Recovering a Leather Couch


If you have an old leather couch that seems to be on its last leg do not automatically assume that you need to purchase an expensive replacement. You may be able to recover your couch for a lower cost and get a few more years out of it. There are several ways you can recover your leather couch. You may completely remove and replace the leather, repair some of the damage or simply cover it with a slip cover to enhance the outward appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Slip cover (optional)
  • Seam ripper or scissors
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Leather
  • Heavy-duty sewing shears
  • Staple gun
  • Upholstery needle
  • Upholstery thread
  • Survey the amount of damage evident on the leather couch to determine whether it is possible to restore the couch. If the couch frame is still sturdy, replacing the leather will give the couch new life but if the frame is broken these measures may not be enough. If you simply want to make your couch more presentable, purchase a slip cover.

  • Remove the cushions from the couch and take off the cover. Some couch cushions have zippered seat covers and, in others, the fabric is attached directly to the cushion. Undo the zipper and slip the cushion out of the cover if you have this type of couch. For other couches, use a seam ripper or pair of scissors to tear the seam in the leather to remove it from the cushions.

  • Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the staples or upholstery tacks from the back and sides of the couch. These tacks are what keep the leather in place and, by removing them, you will be able to remove the leather covering the couch frame. Pay attention to how the leather was attached to the wooden frame so you can mimic it when attaching the new leather.

  • Remove the leather covering from the back, sides and arms of the couch. Use caution when removing the leather so you do not rip it. As long as you do not rip the original leather you can use it as a template to cut the new leather you will be using to cover the couch.

  • Lay the new leather flat on the ground and arrange the pieces of leather you removed from the couch back, sides and arms flat on top of it. Make sure both pieces of leather face the same way - if the new leather is face down, place the old leather face down on top of it.

  • Cut out the pieces of new leather using a pair of heavy-duty sewing shears.

  • Drape the piece of new leather for the couch back over the wooden frame and tuck it in at the edges, arranging it as closely as possible to how the original piece of leather was arranged. Use a staple gun to secure the new leather to the wooden frame on the back of the couch.

  • Repeat this procedure with the sides and arms of the couch. Drape the pieces of new leather over the frame, tuck them in at the edges and staple them in place.

  • Lay the couch cushions flat on top of a large piece of new leather. Cut around the cushion using the sewing shears, allowing for enough extra fabric to wrap over the sides and secure under the bottom of the cushions.

  • Wrap the cushions in the new pieces of leather, folding it in at the corners. Secure the leather to the bottom of the cushions using a staple gun if there is a wooden base on the cushion. If there is no wooden base, tack the leather to the cushion itself using an upholstery needle and some heavy upholstery thread.

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