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Reupholstery DIY 101 - The Simplest Guide to Spruce your Sofa

Looking for a way to rejuvenate your sofa with reupholstery DIY? Well you’re at the right place to do it.

Realising that it’s pretty costly (especially in Australia, and USA) to get a sofa upholstered at starting prices of $800 and above for labour alone, we set out to see if reupholstery DIY can be easily done by one person.

Here’s what we found:

How to do simple reupholstery on a couch? – Introduction

The internet is full of information about this topic actually. Thousands of reupholstery DIY videos and tutorials have invaded cyberspace and checking through them is a good way to begin this journey, which seems a little bit complex sometimes if you’re not looking at the correct ones.

Thankfully, we chanced upon ALO Upholstery in their video example of how to reupholster a sofa from YouTube. From there, we broke the process down so you have a clearer idea as to exactly what happens at each stage.

Reupholstering a sofa step by step

1. Preparation
Every couch is different and of course, it’s important to understand its design and structure. Keep in mind that you’ll most likely have to take your couch apart.

Thus, you’ll need to know the pieces of your sofa, where do you need to separate them, etc. Put your sofa upside down, inspect it, take pictures and note where all the sofa joints are.

If you have an IKEA couch it’s actually a lot easier to check our IKEA Sofas Resource page. There we have IKEA assembling instruction manuals, general info and measurements which might be helpful you in de-constructing the sofa (if necessary).

As far as most sofas go, there isn’t much to disassemble if:
1) It’s not a leather sofa
2) It came with slipcovers to begin with

Take your notebook or a computer to help you take notes about your sofa!

2. Reupholstery Materials
Get all your tools and materials necessary for this challenge, everything that you have to do yourself usually involves quite a fair bit of equipment. If you’re a handyman (or woman), reupholstery DIY is probably going to be easy for you.

Here’s what you need:

  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Stapler
  • Fabric and zippers
  • Screwdriver and Pliers
  • Notebook and pen

You can check our varied range of fabrics to reupholster your sofa clicking on Fabric Per Meter. Remember to order some fabric samples before buying them! I’m sure you’ll love them.

3. Take the couch apart
You already probably know how your sofa was constructed, so take the screwdriver and pliers and start disassembling it.

sneak preview of whats to come
Putting it back together

Depending on your sofa’s condition as well, you may be required to take the batting out as well. Most upholsterers WILL remove the original upholstery and the batting to give it the best consistency possible – the last thing you want to see are any bumps or lumps under your new sofa’s skin.
4. Taking measures and pattern-making
Patience and accuracy are going to be your best friends in this step. You need to measure the length, width and height of all the pieces of your sofa.

We recommend you to draw some sketches of each piece to facilitate everything. Normally you’ll need to take measures of the main base, backrest, armrests and cushions. Don’t forget to write down where the zippers are located in the cushions!

You’ll need to draw a blueprint/template/pattern after measuring everything out. Sometimes you might have to just reupholster it with a big piece of fabric for the entire sofa simply because it’s a bit easier, but it does mean imagining how all the pieces should connect all in your head!

I personally can’t do this, but our head seamstress can!

Special tip: At Comfort Works we manufacture slipcovers for sofas, armchairs and dining chairs and we have created one of the biggest sofa measures databases of the world.

But if we don’t have the measures for a specific kind of sofa our customer service team are trained to draw lines of measurements for your sofa, or we’ll send you a measurement form should it be a very standard shape.

As a rough idea, check out our Sofa Measuring Guide here:How to measure a sofa.
5. Cut the fabrics and sew them
Once you have the patterns ready, it’s time to take the scissors and start cutting the fabrics. Remember to edge the fabrics and finally lay them out for the next step.

6. Staple the fabrics on your sofa
Having some pins would be useful here actually, so you can pin your fabric cut-outs onto the parts you need covered and adjust accordingly before permanent stapling them down.

Once you’re done with the frame, you’re pretty much done – the cushions are even easier as no stapling is required!

Simple Reupholstery DIY – Conclusion

6 easy steps are separating you from your new sofa. Just arm yourself with courage and patience and cheer up to spruce up your sofa.

  • Study your couch
  • Disassemble and replace worn parts
  • Take measures and draw pattern
  • Cut and sew the fabric
  • Lay out the fabrics and staple them
Ektorp Sofa Covers Kino Denim
You can also make your sofa look like a million bucks with Comfort Works made-to-measure slipcovers!

Hope all these info helps! At the end, doing any form of reupholstery DIY or not it does require quite a bit of technical knowledge, or just someone who’s very good with their hands – and is incredibly tenacious.

Of course, you can also rejuvenate your sofa with made-to-measure replacement slipcovers. An easier way to spruce up your sofa, some might say an alternative to upholstery even.

Interested? Read more about custom sofa covers on our following blog articles:

Or if you’re just thinking of a simple sofa makeover, check out these 7 alternative ways to restore an old couch.

Happy designing!