Sofas are often a large investment, one that can sometimes be disappointing when you experience prematurely flat or sagging cushions. Luckily, there are some simple and inexpensive ways to repair sinking sofa seats that will have your sofa looking and feeling as good as new in no time. These suggestions are also useful for bargain hunters who want to repair a newly acquired garage-sale purchase.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Cushion foam
- Seam ripper
- Fabric pen
- Upholstery fabric
- Sewing machine
- Staple gun
- Nail puller
- Tape measure
Remove the cushions from the sofa and set them on the floor. Try sitting on the cushions. If the cushions place your body close to the floor instead of suspending it, then the foam is worn and requires replacing. Custom-cut foam can be ordered online or purchased from upholstery stores. For the longest life, use premium foam.
Inspect the seat covers for tears, stains and general wear. If the damage can be hidden, then leave the upholstery alone. If the sofa is an eyesore, it's time to replace the fabric.
Disassemble the entire outer upholstery layer using a seam ripper. Write the specific position of each piece on the inside of the fabric with a fabric pen. Be careful to avoid tearing anything by the seams. Lay out the fabric to calculate the required replacement yardage.
Trace the old upholstery pieces onto the new fabric and cut out the new pieces. Sew the new cover pieces together, carefully following the old seam lines. The cover must be precise so that it fits onto the wooden frame.
Staple the fabric onto the couch frame, making sure to follow the old staple points exactly. You may need to tightly stretch the fabric around the frame.
Trace and sew the new cushion covers in the same way you sewn the exterior cover. You will need to install metal zippers on the new cushions. If you are unsure of how to install zippers, please see the link in the Resource section.
Remove all the cushions and test them. If they pass inspection, then the springs and frame are most likely the problem.
Carefully peel back the fabric cover from the top of the springs and look for any springs that may be bent out of shape.
Remove a damaged spring from its casing with pliers and bend it back into place. Reinstall the spring and put the couch back together. If the couch still sinks, move on to Step 4.
Purchase a 1/2-inch-thick piece of plywood to create a reinforcement board. Measure and cut the plywood with a jigsaw to be the same exact size as the couch frame.
Staple the plywood in place.
Tips and warnings
- Refurbishing a couch's upholstery is an advanced sewing project and should not be attempted unless you are familiar with how to use a sewing machine to make reinforced seams and insert a zipper.
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