Unusual Ways to Reupholster a Sofa

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When you find the ideal sofa, your home seems complete. Your entire family enjoys social gatherings, entertainment and spontaneous naps on your comfortable sofa. So when your couch begins to show its age, you may think of replacing it. Alternatively, reupholster that once-perfect sofa and simultaneously make a design statement custom-tailored to your personal lifestyle and preferences.

Sofa Skeleton

  • Before you begin your reupholstering project, remove the existing cover to prep the sofa and determine which parts need an upgrade. Examine the frame's inner workings, such as the springs, seats and back supports, and reinforce as needed. Check that the arms are still intact with no significant evidence of wear, such as compressed foam or batting near the arm's curves or edges. Take advantage of the stripped-down version of your sofa to upgrade sagging cushions and to see your sofa through a new lens. Explore online sources, magazines and books for inspiration in reupholstering your existing sofa with an original, one-of-a-kind look.

Think Outside the Sofa

  • Use creative combinations of fabrics, trimmings and embellishments on your sofa. Lipped-brush fringe gives tactile depth to cushions with an eclectic style that begs for mix-and-match fabrics, and the lipped edge simplifies the seaming process. Before applying factory-made decorative cord or fringe, place the desired fabric and trim arrangement across the sofa to confirm the details. All visible seams on the cushions and frame are potential candidates for an embellishment upgrade. Explore unconventional fabric choices for your sofa's updated look, including animal hides, quilts, bedspreads and draperies. Think about using unusual combinations, such as applying rich brown microfiber or leather to the sofa frame and faux giraffe or leopard skin on the seat and back cushions.

Extra Touches

  • To showcase your reupholstered sofa, consider special applications, such as nail-head trim, button-tufting on the back and seat cushions and updated leg and arm styles. Examine your sofa from an upside-down perspective to consider modifications like substituting exposed wood or metal legs where a sofa skirt once existed. If your existing sofa arms lack detail, consider outlining the edges with jumbo contrasting bias-cut welting in leather or micro-suede fabric for stand-out definition. Extend the welting along the top and bottom edge of your sofa for visual continuity.

Designer's Tips

  • To ensure the staying power of your unusual sofa reupholstery project, opt for upholstery-grade fabrics. For shabby-chic style, layer several fabrics on your sofa by using one pattern for the frame and one or more fabrics on the cushions. Explore cushion firmness and density options to satisfy your body's specific preferences, such as extra-firm or down-filled cushions. Consider hiring or working with a professional furniture reupholsterer who can offer an honest appraisal of your project as well as advise you on the correct fabric, embellishment and welting yardage requirements.

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