How to Reupholster Your Sofa

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How to Reupholster Your Sofa

Reupholstering a sofa may seem like a daunting task. It is often tempting simply to get a professional to do the job or to buy a new sofa. Reupholstering your own sofa is much less expensive than buying a new one or sending it to a professional, and it is a relatively simple process that can produce fabulous results. It is more than possible to reupholster your sofa with a little bit of patience, a few basic practical skills, and the right tools. It provides a sense of achievement and allows you to use your ideal fabric to revitalise an old sofa, and maybe even turn it into a new and exciting piece of art.

Fabric and tools for reupholstering your sofa can be found at craft, haberdashery, and DIY shops, as well as online. Buyers can find a wide selection of fabrics, tools, and supplies on eBay. eBay is user-friendly website that has everything that you need to complete an upholstery project.

Benefits of Reupholstering Your Sofa

Reupholstering your sofa is more affordable than buying a new one or getting professional help. Reupholstering a sofa breathes new life into an old favourite or allows you to improve a newly purchased second hand sofa. It restores the appearance of the sofa and updates the look of the room. Reupholstering is affordable and satisfying, although it can be a time consuming task. The fantastic end result means that many who embark on the task are thrilled with their finished project, especially as it provided an outlet for creative and artistic flair.

Gather Your Upholstery Tools

There are a number of important tools required to successfully reupholster a sofa. With the correct tools, it is highly likely that the finished piece will look good with all the tucks in the right places. Make sure that you have all the tools to hand before you start the job. The tools required are pliers, a claw hammer, long ruler, tape measure, stapler, fabric scissors, and a large, flat surface for cutting the fabric.

Choose a Fabric to Reupholster Your Sofa

Choose the fabric that is appropriate for the project. For beginners, a medium weight fabric is advisable, because it is much less stiff and more workable than heavy weight fabric. It is also more resistant to wear and tear than lightweight fabric. Also decide on a design. The design should suit both the style of the sofa and the rest of the interior decoration in the room. Colour choice is important, not only because of the existing style of the home, but because some colours hide stains, whereas others show even the tiniest speck of dirt or lint. Therefore, a pale choice may not be the best one if there are children or pets in the home. Measure the sofa and estimate how much fabric is required, but buy a little bit more than you think you need to avoid any mishaps. Excess fabric can be used later to make throw pillows or other soft furnishings.

Prepare the Sofa

Once you have gathered the tools and purchased the new fabric, you need to prepare the sofa to be reupholstered. First remove the old fabric, ensuring that any materials beneath it are not damaged or removed.

Remove the Old Fabric

Upholstering over the original fabric is very difficult and gives a poor finish. The easiest method to remove the old fabric is to pry one piece of fabric loose at a time, very carefully. It is more than likely that the fabric is stapled on, so pliers can be used to remove the staples. It is best not to tear the fabric free in a frenzy of eager destruction. This can damage the padding and the frame beneath. It is a good idea to mark or number each piece of old fabric to identify where on the sofa it was taken from. Then these pieces can be used as a template for the new fabric.

Padding and Batting

Beneath the old fabric lie layers of padding and batting. Do your best not to dislodge or pull these materials out of place as they can be difficult to put back correctly. If there are any uneven lumps or bumps, then smooth them out carefully. This not only helps with an even, professional-looking finish, but it increases the comfort of the sofa.

Replace the Fabric on Your Sofa

Once the sofa has been prepared, it is time to cut the new fabric so that it can be used to reupholster the sofa. This is when the old pieces of fabric can come in handy.

Lay Out the Pattern

Take the new fabric and lay it out on a large, flat, even surface. Lay the old pieces of fabric on the new fabric and using them as a template. Mark around them using tailor's chalk or a fabric pen that fades after a few hours. Avoid using markers or felt tip pens, as the pigment can spread and may be visible on the finished sofa. Allow an extra two or three centimetres all the way around each template for proper fitting. Using sharp fabric scissors, cut out each piece carefully, with the two to three centimetre edge. Keep each new fabric segment with the corresponding old one for easy identification.

Reupholster the Sofa

The easiest method to cover the sofa is to attach the pieces in the reverse order to which the old fabric pieces were removed. Use a staple gun to attach one edge of the first piece of fabric carefully. Ensure that there is no sagging or wrinkling, unless this effect is intentional in the design. If a smooth effect is desired, then the fabric should be snug, but needs to retain a little give to prevent the fabric from tearing or splitting when the finished sofa is sat on. Pull and stretch the fabric, and then staple the other side. Repeat this process with each piece of new fabric.

Correct Mistakes

A beginner may make a few mistakes as an inevitable part of the learning process. The key is to spot the mistakes as soon as they happen because then they are easier to remedy: a mistake left uncorrected until the end of the reupholstering is very difficult to fix. Easy mistakes to fix are if the fabric is wrinkled, sagging, or too taut. In this case the staples can be removed and the fabric repositioned before moving onto the next piece. If any of the new pieces are damaged by removing the staples, then use any excess fabric to cut another piece.

Create a Nice Finish

Tufting is a common upholstery technique. It is the process of creating clean, straight line indentations of a distinctive, repeating geometric pattern of squares or diamonds. This allows the padded fabric to bulge out from the lines. To create tufting, start by threading an upholstery needle with very strong yarn. Make small pleats in the fabric as it is being applied and thread a stud or a covered button onto the upholstery needle. Pass the needle through the fabric several times, pulling it very tight. Use another button or knot the thread around a cable tie at the back of the fabric to secure the stud in place. Continue this at equal intervals on the fabric. When enough studs and depressed areas are complete, bulges of well-padded fabric are formed, creating the traditional, tufted appearance. Tufting is optional, and is not appropriate for every sofa or room.

How to Buy Upholstery Tools and Fabric on eBay

From tailor's chalk and fabric to upholstery staplers, eBay has everything needed to reupholster your sofa. You are able to identify the items needed quickly and easily by searching from the eBay homepage. If you know exactly what kind of fabric or type of fabric scissors are required, then use this information in the search, for example, "upholstery fabric scissors". This takes you to the specific products. If you are unsure of the exact specifications of the fabric or tools then, browse through the thousands of listings to look for inspiration.

When you find the items that you want, read the description carefully. Looking at the feedback score of the seller offers a valuable insight into their eBay reputation and should always be done before you commit to a purchase. Feedback gives the comments of previous buyers regarding the quality of the item, speed of arrival, and seller's communication and overall service. You may be able to find an eBay store that specialises in a specific area, such as crafts or upholstery. The store owner may be able to offer help in searching for the right tools and fabrics.


Reupholstering your own sofa is easier than it seems. It is a fantastic way to exercise your creative flair, gain a valuable skill, and save a substantial amount of money. In order to reupholster a sofa, only basic skills are required. So, there is no need to throw out your old, tired sofa and buy a new one. Nor is there any need to send it to an expensive professional upholstery service. Instead, gather the right tools, find some fabric, and carefully remove the old fabric from the sofa. Use the old pieces as a template, then dive right in by cutting and stapling the new fabric.

Reupholstering a sofa takes a little bit of patience and it is important not to rush it. Take it slowly, make sure that the fabric is smooth, with some give, and you will be astounded by your stunning new-look sofa. Reupholstering a sofa is an inexpensive way of rejuvenating a worn out sofa, or a sofa that was recently bought second hand. eBay has everything that you need to reupholster your sofa.

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