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How to reupholster a couch “no sew”

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Today I am sharing how to reupholster a couch. Last year I shared the most insane project I have ever done, a DIY couch. I sawzalled an existing couch in half and removed two feet and then assembled it back together finishing it off with new upholstery. A couple weekends ago, I decided to reupholster it again with an old Pottery Barn slip cover that was in the bottom of my closet.

how to reupholster a couch

how to reupholster a couch-

The before upholstery looked like this:

how to reupholster a couch- In case you are new to our blog, this is what the couch looked like after I sawzalled it in half.

how to reupholster a couch

Kind of crazy right? Well this little o’l couch is getting a new look, again.

Do you love the look of slip covers but hate all the wrinkles and mess? The one piece slip covers that you buy as is are beautiful as long as you don’t sit on the furniture.

Do you know what I am talking about?

They come in one size and usually, you have excessive amounts of fabric tucked everywhere. Drives me crazy! So my solution was to re-use the existing large one piece slip cover and cut it to size and staple/nail it to the couch.

First, drape your slip cover over your piece of furniture.

how to reupholster a couch-

Next, cut the excessive fabric (on the floor) off but be sure to not cut the pleated part. You will want to save the pleated part to re-staple to the couch along the bottom edge.

how to reupholster a couch-

Now it’s time to cut out the middle piece. I decided to cut straight across being sure to leave enough fabric to cover the back and sides of the couch.

how to reupholster a couch-

Don’t worry, this works!

how to reupholster a couch-

Now, simply tuck your fabric and staple with your hand powered staple gun. I used a compressor and heavy duty staple gun with 1/4″ staples. Be sure to staple to the wood part/frame of the couch.

how to reupholster a couch-

Try to staple as close to the bottom and up underneath in order to hide the staple.

how to reupholster a couch-

how to reupholster a couch-

I cut a piece of fabric (from the slip cover excess) to cover the front and stapled. I chose to leave the arms of the couch “loose” simply because I wanted a casual look. You can always staple the fabric around the arms to give it a more tailored look. It just depends what look you want. The staple gun is at your disposal! If you make a mistake or don’t like it, just get a hammer and screw driver and pry out the staple. No biggie.

how to reupholster a couch-

Don’t worry about getting it perfect. You will be able to cover the edges with the existing pleated skirt that you cut off earlier. See below how how stapled the skirt back on the couch. This gives the couch a finished look.

how to reupholster a couch-

I tried to staple where the staples wouldn’t be seen but a couple do show. You can purchase roping or ribbon in the fabric store and use stitch witchery to adhere to the slipcover if you want to hide the staples. For me, they are hardly noticeable.

how to reupholster a couch-

Of course if you want it perfect, you will need to invest hundreds of dollars and pay to have it professionally reupholstered. For me, that wasn’t an option. I think the couch recovered in a camel covered slip cover fits right in with our newly renovated modern cottage pool house.

how to reupholster a couch

how to reupholster a couch

For the cushion, I used the remaining fabric that I had cut off in the beginning and sewed the ends together and used velcro to close the seam. I ran out of zippers and velcro is what I had so that is what I used. I may sew a zipper on the cushion cover at some point.

how to reupholster a couch- The beautiful thing about this reupholstery project, I re-used a slip cover that cost over $300 and I can now sit on this couch without the fabric moving and looking messy. In my book, it was successful. A fresh new look for a couch that use to be two feet longer for zero money! This project only took me two hours and seriously, learning how to reupholster a couch is very easy. Get yourself a small compressor and heavy duty staple gun (that works with a compressor), some fabric and get busy! Be sure to check out the rest of our pool house makeover and diy planked wall in this space. If you take a peak at the before pictures of this pool house, it’s hard to believe it’s the same space. It’s come a long way!

We are a crew of four generations all living together under one roof. We share our
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Responses to How to reupholster a couch “no sew”

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  1. Liz Marie @ Liz Marie Blog July 30, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Love how it turned out!! & it looks so cozy!

  2. Kim @ seven thirty three July 30, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    I love the whole look and feel of this room… such a relaxing retreat! Great place to read a book.

  3. Danielle July 30, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    It looks fantastic! Loved how you finished before but this looks great with the new room. What other fabrics would you recommend for reupholstery. I have a few chairs and a a Victorian bench I want to do.

  4. Marty Walden July 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Unbelievable! Love it!

  5. Angela July 31, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Ok, Jessica! After the chair tutorial and now this, I think I can reupholster my wing back loveseat without sewing! Thanks for the inspiration!~~Angela

  6. TidyMom August 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    WOW!! what a project Jess!! it turned out fabulous!!

  7. Michelle roy August 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Jessica I need u to come over and do my love seat!
    My husband has a staple gun and compressor
    Perhaps u could supervise me while I do the work

  8. TidyMom August 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Thanks for linking up to I’m Lovin’ It Jessica!! I featured your post in my wrap up http://tidymom.net/2013/creative-projects/ have a great rest of the weekend!

  9. Becca August 5, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    You make it look so easy, Jessica … love it … thanks for the tutorial! And, it was great meeting at Haven … hope to see you again. :)

    • Jessica Bruno August 5, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Thank you Becca and it was fantastic to meet you also!

  10. Erin August 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Great idea on using an existing slip cover to start. I need to update a chair and was going to start from scratch with fabric but this sounds like a better idea;)

  11. Jasmine Ramirez October 13, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    This is so amazing and so much easier than the process i was going to do. You saved me a lot of time and money. Thank you so much!!

  12. Jenn December 19, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    This looks amazing. My couch has seen better days. It was an older couch when I got it and the fabric was already in rough shape and then the kids made it rougher. The fabric on the arms are basically shredded so I put a slipcover on it. Yes, the dreaded slipcover that has to be put back on it EVERY day because with the kids jumping on it, its gets completely askew. From being tossled and pulled (because it does not fit properly) even the slipcover now has a couple of holes in it…which leads to my question….Let me say this before I ask my question: I HATE MY COUCH!! I rarely even sit on it because of my hatred lol Now for my question, because I do not want to spend a lot of money (dont really have it to spend), I wonder if the canvas painters drop cloth could be used to recover the couch. Would the canvas be thick enough? just wanted other’s thoughts. Thanks in advance!! :)

  13. maria March 9, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Can you do the same on a sectional? The pillows & cushions dont come off

  14. Marylou Jones March 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    I love this! Thank you so much for sharing.
    You have inspired me :-)

  15. lori March 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    hi I have 5 cats and want to recover my loveseat. I need a to know what fabric ( and can it be a bedspread or drapery fabric ) will hold up the best to the cats. The loveseat also is tufted with the elastic material from inside the sofa holding the buttons, should I just skip these or take them out.Please help

    • Jessica Bruno March 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      I would suggest going to your local fabric shop and ask them what fabrics would be best. I personally would use a cotton/poly blend so you can vacuum it easily. There are so many different types so your best bet, head to the fabric shop :)

  16. Jennifer Pritchett April 30, 2014 at 4:34 am #

    Where did you find the slip covers for the couch? Do you happen to know if you can find slipcover’s for ottomans? My fabric is outdated but nice quality furniture. Thank you for your help,
    Jennifer Pritchett

    • Jessica Bruno April 30, 2014 at 9:33 am #

      That fabric is actually an old slip cover that I had purchased (I think it’s pottery barn?) and then I cut it to fit my couch and stapled. :)

  17. Rebecca April 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    Wow! This looks so simple and would be really nice to recover our couch that the dog, cat, and kids have made their personal playground over the past three years!
    Thank you!!

  18. Janice September 25, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    Thank you for your instructions. Your piece turned out pretty. I have never thought about taking off some of the lenghh of a couch!!! And all without sewing..
    Amazing…..Good job

    • Jessica Bruno September 25, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      haha I never did either until one day when I decided to sawzall it in half :)

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