Jamie Lawrence

Restoring my Humanscale Liberty

Sidenote: I ❤️ my Liberty chair

I love my Humanscale Liberty chair for it’s comfort and unrivalled simplicity. I’ve used ridiculously complex chairs like the Herman Miller Aeron but the Liberty has by far the best sit-and-play experience. No faffing around. No configuring three different levers. Just sit, set the seat height, set the armrest height, and… relax!

Cracks appear

But that mini-review aside, I was disappointed that my armrests has started tearing. Well, the cat scratched one of them but the other just developed on its own.

Armrest tear

I’d tried gluing the tears back together to stop them spreading but it didn’t work. I tried some black gorilla tape which worked but it wasn’t a great feeling under the elbows.

Armrest repaired with Gorilla tape

You can get replacement armrests in the US pretty easily but I couldn’t find the replacement gel armrests in Europe. And, besides, they’re $85 for a pair.

Then after a visit to a fabic shop, I thought, “why not recover the armrests myself?”


There’s some awesome fabric patterns out there and this seemed like a good way to inject some personality into my office.

I tried to find a balance between something colourful, with a fun pattern, and hard-wearing but soft. I eventually went with this nice hedgehog pattern because everyone needs more spiky friends.

Hedgehog fabric


There’s no great complication with re-covering the armrests: you just need some fabric, a staple gun (I bought a cheap one for €10), and some 6mm staples.

The pads detach from the arms by unscrewing two small screws and sliding the pads forward slightly.

Disassembled Humanscale Liberty armrest

The pads themselves are made from a hard foam structure with a gel padding on top. It’s makes it pretty easy to staple the fabric on.

I cut out a piece about three times the width of the armrest to give myself plenty of room to position the pattern across the armrest and pull the material tight.

When I’d got it all positioned correctly, I stapled one side of the material. Then I pulled it over an put a staple in the other side ensuring the fabric was stretched tightly and evenly across the top of the arm rest. Then I just moved around the pad pulling the material taught, stapling it in place, and trying to smooth out as many creases from the edges.

Finally I trimmed the excess material from the back of the pads and reassembled the armrests.

Finished covering

The Hedgehog-iest Chair

I think the end result is the hedgehog-iest Humanscale Liberty chair ever!

Finished chair

Armrest closeup