How to reupholster a sofa (couch): step-by-step guide

By | April 27, 2023

The upholstery of upholstered furniture is an opportunity to return it to its original aesthetic appeal, and sometimes to make it much better, at a price significantly different from the purchase of new furniture. This is an opportunity to refresh the interior, bring new notes to it and return the furniture to its former attractiveness and functionality.

When you need a new sofa upholstery

The upholstery of any upholstered furniture tends to wear out. With some material, changes begin to occur within a few years after purchase, with another – after 10 years, but in any case, there is a question of replacing furniture or updating.

Example of a sofa before and after.

When is it more profitable to change the upholstery of a sofa than to buy a new sofa:

  • the upholstery was worn out or the filler was crumpled;
  • the upholstery fabric was torn or dents appeared on the seat;
  • the details of the sofa, the elements of the mechanism, accessories were broken;
  • there is no way to get rid of a large accumulation of dirt and dust in the corners or openings of furniture;
  • the need to change the interior;
  • furniture is expensive as antiques;
  • when you need exclusive upholstery, custom-made and individual sofa sizes;
  • there is a danger of reproduction in the upholstery material of mites and other microorganisms dangerous to health.

In any of these cases, it is more profitable to change the upholstery of the sofa and it will cost several times cheaper than a complete replacement of furniture. Changing the upholstery of upholstered furniture is a unique opportunity to create your own unique design that will perfectly complement the interior style and surprise with its originality.


Among the old furniture samples there are many copies with a solid massive body. Modern analogues can either be inferior as a basis, or their cost is prohibitively expensive. In addition, sofas are one of the main elements of the interior, the replacement of which can affect the entire concept of the indoor environment.

For example, rare office furniture will look strange in combination with a sofa of modern design. It remains either to change the upholstery of the sofa, or completely change the interior, and this may be undesirable.

There are other advantages of the solution:

  • changing the upholstery of the sofa is more profitable, it will cost less than buying;
  • you can come up with your own original design of the case;
  • you will keep the familiar environment;
  • no need to figure out where to put the old sofa.

For people who love original things, replacing the upholstery will be one of the ways to realize their own original project, which will become a feature of their home.

How to repair a sofa

What defects can be eliminated without contacting specialists?

In the process of preparation, all soft parts are removed from the sofa.

After that, the following details can be put in order:

  • the frame of the sofa – tighten the bolts or replace with new strong screws, replace part of the bars, glue the parts;
  • replace worn spring blocks;
  • remove the old filler;
  • update mechanisms and accessories.

To cover the new foam, you can use a dense fabric. The upper part of the upholstery can be sewn from flock, leather or velour.

Stages of work on changing the upholstery of the sofa

First of all, a specialist will assess the condition of your furniture. Perhaps there are options that will fix the situation without completely replacing the upholstery. For example, worn armrests, they can be changed separately.

Then, to choose from, with a description of the advantages and disadvantages, the material for the binding and other decorative elements are selected.

Selection of materials

A well-chosen material will facilitate the procedure of replacing the upholstery and filler, especially when you have to do it for the first time. Check out the master class and the recommendations of specialists.

  • Modern PU foam and foam rubber have good cushioning, breathability, keep their shape and are resistant to abrasion.
  • More expensive and eco-friendly is furniture foam latex.
  • Manufacturers offer a large selection of elastic materials covering the filler layer.
  • Horsehair is also used to restore leather sofas.
  • Another example of a covering layer is felt.

If the sofa will be actively used, you should not choose an excessively rigid upholstery fabric. During use, it can seriously deform and even burst. Take care of the edging to close the seams, strong threads, accessories such as zippers and buttons.

Choosing a filler for the sofa

If you replace the fabric top, leaving the old filler, the sofa will remain deformed. The work on tightening the sofa involves applying a new shock-absorbing layer, as well as protective layers that will prevent its abrasion due to contact with the springs.

For those who decide to drag the sofa at home, we recommend giving up cheap foam rubber. High-quality furniture foam rubber is produced taking into account all the requirements for the operation of furniture.

The most optimal option is PU:

  • promotes natural breathability;
  • it retains its original shape well, even if a person with a large body weight uses a sofa as a sleeping place;
  • it does not smell, is safe and hypoallergenic;
  • if the furniture gets wet, then special impregnations will prevent the development of mold.

High-quality sofa upholstery will allow you to get an updated interior element and restore all the necessary characteristics.

Fabric selection

When choosing a fabric for the binding of upholstered furniture, several factors must be taken into account:

The location in the interior plays a crucial role. For furniture designed for the kitchen, it is worth choosing eco-leather, because it does not absorb foreign odors, is not susceptible to moisture, is easily cleaned from any contamination. In the conditions of constant temperature changes characteristic of the kitchen, the material does not deform.

For a bedroom or living room, you can consider softer and warmer fabrics. It is acceptable to use a print, in accordance with the overall interior of the room. For a nursery, the main criterion for choosing a material for upholstery is ease of care and environmental friendliness. You can consider fabrics with a variety of textured patterns or colors, if you have an idea to make the furniture in the children’s room brighter.

It is also necessary to take into account the composition of the family, including pets. The upholstery of a shared sofa for two adults and a family with children and pets is very different. In the latter case, it is necessary to give preference to fabrics with increased wear resistance and practicality.

If there are pets at home, it is better not to choose a fabric for upholstery of dark colors. She instantly focuses attention on the fur left by the pet. And to avoid leads, there are special fabrics on which they do not remain. So that children’s pranks in the form of spilled juice or smeared chocolate do not remind themselves for a long time, the fabric should be easily cleaned.

A well-chosen design and upholstery coloring will literally transform the house.

Which fabrics are most popular for sofa upholstery:

  • Matting is a popular fabric for fans of eco–style.
  • Denim is popular with young people, it looks interesting in the patchwork technique, complemented by other bright fabrics.
  • Tapestry is a proven option with high–quality, wear-resistant weaving.
  • Jacquard is a beautiful and expensive upholstery option, ideal for a classic living room in combination with curtains.
  • Shinill – pleasant to the touch, with a large abundance of colors – is one of the leaders of choice.
  • Eco–leather – looks beautiful, resistant to wear, easy to clean, but in practice will not survive a meeting with the claws of pets or games with sharp objects.
  • Genuine leather – breathable, durable, one of the most expensive types of upholstery. Unlike eco-leather, it allows for minor repairs in places of cuts.
  • Velour is a pleasant to the touch, beautiful material with many variations of colors.
  • Flock – recommended for children’s furniture, often treated with water-repellent impregnations.

Features of sofa upholstery materials

Properly selected material will guarantee further comfortable use of furniture. Each type of material has its own advantages and limitations. Be sure to take an upholstery fabric with a reserve, as it may require fitting the pattern, replacing incorrectly cut samples.

Flock fabric

A unique, velvety fabric, the peculiarity of which is achieved by machine gluing threads to the fabric base. The material has a pleasant texture to the touch. If you run your hand over it, it changes the shade.

Advantages of the material:

  • durable and wear-resistant;
  • it has moisture-repellent properties;
  • easy to care for;
  • wide variety of colors, UV resistant;
  • it does not stretch and does not lose its original external qualities at the entire stage of operation.

The disadvantages include an increased tendency to accumulate static electricity and attracts dust. Another feature of the material does not tolerate alcohol-containing liquids. If you need to tighten the furniture on which the feasts will take place, it is not recommended to use a flock.

With all its advantages, the upholstery of upholstered furniture with flock is relatively inexpensive. Even when repairing a large corner sofa, in any case it will be much more cost-effective than buying a new sofa with a similar coating.

Boucle fabric

A distinctive feature of the material is the rough surface, which feels like a astrakhan fur coat.

The advantages of the material include:

  • lightness and softness, despite the volume of the material;
  • resistance to the formation of folds, creases;
  • elasticity and flexibility, easily fits any shape and curves;
  • the invisibility of seams due to the volume of the material.

The disadvantages include a tendency to puffs and not every interior will look appropriate furniture with upholstery made of such material.

The cost of the fabric is relatively inexpensive.


The fabric has proven itself well in the manufacture of bags and rugs. Only now, thanks to modern technologies, the matting turns out to be stronger and visually more attractive. Matting can be made exclusively from natural fibers – wool, linen, cotton or synthetic – acrylic, polyester. A more durable and high-quality canvas is obtained by mixing synthetic and natural materials.

Advantages of the material:

  • resistant to mechanical damage;
  • versatile, will fit harmoniously into any design;
  • environmentally safe, especially if made entirely of natural fibers;
  • does not provoke the development of allergies, can be used to tie furniture in the nursery;
  • the possibility of price selection varies from affordable to premium class.

Does not tolerate the claws of animals, immediately there are clues.

The cost is relatively inexpensive and depends on the type of material.


The fabric is made using jacquard weaving technology, but due to the presence of fluffy threads, the fabric turns out to be softer and velvety.

The advantages of the material include:

  • long service life of more than 10 years, without loss of original external characteristics;
  • it is not subject to the formation of coils, scuffs, creases;
  • pleasant in tactile sensations;
  • it does not absorb odors, furniture with chenille upholstery can be placed in the kitchen or in rooms where people smoke.

The disadvantages include whimsicality in care. To care for the material, you will have to purchase special detergents. It is prone to the formation of puffs, so it is not suitable for homes where pets live, who like to sharpen their claws on upholstered furniture.

Chenille fabric is relatively inexpensive.

Sofa with chenille and flock upholstery, combination of two fabrics.


The fabric has an aristocratic history and still belongs to the premium class. The drawings on the canvas are achieved by weaving, so they are unique and differ in complete symmetry.

The advantages of the material include:

  • High strength due to the interweaving of many threads, the fabric will last at least 10 years without losing its original external characteristics.
  • Easy to care for. Dust is easily removed using a conventional vacuum cleaner with a soft nozzle. Stains can be removed with a soap solution, there will be no streaks.

The disadvantages of the fabric include a high cost that does not justify all the advantages and an outdated design that does not fit modern interior trends.


The most popular material for the binding of upholstered furniture. Velour received such love due to its softness and variety of colors.

The advantages of the material include:

  • Stylish appearance, it is very difficult for a layman to distinguish velour from natural velvet. It is the same soft and velvety, dark tones have a deep rich texture and shimmer with different shades if you hold your hand over the material.
  • Does not cause the development of allergies, can be used in the children’s room.
  • High resistance to stretching and abrasion.
  • Does not fade even with prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays.
  • Easy to care for, the usual vacuum cleaner treatment with a soft nozzle removes dust, and visible stains are easily removed with a damp soft cloth.

With all the advantages, velour is not without drawbacks. These include a tendency to deformation.

The cost of velour is relatively inexpensive.


Initially, tapestry fabric was used to make carpets, but today it is increasingly gaining popularity as a material for furniture binding. This demand is explained by an unusual pattern, which perfectly emphasizes many interior trends.

The advantages of the material include:

  • high density, due to which the material does not crumple, does not wear out and does not deform throughout the entire service life;
  • durability without loss of external qualities.

The disadvantages include whimsicality in care. Cleaning is possible only with the use of special tools and equipment, you will have to call specialists.

Tapestry, a rather complicated fabric in the binding. Due to its density, the material does not stretch and “stiffens”.

Replacing the sofa upholstery will not be cheap. Most of the cost is work, the rest is the cost of the material itself.

Genuine leather

Premium-class material that emphasizes the wealth of the owner.

The advantages of the material include:

  • it has dust-repellent properties;
  • it is not subject to accumulation of static electricity;
  • with proper care, the material can last more than 30 years;
  • absorbs excess moisture, and gives it away when the air is dry;
  • stylish appearance, leather upholstery has always been a sign of prosperity.

The disadvantages of the material include, first of all, the high price. In second place are unpleasant tactile sensations, when it is cold, the leather upholstery becomes cold, and in the heat it is unpleasant to stay on a leather sofa for a long time.

And in order for the coating to retain its qualities throughout the entire service life, it requires constant care, namely, moisturizing so that the skin does not crack, and this is an additional expense.

Taking into account the cost of work, sofa upholstery will not be cheap. And even in this case, it is more profitable to change the upholstery of the sofa than to buy a similar new sofa.


Many people would like to purchase premium material as upholstered furniture upholstery, but not everyone can afford it because of the high price. Therefore, manufacturers have found a great way – imitation. This is how eco-leather appeared, which in terms of positive characteristics is almost as good as its natural counterpart, and in many ways even wins. And at the same time, you can hardly distinguish the material by its external characteristics.

To all the advantages of genuine leather, an acceptable price can be added to an artificial analogue. The disadvantages are the same, only it does not require moisturizing and constant care.

The upholstery of a standard-sized straight sofa with armrests will not be cheap. But a new sofa with a similar coating is much more expensive. In addition, you can choose materials, and only the armrests and backrest can be left out of artificial leather, and the soft surface of the seat can be covered with fabric material.


A fabric that resembles textured velour in its external characteristics.

The advantages of the material include:

  • pleasant in tactile sensations;
  • suitable for children’s room;
  • hypoallergenic, does not cause the development of allergies;
  • does not burn out, does not roll down and does not wear out for a long time;
  • easy to care for, stains are easily removed with a soap solution.

The disadvantages of the material include a high tendency to fire during prolonged exposure to heat sources, for example, radiators. The material also accumulates static electricity.

Sofa upholstery will be relatively inexpensive. A wide variety of colors will allow you to update the furniture taking into account the features of the interior.

Restoring the lost beauty, practicality and aesthetics of furniture is much easier and more profitable than buying a new one.

Step-by-step guide

Let’s take a step-by-step look at the process of replacing the sofa upholstery.

A set of tools

Take care of a set of tools and containers for storing the removed fasteners.

So, what will it take to work on dismantling and reassembling furniture:

  • anti – stepler,
  • furniture stapler,
  • wrenches (from 8 to 19 mm),
  • a hammer,
  • pliers,
  • flat screwdriver,
  • staples (6-8 mm),
  • drill,
  • screwdriver,
  • side cutters.

To cut and sew a new upholstery, you will need:

  • sewing machine with a set of needles for upholstery fabric;
  • scissors;
  • metal ruler;
  • glue;
  • chalk;
  • strong polyester threads.

Having all the necessary tools will make the work more accurate and accurate, reduce the risk that you will damage the parts.

Decorative elements

All decorative items, cushions, pillows must be removed. After that, the back of the sofa and the sidewalls are dismantled. The seats must be removed. It is important to carefully fold all the elements.

How to remove old upholstery from the sofa

With the help of an anti-stepler and a flat screwdriver, it is necessary to get rid of the old upholstery. Probably, a lot of dust and dirt has accumulated inside the sofa for a long time, so it is necessary to clean everything.

Do not immediately throw away the old upholstery, it will become a ready-made sample when building a new pattern when cutting.

How to remove the springs and the frame of the sofa

After removing the filler, it is necessary to assess the degree of deformation and wear of the spring blocks of the sofa, the condition of the frame, the need to replace blocks and guides. If necessary, repairs should be carried out – it is necessary to tighten the screws, strengthen and glue the joints of the parts.

Due to the divergence of details, the sofa could creak, some internal slats could crack.

Cutting and sewing of a fabric cover for a sofa

Use the old removed fabric as a pattern to get a new fabric covering. On the wrong side, draw the details of the pattern with chalk, leaving allowances for seams up to 5-10 cm. Carefully sew everything on a sewing machine, focusing on the original version.

To understand how much material is needed approximately, it is recommended to sum up the length and width of the sofa, then multiply the resulting amount by 2 and add 1 meter in reserve.

You should also remember:

  • on the adjacent parts , the drawing should be combined;
  • the direction of the stripes, the ornament should be in one direction;
  • consider the direction of the thread.

How to fix the filler in the sofa

First of all, it is necessary to carry out the upholstery of decorative elements – for example, the armrests of the sofa. After that, it is necessary to move on to the main details – the backrest, seats, sidewalls. Carefully pull out the materials, secure the edges with a stapler. The distance between the fasteners should be no more than 4 cm.

Assembling and fixing accessories on the sofa

After completing the step-by-step algorithm, you will receive the parts that need to be reassembled. The instructions recommend fixing the sofa legs and other available accessories last.

Features of sofa restoration

Naturally, the repair of upholstered furniture in some cases will have its own specifics. Each sofa has its own characteristics that will need to be taken into account.

Corner sofa

Experts consider the replacement of upholstery on corner sofas to be the most time-consuming and one of the most expensive. When reassembling, all parts must be correctly matched in height.

When attaching a new fabric, it is necessary to take into account the features of the pattern, otherwise it is easy to violate the geometry, the integrity of the sofa as a single piece of furniture. Also, a more complex design involves taking into account the features of all mechanisms – after restoration, the sofa should unfold without any problems.

Sofa with springs

In this case, during use, the seat may deform not only because of worn foam rubber, but also because the springs have become unusable. If the defect is not eliminated, then a simple replacement of the filler and upholstery will not give the desired result.

If it is solely a matter of deformation, then you can align the block with a rope. The end is fixed by the corner of the block, then all the springs are wrapped in stages so that the upper ring is captured at the junction with the neighboring spring. The procedures are performed in length, width and diagonally. As a result, 8 nodes will be formed on each spring ring and the 9th will be the central one. In this way, the springs can be lifted and leveled.

If the springs are broken, then you will have to replace them. When buying, you need to take into account the height of the panel so that the new one does not differ.

Leather sofa

Upholstery of furniture with genuine leather requires taking into account the features of the material in preparation for cutting. It should be remembered about the possibility of defects – thin spots. The cutting is done with a sharp stationery knife, light scissors with sharp ends, as well as a scalpel.

  • There must be precise seam allowances.
  • The details are swept away with double-sided tape or shoe rubber glue so as not to leave unnecessary holes.
  • Seams with strong stretching should be reinforced with a special tape.
  • For stitching, a special needle for leather with a miniature cutting type of blade or a universal needle with a number from 100 to 120 is used.
  • The leather is stitched on an industrial or special machine with a rare stitch of 3-4 steps per 1 cm.

When cutting, the direction of stretching of the skin should be taken into account.

Qualitatively, it is more difficult to perform a step-by-step algorithm for replacing the upholstery of a leather sofa than to deal with fabric upholstery. In addition, rare samples may contain horsehair as a filler, which will also complicate the task.

If you do not have the tools or completely lack the skills, it is better to compare the cost of professional services and independent initiative, taking into account the purchase of inventory, materials and potential risk.

Make an informed decision, and then the updated furniture will really please.

Sofa before and after.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *