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In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of reupholstering a couch to give it a fresh, stylish look. Whether you want to revamp your existing couch or transform a free find, this project can save you money and provide a personalized touch to your living space. Follow along as we take you through each stage, from preparing the couch to selecting the fabric and completing the reupholstering process.

Prepare the Couch

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the couch to create a clean canvas for your reupholstering project. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt, debris, or loose particles from the cushions and the bottom of the couch. This step ensures a fresh start and better results.

Remove Cushions and Assess the Structure

Using a seam ripper and scissors, carefully remove the cushions from the couch. Take note of any piping or attachments between the cushions and the upholstery. Although nervous about what lies behind, trust the process and proceed with confidence. Once the cushions are removed, you will have a clearer view of the couch’s structure.

Flip the couch over to examine the underside. Most couches have a fabric cover in this area, which needs to be removed before proceeding. Carefully detach any staples or fasteners holding the fabric in place, and set it aside for later reference.

Remove the existing fabric from the couch’s main structure. Carefully detach any remaining staples, tacks, or fasteners using pliers or a staple remover. Take note of the original fabric’s layout and use it as a reference when cutting the new fabric.

PRO TIP: the existing couch fabric is a great place to start to measure from and pattern off of.  Remove it with care and methodically.

Plan and Measure

Take accurate measurements of the couch’s various sections, including the seat cushions, backrest, and armrests. Use these measurements to calculate the amount of fabric you will need for the reupholstering process. It’s recommended to add a few extra inches to account for any pattern alignment or mistakes during the cutting and sewing stage.

Plan for Covering the Back and Sides

Decide on the approach for covering the back and sides of the couch frame. Consider sewing a fabric cover for the back and sides, extending down to the base. For the bottom edge, a stapled cover can be used. However, determining where to attach the cover on the top of the couch may pose a challenge. Explore options such as attaching it underneath the front piece or along the very edge, considering potential comfort concerns with staples.

PRO  TIP: Keep in mind that there may be some trial and error involved in this process. As you proceed, be prepared to adapt and adjust your plan accordingly. Some areas, such as the space behind the cushions and the attached cushion on the chase lounge, may require additional exploration to uncover the best approach for covering them.

Selecting the fabric

Choose a fabric that aligns with your desired style and complements your living space. Consider factors such as durability, color, pattern, and texture. Big Z Fabric has a large selection of fabric that is perfect for couch reupholstering. Our faux leather line includes favorites like our Vintage Western Floral Pu Leather but we also carry classic upholstering fabric like Houndstooth Upholstery Fabric and Microfiber Suede Upholstery Fabric.

What you choose to use should be based on how your couch will be used and where.  If the couch is going to be in a formal setting it might be nice to include something with a more classic, traditional, or elegant pattern that is not necessarily concerned with daily stain threats. On the other hand, if the couch is going to be used by your family and pets on a regular basis the color and material you choose should take that into consideration.

PRO TIP: Choose a medium to heavyweight upholstery fabric that is tightly woven and has a backing for durability. Opt for a fabric that complements your living room’s decor and matches any existing elements, such as rugs or curtains. Look for discounted options or sales to save on costs, and ensure you have enough fabric by calculating the required yardage.

Get to reupholstering

Using the measurements taken earlier, cut the new fabric sections according to the dimensions of each couch component. Pay attention to pattern alignment if applicable. Next, sew the fabric pieces together, ensuring a snug fit. Consider utilizing a sewing machine for efficiency and durability.

Attach the New Upholstery

Starting with the seat cushions, carefully staple the new fabric to the corresponding sections of the couch, ensuring a tight and even fit. Work your way up to the backrest and armrests, securing the fabric with staples or other appropriate fasteners. Trim any excess fabric for a neat and professional finish.

Final Touches

Inspect the reupholstered couch for any loose ends or areas that may require reinforcement. Make any necessary adjustments, and ensure all edges are secure and aligned. Give the couch a final cleaning to remove any stray threads or debris.

Pillows & Cushions

Fill the new pillow inserts with the old stuffing or new stuffing that you have bought. If you are reusing your stuffing you may need to rework the old stuffing to remove clumps and loosen it up again.  After stuffing the pillows close the bottoms using a ladder stitch, completing the inserts.

PRO TIP: If you want gussets, add two inches to each side of the rectangular pillows’ measurements, which would result in a four-inch deep gusset once sewn. Sew the inserts for the pillows, leaving an opening in the bottom, and then sewed the gussets into each corner.


We wrote this article based on the tutorial in the video below by Pattern Scout’s Channel on Youtube.

We felt like it was a great guide to help our customers who are looking to do the same. Please give them a shout out and follow them for more upholstery projects and patterns!

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Maywood CA 90270

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844-BIG-Z-FAB (244-9322)

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