Reupholster Your Own Couch





Introduction: Reupholster Your Own Couch

About: I'm a graduate student with WSU, I like to do things myself...unfortunately I seldom remember to take pictures while doing a project! I'm working on it though. I am addicted to plant science, and love DIY ...

If you have ever been a poor collage student (or just thrifty) you may have had to by a "craigslist special" couch at one point in your life. I think we all know the type...odd colors, ugly patterns, food stains from other peoples relatives. However, these couches all have one thing in common. They are cheap...I think we paid $25 for this hide-a-bed couch on craigslist. I fixed the fold out bed and oiled the moving parts and it worked as good as new...unfortunately it did not look new.

Lucky for us (and you) reupholstering a couch is not very hard. With mediocre sewing skills and lots of pictures (for putting it back together again) it is a nice Saturday job.

Step 1: Take Lots of Pictures and Begin to Disassemble

We took pictures of every surface of the couch, and of every piece we disassembled. This helps in putting it back together and also helps if you have questions about how something was supposed to look when you are sewing or stapling.

Step 2: Disassemble and Strip Off the Fabric

Disassemble anything that needs removed, and strip off all of the old fabric. Careful to use needle nose pliers or a flat screw driver to remove staple rather than ripping the fabric off, also be careful to use a seam ripper and take the fabric apart rather than rip it where needed. This will make measuring for the new fabric and attaching the new fabric easier.

After removing all of the old fabric, we laid it out flat (sorry I forgot to take a picture of this step) and measured how many square yards we had (+2 yards for error). You can also use a cheat sheet chart like the one I included above to estimate the required fabric I found this chart at (

Then we went to a home fabric store near us. You are looking for the kind of store that carries huge bolts of fabric for drapes and upholstery, we found our fabric for .98 cents a yard and ended up paying $12.50 total. If you want to buy more expensive fabric, or do not have a home fabric outlet close buy it may increase the price of the project.

Step 3: Cutting and Sowing

Next we used the old fabric as a pattern to cut the new pieces (this is another reason to be careful not to rip the old fabric off). We then sowed the pieces together and fitted them over the couch like a glove (the arms and back in particular). Refer to your pictures as you go so that you can staple the pieces on at the appropriate time. The idea is that you don't want any staples to be visible by the end, so pieces fit over each other and at the end you staple the bottom fabric to the bottom frame of the couch.

Step 4: Finishing the New Upholstery

Our cushions pieces ended up a little baggy for the padding, we just bought more padding, cut it to the shape of the cushion and it made for slightly taller cushions. Another note is that you may need to replace some of the padding, this couch had good padding in decent shape, but I have done couches before where the padding is starting to disintegrate and needs replaced, or where the old couch just wasn't comfortable and we added or changed the padding to make the couch more user friendly. You can add other embellishments like upholstery tacks to change the look even further.



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    11 Discussions

    Just put my zoom on, the different styles of furniture and the lengths needed for each is VERY useful, as we acquired some old style furniture with the house, which is in need of recovering, once the house is finished being "modernised". BIG thanks!

    I remember my Mum doing all the living room, sofa plus chairs, so thanks for showing me how to. I was too young to see anything but the result! When I have the time... ;)

    Although you could be a collage student, I am pretty sure you are a College Student. And you reap what you sow, not sew. I assume you are a business major?

    awesome. but it's sewing, not sowing.

    this was very helpful, great idea to use the old fabric as a template

    Great project thanks for sharing. Please though it's SEWING. (I can't help it)

    Looks really awesome, good as new! Actually slightly better because I like the print you chose over the one it came with. Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    Hey, nicely done! This is an ambitious project.

    To tighten up those covers, you could remove them and simply resew all the seams a 1/4" or so further in from the edge. I re-did a chair like this while back, and ended up with a baggy seat cover that looked just like yours do.

    That's what I did to quickly tighten up the cover, and it worked like charm. Just a tip! :)

    1 reply