How to Upholster a Sofa

Updated February 21, 2017

Upholstering your sofa is a great investment that will improve the appearance and future condition of your sofa. A sofa is usually the main focal point of a living room, so upholster your sofa with some eye-catching fabric that matches the colour scheme or theme of your household.

Choose the fabric to upholster your sofa. If you have pets or small children, lean toward darker, more durable fabric.

Remove the current fabric from the couch, if necessary. Check out the corners and bottom edges of the sofa to make sure nothing needs repairs. Next, use the measuring tape to measure the sofa from every angle. This is important because you want to make sure you get the correct measurements to upholster the sofa with a tight fit.

Lay the new fabric out on a flat space by the sofa. Trace the measurements of the couch out onto the fabric with the writing utensil. Use a separate piece of fabric to trace out the sofa cushions if necessary. On all tracing, leave an inch and a half around the outskirts so you'll have extra room to fold over fabric and for trimming (you would rather have to cut off extra fabric then start all over again). Cut the cloth measurements out. Make sure all edges are straight and thread-free.

Drape the fabric over the sofa, trying to place the fabric right in the middle of the sofa where you will start securing it. Using the nail or staple gun, secure the cloth to the frame. Start on the back of the sofa along the top, then stretch the fabric over to the front and bottom. Next, secure the fabric at the bottom edge of the back of the sofa. Hint: If you removed fabric before beginning, try to find the marks where the last upholstery was attached, and you can attach the new fabric in the same places.

Make sure that the cloth your have attached so far is smoothed out and securely attached. Next, move onto the sides of the sofa. Stretch the cloth to the right side and attach it in place with the nail or staple gun. If necessary, fold any extra cloth underneath. Pay extra attention when you stretch the cloth to the left side of the sofa. Secure it to the sofa. You should have enough cloth to make a tight fit.

Cut out the measured cushion fabric if you have cushions. Wrap each cushion in the fabric tightly, then sew the edges together. If desired, use a sewing machine to save time.

Trim off all excess threads. Tuck extra fabric into crevices and corners and secure it with the staple or nail gun.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Staple or nail gun
  • Writing utensil
  • Scissors
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