How to Reupholster a Couch

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How to Reupholster a Couch

Staff Writer · Jan 25, 2010

Renovating a living room on a budget is not easy but deciding to reupholster a couch yourself is a great way to save money. An old couch can be made to look brand new again with this inexpensive design tool. If you are just starting out and trying to find furniture for that new apartment or house without breaking the bank, consider buying used furniture and then reupholster them to look new. The tools needed to complete this project yourself are fabric, scissors, pins, a tack hammer, staple gun, measuring tape, pliers, pencil, sewing machine, needle and matching thread.

Step One: Prep Work

Start by measuring the couch in all directions with a measuring tape. Measurements should reflect all dimensions of the couch that will be covered and give you an idea of how many yards of fabric needed. Select a color scheme for the room. Bring along something from the color scheme to shop for fabric. Place the couch that is being reupholstered somewhere that you can make a mess.

Step Two: Removing Old Fabric

Remove the fabric currently covering the couch carefully using pliers to help, do not rip it off. Save these pieces, they will help form a pattern for the new fabric. Check the padding to see if more padding needs to be added. Quilt batting can be added to cushions and padding to soften them further. Check for any damage to springs or frame.

Step Three: Go Shopping

Make a list of exactly what you need, it is time to so shopping. Upholstery fabric works best for enduring wear and tear but any fabric can be used as long as it is durable. Choose a fabric that will be easy to work with, complicated patterns will make matching pieces together more complicated. Buy a yard or two more than your measurements to have a little extra for mistakes.

Step Four: Start Cutting

Lay out the fabric and then place the original pieces that were removed on top. Trace with a pencil on the underside of the fabric and then cut the fabric to match the shape and size of the old pieces. Use pins to secure the old and new fabric together while tracing and cutting.

Step Five: Reassemble

Reassembling the couch is the next step in the process. Take the new, cut pieces and lay them in their correct spot on the couch. Using the staple gun, attach the fabric to the frame in the same way the old pieces were attached. If staples do not go in securely, use a tack hammer to secure them in place. Stretch the fabric as you are doing this to get a nice, neat fit. A tight fit with no wrinkles will make the reupholstered couch look professionally done. Repeat this process until the couch is completely covered. To cover cushions use the sewing machine and matching thread to sew up three sides of the cushion, insert the cushion and sew closed by hand or if preferred add a zipper instead to allow for easy cleaning.

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