How to reupholster old furniture

January 30, 2015

We've all eyed that piece of furniture at a garage sale or buried under Halloween decorations in the basement and thought of all the potential it holds - if only it weren't for that hideous fabric. Well, never fear, because reupholstering furniture can be a cinch. 

The steps
Here is the know-how you'll need to reupholster your old, dingy furniture. If you follow these steps, you'll have a beautiful and unique home furnishing in no time at all.

  1. Remove all of the fabric from the old furniture with care. All of the fabric should be removed intact, so be prepared to pry out staples and tacks.
  2. Place all of the removed fabric in an organized manner, making sure to remember where each section fit into the piece, because you'll be using the sections as patterns later on.
  3. Strip the furniture down to the wood panels, foam and batting, keeping everything intact. If there is cardboard or other features attached to the outer fabric, remove and organize it.
  4. Once all of the fabric is removed, place it on your new fabric material flat and cut around the old material to produce sections of fabric that are the same sizes and shapes. Note: Try fitting in the old pieces on the new fabric as efficiently as possible, but be sure that the grain of each fabric lines up and be mindful of the direction of patterns and stripes.
  5. Once all of the new fabric is cut into the correct sizes and shapes, reapply it to the skeleton of the furniture piece. Be prepared to stitch, glue, screw and staple the fabrics in place. Use whatever means attaches the fabric snuggly and securely to the structure. You want the most sturdy and durable product by the end.

A few pointers 

  • Start small to begin with and work on something cheap, rather than a family heirloom or an antique sofa. Go to a thrift shop and pick up a cheap but interesting chair or peruse garages sales for eye-catching pieces to practice on. Look for an item that's sturdy and has a simple structure to make things easier on yourself.
  • Before tackling a job, make sure you can at least sew, staple, cut and screw fabrics in place. If you're worried about a certain skill, try practicing first or look up a how-to video to get a better understanding.

    And there you have it! That old, raggedy piece of furniture is as good as new. Reupholstering is a great way to change the style, texture and look of old furniture. Use plain material to start so you don't have to worry about lining up designs. Once you have a bit of practice, you'll be able to give a whole living room set some colorful flair in no time.

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