How to reupholster a leather sofa

Updated April 17, 2017

If you have a leather sofa that has seen better days, with worn or torn seat cushions and arms, you may wish that you could afford a new one; but reupholstering the sofa yourself is likely easier than you imagine. Whether you are upholstering leather or some other fabric, the procedure is the same.

Begin by removing the old leather from the sofa. Flip the sofa upside down and use a flathead screwdriver or some other flat tool to get under the existing staples and lift them out. Remove the leather and use a seam ripper to separate the pieces, then put the pieces aside to use as templates.

Lay the new leather fabric face down on a flat surface, and place the old leather pieces face down on top of the new piece. Pin them into place (along the edges of the pieces) with the sewing pins. Use the electric scissors to cut the new pieces out, then remove the pins.

Place the back piece on and staple it into place along the back top edge of the sofa. Now position the front piece into place by flipping the leather over face down, letting it drape down the back. Staple it right on top of the back piece across the top edge of the sofa, then flip the leather over on the front. You should not see any of the staples.

Pull the leather tightly down, and place a staple on the inside of each corner to hold it into place. Now begin pulling and stapling the leather into place at the sides and on the inside bottom of the back piece.

Place the arm pieces onto the sofa and staple them in place on the inside and outside back. (You will cover these exposed staples later, with tacks.)

Place the bottom front of the sofa piece onto the front and staple it into place by flipping the leather over on the top and stapling it along the front edge. Flip it back over and staple it underneath the front bottom of the sofa.

Now attach the remaining open sides of the back piece into place, covering the back of the arms. Staple it into place on the underside of the sofa.

Cut pieces of leather for the seat cushions and pin them together with right sides facing in. Sew a 5/8-inch seam along the front and sides, leaving the back side open.

Sew Velcro strips on both sides of the back opening. Turn the cushion covers right side out and place the foam inside, then close them with the Velcro strips.

Finally, hammer the tacks in line along the bottom front edge and arms to give the sofa a sophisticated look.


Use distressed leather to help hide future flaws and worn spots in the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Leather fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Seam ripper
  • Small hammer
  • Electric scissors
  • Nail-head tacks
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About the Author

As a freelance writer and online marketing consultant, living and working in South Florida, Tiffany Holley provides copy writing services and online marketing strategies for businesses and website owners of all types. Holley specializes in SEO content writing, product reviews, search engine marketing, and social media marketing for businesses.