How to Reupholster a Couch? (Step by Step)

Is your couch looking dull? Instead of purchasing a new couch, consider reupholstering your old one. Reupholstering your sofa can make a huge difference, whether trying to give your furniture a total makeover or merely restore its previous appearance. 

Furthermore, reupholstering your old furniture offers it a new life instead of sending it to the junk. As a result, it’s a very Eco-friendly and long-lasting design option. If you don’t know how to reupholster a couch, don’t worry. Lucky for you, in this article, I have explained the process of removing the old fabric and a step by step guide on how to reupholster a couch?

What is Reupholstery?

Recovering your sofa or couch with new cloth is known as reupholstery. It usually requires removing all of the fabric and replacing it with fresh fabric. It’s a common approach that allows you to refurbish furniture that doesn’t have a defective or chipped frame.

Things You will Require to Reupholster a Couch

Here is the list of the equipment and supplies you will need for your reupholstery project:

Tools / Equipment

  • Staple remover
  • Staple gun
  • Pliers (needle nose)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Fabric scissors (strong)
  • Paintbrush (optional)


  • Staple pins 
  • New upholstery fabric
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Fabric glue
  • Pen and notebook
  • Iron
  • Foam padding (optional)

How to Reupholster Your Couch? A Step-by-Step Guide

Reupholstering a sofa or couch is not an easy operation. It requires proper knowledge, research, and note-taking. When you’re excited to get started on your new reupholster project, follow our step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Analyze and take measurements of your couch

The first thing you must do is take a deep look at your couch. Note down the basic parameters like the location of staples, tufted button, cording (if any). Doing this will help you during attaching the new fabric. 

After this, take a proper measurement of the fabric of each piece of your couch. This may include the interior and exterior fabric, the dust cover, or the cording. 

Further, you can take measurements with or without removing the whole fabric from the couch. Make a list of measurements of each piece of fabric and figure out the size of fabric you’ll need for this project.

Step 2: Remove dust cover

A lightweight covering of cloth known as the bottom cover or dust cover is attached to the bottom of most sofas. This is the final piece of cloth connected to the sofa, so you should remove it first when reupholstering. 

Remove the staples surrounding the dust cover with your staple remover and place them aside. During the removal procedure, try to prevent rips or tears. If it seems satisfactory, you can reuse it and attach it to your sofa.

Step 3: Remove old upholstery

Using a knife or a seam ripper, remove the old fabric from your couch. Take care not to harm the foam or filling. Remove any staples or tacks, keeping the cloth in place with a screwdriver or pliers.


I propose gently removing the cloth, one area at once, so you can utilize the old fabric as a model for new fabric. Take lots of images to refer back to the original fabric stretching during the process.

Step 4: Add stuffing as needed

You can add stuffing in cushions to make them look full and fresh. However, avoid over-stuffing, as this may make your couch appear flashy and out-of-place.


You can use old cushions or pillows at your home (or buy from the thrift store). Rip them apart, and use the stuffing to fill your cushions.

Step 5: Refresh the frame 

After you’ve stripped all of the old fabric, you’ll be left with the couch’s frame and padding. Before you attach the new fabric, you can repaint the frame here if it needs a makeover or isn’t exactly your taste anymore. Apply paint, or do whatever is necessary to make the frame seem good.


If your sofa is a valuable antique or cultural artifact, you should skip this step to avoid damaging the finish.

Step 6: Buy and Cut new fabric

Now, it is time to utilize the measurement of old fabric you took in the first step to buy new fabric in the proper form and size at the store. You can pick any upholstery material. It depends on the price range, but consider that the flimsier the cloth is, the faster it will fray and rip. Stapling hard fabric to your sofa frame, on the other hand, might be more challenging than stapling thinner fabric.

You can use the old fabric you pulled from your couch as a layout to cut revived upholstery fabric. The fabric is more likely to fit your couch and look stunning. 


Always purchase some extra fabric than your measurements of old fabric. It will, most often, comes helpful.

You may also use photographs and notes as a reference. To avoid snags, cut the couch fabric using strong fabric scissors.

Step 7: Attach new fabric

Connect new fabric in the reverse arrangement where you detached the previous cloth. Use your notes as a guide. Put another way, the fabric you detached first will now be the last piece you reattach, and vice versa. In most situations, you’ll begin with the sofa’s front, then go to the armrests, and finally the back. Pull the cloth tightly, then attach it to the sofa frame with a staple gun. The cloth will not look as attractive if stitched loosely and will droop after usage.


Use strong staples to attach the new fabric, as regular staples won’t be able to keep the cloth in place as firmly.

Step 8: Attach dust cover

After going through all the steps mentioned above, it’s time to reattach the bottom cover (the dust cover you removed at the start). This cloth hides all of the staples beneath the sofa, making it seem nice and clean. If it appears to be in suitable shape, you can reuse it and bind it to your sofa.

Step 9: Add a finishing touch

Finally, give your sofa some finishing touches to make it appear even better.

How to reupholster a couch with non-removable cushions?

Are you unable to withdraw cushions from your couch? Follow these easy steps to reupholster a sofa that does not have separable cushions:

  • Gently remove the cloth from the cushion. 
  • Make a pattern for the new upholstery fabric with it.
  • Spread the new fabric over the cushion and fix it to the frame beneath it using a staple gun.

That’s all. Your couch has been refinished and is now good to use.

How Long Does It Take To Upholster A Couch?

Upholstery takes time, specifically when working on a large piece like a couch. This isn’t going to be an easy task. It could take up to 20 hours of effort between removing the old upholstery, repainting the wood, installing new upholstery, and stitching the cushions. It doesn’t need advanced technical knowledge, but several steps can rapidly become overwhelming.


I wouldn’t suggest starting with a couch as your first re-upholstery job; instead, start with a couple of plain dining chairs to acquire a concept for the process.

How Much Does it Cost to Upholster a Couch?

The cost of reupholstering a couch is affected by various factors, including the price (if you are buying an old one), the cost of the fabric you select, and required tools (if you don’t own it already). The reupholstery fabric, which is quite thick, accounts for most of the expense of reupholstering a sofa. 


To save money, look for fabrics at second-hand shops or get an affordable but long-lasting drop cloth. If you choose a thinner fabric, consider that this will wear out more rapidly, necessitating another re-upholstery job.

When Should You Call a Professional?

  • Consider the design of the couch that you want to reupholster. Sofas or couches with fancy elements, such as plenty of trim and border, may be more challenging to reupholster by yourself, whilst smaller tasks may be easier. So, in this case, you should have your sofa professionally reupholstered.
  • If you have other important work to do, then it might be more cost-effective to hire someone to do it for you.
  • If you are not skilled enough to do it yourself, do not hesitate to hire a professional.

Wrapping Up

In this article, I have put forward a detailed and step-by-step guide to know how to reupholster a couch. I hope you found this article helpful and will be able to carry on your next reupholstering project by yourself. You can also find with us modern style sofas and couches with top reviews.

Leave a Comment