How to Make DIY Sofa Upholstery

Updated April 17, 2017

You can breathe new life into your living room by learning how to make DYI sofa upholstery. An older sofa with a sturdy frame that is in relatively good condition can get a complete facelift when you recover it with new fabric. This project might sound intimidating, but if you follow the instructions closely, it's a cinch.

Check your sofa to see whether the fabric is attached by staples or upholstery tacks. If it is stapled, then you should use staples to attach the new fabric. If it is attached using tacks, use tacks.

Measure to find out how much fabric you'll need. You can do this by removing the existing fabric, piece by piece from the different areas of your sofa. Make sure to label each piece as you remove it so you know where it belongs. When you measure the pieces, make sure to add at least 2 inches on all sides to make sure there is enough room to attach the fabric back onto the sofa frame. It's always best to have too much fabric than not enough fabric.

Choose the upholstery fabric. Upholstery fabric is much thicker and more durable than regular apparel fabric. Keep in mind that prints such as plaid are harder to use because you need to match the pattern on all sections.

Use the old fabric pieces you remove from your sofa as a pattern for cutting out the new pieces that you will use to upholster your sofa.

Attach the new fabric pieces to the frame. Work in reverse order from how you removed the old pieces of fabric. For example, if the last piece of old fabric you removed was the back portion of the sofa, start attaching the new fabric there first. Remember to reupholster the sofa using staples or tacks, depending on which was originally used.


Make sure to carefully smooth any wrinkles and correct mistakes as you work.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery fabric
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Upholstery staples or upholstery tacks
  • Staple gun or hammer
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Kimberly Gail has worked as a freelance web copywriter and content provider for more than six years. Her work has been featured on eHow and She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Alabama.