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Reupholstering a Couch

Category Furniture
It can be very costly to reupholster furniture. This is a guide about reupholstering a couch.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 1, 20070 found this helpful

I have sewn for many years, but now I need help. Does anyone have any instructions for the reupholstering of sofa cushions. Any instructions, suggestions and help will be greatly appreciated. Have a nice day, take care and stay safe.

Willi from Calgary, AB


July 2, 20070 found this helpful
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I think the best way is to take the old coverings off the cushions, carefully take apart all the seams and use the pieces as your pattern. I have done this before, and used an old sheet or material as a sample cover to make sure it's going to work okay first before cutting into the expensive material.

I have a friend who has done all the reupholstering on chairs, etc. I think she sure is brave! :) She gets her supplies from an upholstery shop. The people at the upholstery shop even helped her with advice when she had questions.

I hope it all goes well for you!!

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July 8, 20070 found this helpful
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I have taken an upholstery class at the local community college. Priceless! Cushions are just tedious. But, well worth the effort. Take the cushion cover apart. Use it as a pattern. Even save the zipper.


Remember to add stuffing to the old insert. Time and usage causes it to flatten, so just add polyester fill. Not in the bag, the one on a roll used for quilts. Wrap it around the cushion insert. Then just remake the cover, and you will be a happy camper.

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July 12, 20070 found this helpful
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Taking the cushion cover apart and using it for a pattern is the best way, but for those of us that aren't that good with the sewing machine, I tried something a little different. I had a floral design couch with cushions that had big holes worn through the covers. I measured my cushions, and sewed "pillow cases" much like bed pillow cases. The background of the floral pattern was tan, and I had some curtains that I had made from tan bed sheets, so made my cushion covers plain tan, using these tan curtains. Thus I recycled the sheets a second time. I put the cushions inside my "pillow cases", and tucked the excess from the open end into the back of the sofa. This extended the life of my sofa for about a year, and then I replaced it.


Harlean from Arkansas.

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May 15, 20010 found this helpful

I would like to reupholster my fiance's brown plaid couch. I know that reupholstery costs around $1000, so I would like to attempt to do it myself. However, there doesn't seem to be much info on how to do it yourself! Please help if you've ever reupholstered a couch, especially if it had wood on the arms!


May 20, 20010 found this helpful
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Many areas have Adult Education classes with very resonable fees. Upholsery classes are usually on the list of classes available..

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May 22, 20010 found this helpful
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I do a lot of things but am the master of none! Don't let that stop you, you get better as time goes one.

There are books at the library that you can read to give you a general idea. It really is not that hard ... after all, you have to start somewhere! I have 47 years of frugal experience.


I found that the main thing is to start taking the thing that you want to upholster apart piece by piece, save the covering for a pattern. Remember, you learn as you go. If need be, jot notes to remind you what to do later.

Last year I reupholstered a "Lazy Boy Lounge Chair" and did a pretty good job, there were mistakes, that I can see, someone else may not notice. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so that is my problem.

Over the years I found that if you went to a professional, they always said you need much more fabric than you really need. After all, they sell you the fabric by the yard at high prices plus they have a lot of material in case "they make mistakes" at your expense.

Syd Barr

Not having a lot of money in our early years of marriage, I learned that if something was almost HISTORY what did I have to lose if I tried to salvage it!

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By 0 found this helpful
October 25, 2009

How much material on average does it take to reupholster a sofa 90 inches long, with a straight skirt?

By Charlotte Dickhaus


October 25, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Another tip is the fabric "pattern" you choose. If it's plaid, you'll require more to match each seating section and the skirting and back and sides if you want the sofa to look professional.


Years ago I had a love seat reupholstered and used a plaid print. and found out this way.

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October 29, 20090 found this helpful
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I would say 18 yards. It has been years since I had my shop, but that was about what we allowed for the large sofa. If you are doing it all in one color, and if you are making throw pillows to go on it, you could make your welt cord a different color to match the pillows. One of the nicest ones we did was for a lady with kids, so we did it in denim and trimmed it with red bandanna and made pillows to match the trim. She paid for the sofa and chair and we made the pillows free because we knew she didn't have a lot of money. But you would be surprised how that little thing can make a big difference.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 23, 20100 found this helpful

Please. I am looking for anything and everything on reupholstering a couch/sofa/lounge. Thank you so much. I am at my wits end.

By kathleen from Hampton, Melbourne



Reupholstering a Couch

I took a course in reupholstery a few years ago. The instructor had each of us very carefully take all the material off the couch or chair and lay it out, as a pattern, covering, foam, tack strips, everything. We took pictures of each disassemble step. We traced each pattern piece onto large rolls of brown paper, and took these patterns to our local fabric store. The staff was really helpful in helping us choose the correct material, and figuring out how much we needed. You need good sharp scissors, a nail gun, a tack hammer, upholstery nails, furniture tacks, tack strips, and whatever else the fabric store people tell you to get. It's hard work, but follow your pictures, in reverse, and it will look good. It takes patience. Have fun. (10/20/2009)

By Dena Roberts

Reupholstering a Couch

I'm getting ready to re-do a chair this winter. I found lots of info by Googling reupholstering. I also checked out my local library. Even found video tapes of the process. Maybe some of this will help. Good luck. (10/23/2009)

By Laura Justice

Reupholstering a Couch

Go to your public library and ask for a book on re-upholstering (just saw you're in OZ, you probably have the equivalent of our public libraries). If not, try a re-cycle organization. They should be able to point to a source. Good luck. (11/03/2009)

By susan winship

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October 18, 20090 found this helpful

Can someone tell me how to reupholster a couch from start to finish?

Amanda from South Londonderry, VT


Reupholstering a Couch has a segment on how-to-upholster furniture. This might help you. (05/08/2008)

By cece

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April 28, 20080 found this helpful

I would like to request the article step by step to reupholstering a couch.

Shantrice from Houston, TX


Reupholstering a Couch

There are so many steps to recovering a couch that your best bet is to go to your library and find a book on reupholstering furniture. It will give you detailed instructions. (12/31/2005)

By irene

Reupholstering a Couch

I am about to recover a couch. I have stripped the arms and back, so that I could get a good look inside to see how the seat and back are done. I am really scared to start cutting cause the only pattern I have is what I have taken off. My material has a stripe in it and I don't know whether I should do the seat cushions first and match the rest or the other way round. (01/06/2006)

By Carol

Reupholstering a Couch

It's not too difficult, but time consuming.

Step 1 - Take off all the old pieces - start with the skirt/bottom then the back, the arms, the front then the deck. KEEP and MARK all the pieces so you know what goes where. These are used as your patterns.

TIP: Do not cut out everything at once since you need to match patterns oftentimes. Put it back together by working backwards from how you took it off - deck first then arms then back (the part that you rest your back/head against) then the back of the chair and finally the skirt/bottom. To make it look really nice make sure to sew up lots of cording (clothelines rope with fabric covering it) you staple the cording over the piece after you've attached it to the chair. (05/30/2006)

By JoAnn

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