p.m.

Who's going to build one out of one of those Mercedes-Benz messaging seats?

wspohn Dork
3/17/20 1:45 p.m.

Fiesta?  That's a fair bit of work, maybe better to choose an upmarket (and more ergonomic and comfortable) seat like a BMW M or some of the modern Jags etc.?  There are a lot of cars whose seat I would not want to spend the day in, and the Fiesta is one of them.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/17/20 2:00 p.m.

The Fiesta seats were free. smiley

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/20 2:26 p.m.

I made one from a blue/purple velour Saab C900 seat. Now that I am working from home it is more comfortable than my normal office chair. I didn't hook up the seat heater though. 

Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/17/20 2:42 p.m.

In reply to EvanB :

Oh you gotta do the heater. Game changer.

Possibly even more effective if your cohabitator is always cold and you don't want to get boiled out of your own house.

Mndsm MegaDork
3/17/20 2:55 p.m.
FuzzWuzzy said:

Now to figure out the armrests and heated seat function....

Heated seats are as simple as a 12v power supply. 

wspohn Dork
3/18/20 1:18 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

The Fiesta seats were free. smiley

OK, I grant you that anything with th BMW symbol won't be that cheap!

I actually spent a fair bit for my office chair but it was worth it - I got a couple of decades of comfort out of it. If this isn't going to be a constant every day use chair, ergonomics can come second.

fanfoy SuperDork
3/18/20 3:21 p.m.

Back seats also make great sofas. This was made from a old Maxima rear seat and makes a great addition to my living room.

Our Preferred Partners