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How to Reupholster a Couch: 7 Methods You Can Try

Reupholster a couch at home with these 7 beginner and advanced methods!

Do you have an old couch that needs a new lease on life? Or maybe you just bought a couch on sale and don’t want to spend the extra money on having it reupholstered professionally.

In either case, reupholstering a couch can be a great way to save some money and make your furniture look brand new again!

For this article, I spent over 48 hours of research on the best methods to use for an at-home upholstery project. I also tried the staple gun method, as laid out as the first method in this article, and found it to be the easiest method when reupholstering my couch.

However, you should read on to determine the best method for you. Not every couch is made the same, which means there are many different reupholstery methods to consider.

But before we begin, let’s clear out the elephant in the room:

Is it easier to use cushion covers instead of reupholstery?

The answer is: it depends.

If your couch is old and the fabric is worn out, then reupholstering might be the better option.

However, if you just want to change the look of your couch, then using cushion covers is probably the easier way to go.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re trying to decide whether to reupholster or use cushion covers:

  • The cost of the materials. If you’re going to reupholster, you’ll need to buy new fabric and perhaps some other supplies. Cushion covers, on the other hand, are usually less expensive.
  • The amount of time it will take. Reupholstering a couch is a big project that will take several hours (or even days) to complete. Cushion covers, on the other hand, can usually be put on in just a few minutes.
  • The level of difficulty. Reupholstering a couch is not a difficult project, but it is more time-consuming and requires some basic sewing skills. Cushion covers, on the other hand, are very easy to put on and don’t require any sewing.

These methods are not intended for people who have any doubts or inexperience using these tools. Always consult a professional before starting DIY projects such as these to avoid injury.

1. Staple gun method (the method I found to be the easiest)

The first method is the most common and simple way to reupholster a couch, and that is by using a staple gun. Any fabric store will have a staple gun available, or you can pick one up at your nearest hardware store. This method will save you a lot of time no matter what type of reupholstery project you are beginning.

You will need:

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors
  • Foam padding (optional)

First, carefully remove all the fabric by taking out the staples with a screwdriver or pliers. Next, cut your new fabric to size and begin stapling it into place over the cushions where the old fabric once was. Start at the center of one side and work your way out so that the fabric is tight. Once you reach the end, trim any excess fabric and replace the staples that you removed earlier.

If you want to add some extra padding to your couch, you can do so by cutting foam padding to size and stapling it into place before adding the new fabric. This will make your couch more comfortable to sit on.

Tips and tricks

  • Have a staple remover on hand so that you can easily remove staples without harming yourself
  • Make sure that the couch fabric you choose is durable and can withstand heavy use.
  • If you are adding foam padding, make sure to staple it in place securely so that it doesn’t move around.
  • Take your time and don’t rush the process. Reupholstering a couch is not difficult, but it does require some patience.

2. Upholstery tacks method

The second method is similar to the first, but instead of using a staple gun, you will use upholstery tacks. Upholstery tacks are great because they are easy to use and add a bit of extra decoration. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive. This method is a bit more difficult because you have to hammer the tacks in and make sure they are straight.

You will need:

  • Upholstery tacks
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Foam padding (optional)

To start, cut your fabric and foam padding (if used) to size. Then, begin tacking the fabric onto the couch, starting at one end. If you are using foam padding, put that on first and then cover it with the fabric. Once you have tacked the fabric all the way around, trim off any excess fabric, and voila- you have a brand new couch!

Tips and tricks

  • Make sure the tacks are hammered in all the way so they don’t come out later.
  • Be careful not to hammer your fingers! 
  • If you need to, use a piece of wood to protect your fingers.
  • Try to space the tacks out evenly so that the fabric is pulled tight. 
  • Be sure to pound the tacks in at an angle so that they grip the fabric better.

3. Hot glue method

The third method is similar to the first two, but instead of using a staple gun or upholstery tacks, you will use hot glue. This is a great method for smaller projects or if you are working with delicate fabrics.

You will need:

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Foam padding (optional)

To start, cut your fabric to size and lay it out over the couch cushion. Once you have the fabric in place, start at one end and begin hot gluing the fabric to the couch. If you are using foam padding, you can hot glue that to the couch before adding the fabric. Once you have glued the fabric in place, trim off any excess and admire your new couch!

Tips and tricks

  • When working with hot glue, be sure to work in small sections so that the glue doesn’t cool before you have a chance to attach the fabric.
  • Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot glue gun.
  • Wear shoes and old clothes as well, as the glue can drip and get on your clothing. Consider using drop cloths for this project.
  • Finally, try to space out the fabric so that it is pulled tight when you are done.

4. Double-sided tape method

I’m sure many of you DIY project enthusiasts know about the power of double-sided tape, but did you know it can be used to reupholster a couch? This method is great because it doesn’t require any sewing and is relatively cheap since you only need to buy fabric and double-sided tape.

You will need:

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape

Cut the fabric into a rectangle that is big enough to cover the entire couch. Make sure to leave the extra fabric on all sides so you can tuck it in and have a clean look. Once the fabric is cut, put double-sided tape along all four edges of the couch. Then, place the fabric over the top of the couch and press down firmly so it sticks. Start at one end and work your way to the other, making sure there are no wrinkles or bubbles.

Tips and tricks

  • If you want a more tailored look, you can sew the fabric onto the couch instead of using double-sided tape.
  • If your couch is a different shape than a rectangle, you can still use this method by cutting the fabric into smaller pieces and taping them together like a puzzle. Then, place the fabric over the couch and press down firmly.
  • You can also use this method to reupholster chairs, ottomans, or any other piece of furniture! Just make sure that the surface is smooth so that the tape will stick properly.

5. Velcro method

The Velcro method is a great option if you are looking for a quick and easy way to reupholster your couch cushions. The best part about this method is that it does not require any sewing. However, one downside of using Velcro is that it can be difficult to remove the fabric if you ever need to clean or replace it.

You will need:

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Velcro

The first step is to measure the fabric. You will need to cut the fabric so that it is two inches longer and wider than the couch cushion. Next, you will need to attach the Velcro to the underside of the couch cushion. Make sure that the sticky side of the Velcro is facing up. Then, attach the fabric to the Velcro. Start at one end and work your way around until the entire cushion is covered. Once you have finished attaching the fabric, you can trim any excess material.

Tips and tricks

  • If you are using a patterned fabric, make sure that the design is facing the right way before you attach it to the Velcro.
  • If you want to add a little extra padding to your couch cushions, you can try using batting or foam. Simply cut the batting or foam to the same size as the fabric and attach it to the Velcro before attaching the fabric.
  • If you are having trouble attaching the fabric to the Velcro, you can try using a hot glue gun. Simply run a line of hot glue along the edge of the fabric and press it onto the Velcro.
  • If you want to remove the fabric for cleaning or replacement, simply peel it off of the Velcro. Be careful not to rip the fabric.
  • If you are not using a patterned fabric, you can add some interest to your couch by adding piping or fringe. Simply sew the piping or fringe onto the edge of the fabric before attaching it to the Velcro.

6. Sewing machine method

This method is a bit more advanced but is great for folks who already love to sew or for those thinking about getting into sewing as you will need to purchase a sewing machine for this project.

You will need:

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

Begin by removing the old fabric from the couch. If possible, remove it in one piece so you can use it as a pattern for cutting your new fabric. If not, take careful measurements of the couch so you know how much new fabric to cut. Then, cut the fabric to size. You will need enough fabric to cover the entire couch, plus some extra. It is better to err on the side of too much fabric rather than too little.

Once you have your new fabric cut out, begin attaching it to the couch frame with a sewing machine. Start with the largest pieces first and work your way down to the smallest details. Be sure to stretch the fabric taut as you sew so that there are no wrinkles or folds.

Tips and tricks

  • If you are using a pattern, be sure to transfer any markings onto the new fabric before cutting.
  • Use a rotary cutter and self-healing mat for precise cuts.
  • Invest in a good-quality sewing machine needle designed for heavy fabrics.
  • Take your time and be patient! Rushing through the project will only result in mistakes.
  • Have fun! This is your chance to be creative and make the couch exactly how you want it. So have fun with it!

Reupholstering a couch with a sewing machine is not as difficult as it may seem. With a little patience and attention to detail, you can easily give your couch a fresh new look. And, best of all, you can do it yourself! So why not give it a try? You might be surprised at how satisfying it is to transform your old couch into something new and beautiful.

Paint method

Have you ever thought about painting your couch? It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right supplies and a little bit of time, it can be surprisingly easy! And, painting your couch is a great way to add a personal touch to your furniture.

This method is best for those who are creative and want to add their own personal touch to their furniture. It is also best suited for couches made of wood or metal.

The plus side is that painting your couch can be relatively inexpensive. And the downside is that it can be time-consuming, and you may have to repaint your couch every few years if you want it to stay looking its best.

When choosing paint for your project, keep in mind that fabric paint is different from regular paint and should be used instead.

You will need:

  • Fabric paint
  • Brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Sandpaper (optional)

First, lay the drop cloth over your work area to protect floors or carpeting from paint splatters. Next, using the brush, apply a layer of fabric paint evenly over the entire couch. Allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Finally, using the second color of fabric paint, create a design or pattern on the couch. Allow the paint to dry completely before using the couch.

Tips and tricks

  • Use a drop cloth to protect your floors or carpeting.
  • Apply paint evenly with a brush.
  • Allow the paint to dry completely between steps.
  • Consider using two colors of fabric paint to create a design or pattern.
  • Repaint your couch every few years if you want it to stay looking its best.

Couch reupholstery FAQ

What kind of fabric should I use for my couch?

The best fabric for a couch is one that is durable and easy to clean. Wool or leather are good choices, but you can also use cotton or linen. Avoid using silk or other delicate fabrics, as they will be more difficult to keep clean.

How much fabric do I need?

To calculate how much fabric you will need, measure the width and length of your sofa, and add two inches for seam allowance. Then, measure the height of your sofa from the ground to the top of the cushion, and add two inches for seam allowance. Finally, calculate how much fabric you will need for each cushion by measuring the width and length, and adding two inches for seam allowance.

What kind of tools do I need?

To reupholster a couch, you will need a screwdriver, a hammer, pliers, needle-nose pliers, upholstery tacks or staples, and scissors. You may also need a sewing machine if you are using a fabric that needs to be sewn.

How much does it cost to reupholster a couch?

The cost of reupholstering a couch will vary depending on the size of the couch, the type of fabric you use, and how much work is required. You can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $600 on materials, and it is best to hire a professional if you do not have experience with upholstery.

Is there a difference between interior fabric and regular fabric?

Interior fabric, or “upholstery fabric”, is usually made of a different material than regular fabric. Upholstery fabrics are designed to be more durable and can resist fading and wear better than regular fabrics. When you reupholster a piece of furniture, you’ll want to use an upholstery fabric that matches the style and colors of your room. You can find upholstery fabrics at most fabric stores.

Try what works for you and have fun

You might need to reupholster your couch because it’s worn and battered, or you may be thinking about reupholstering furniture to flip and sell. Whatever your reasoning, it’s not as difficult as you might think, and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to buying a new couch.

The easiest method for me is the staple gun method because it’s inexpensive and essentially risk-free. You don’t have to worry about paint splattering everywhere, stepping on tacks, or gluing your fingers together. Just focus on having a steady hand with your staple gun. And if you mess up, you can simply remove the nails from the wood.

Moreover, there’s no shame in hiring a professional. They’ll have your couch looking good as new in no time and might save you from potential frustration/injury. But if you do decide to do this on your own, just remember to follow the guidelines in this article and have fun!

Written by Taylor Barefoot
Written by Taylor Barefoot

Taylor is the founder and sole chief editor of Snug Sensations. When he's not piecing together articles or managing this site, you can find him exploring the Appalachian trails with his wife and dog Booe (pronounced boo), playing the guitar, or cooking vegan meals.