Home DIY Grab the Paint and an Upholstery Staple Gun… Rejuvenating Your Sofa

Grab the Paint and an Upholstery Staple Gun… Rejuvenating Your Sofa


It’s an old problem.

Your sofa has developed a small rip, or a smiley face has been engraved on the cushion by your four-year-old; maybe the cushions are just a bit depressed after years of people unwinding on it.

But mostly it’s a good sofa.

The bones are good and it feels like a travesty to send something with so much potential to landfill. People are still using Louis XIV furniture 300 years later, while yours hasn’t celebrated its fifth birthday yet…

So, what are your options?

A new sofa is expensive. You’ll probably need to change the whole suite, maybe even redecorate. And the thought of landfill is still lurking in the back of your mind. You really don’t want to be the straw that broke the environmental camel’s back… but that rip looks worse than a rip in the fabric of time and space.

Rejuvenating an Unhappy Sofa

If it’s just a case of breathing life into an old sofa, there are some quick and easy wins. And it’s the simple things that can make a huge difference:

  • Lose the skirt – if your sofa still has a skirt, one seriously quick update is to lose it entirely. It’s a dated look. Losing the skirt also makes the room feel bigger and exposes the legs.
  • … then you could give your old sofa some new legs. If those newly exposed legs or your existing legs are horrendous, swap them out for something more modern.
  • If you don’t have a nail head trim already (those seams that are a line of rounded metal caps), then adding one is simple and gives a sofa a touch of vintage class, especially round the arms.
  • Adding buttons to cushions give an elegant finish and are simple to do. It’s a great technique for transforming lacklustre furniture.
  • Sagging cushions can be stuffed or replaced. If your sofa is dull you can swap out the old cushions for more colourful ones.
  • Cover it up with big throws and huge cushions.

Are you with us so-fa? (Sorry!)

The Big Cover Up – Upholstering Furniture

When you think about renovating a sofa or chair, one option that likely crossed your mind is having a complete upholster.

Professional upholstering can sometimes be as expensive as buying a new sofa, but if you have a curvy vintage sofa in a style you just can’t get these days, then the upholstery option is a good one.  It’s your choice of material and your choice of colours – you’ve got yourself a new sofa. A complete upholster could include foam and springs, not just replacing the cover. It depends on the condition of the sofa.

And if you’re wanting to cover the odd rip or smiley face then you could just as easily cover individual cushions. Choose a pattern, rather than trying to match the existing colour, to liven up your furniture.

Upholstering is a much-tested project for DIY restorers too and beginners’ kits are readily available. An upholstery staple gun will make the job much easier. But be sure to get the right staples for the gun (they take different staples) and the amount of material you’re stapling through.

Paint Your Wagon? Paint Your Sofa First

If you have a white or light-coloured cotton sofa that’s got a little grubby over the years, you could give it a lick of paint.

Yes, you read right. Paint it.

By using textile medium, latex or acrylic paint can be transformed into fabric paint. You’ll need to mix the paint/textile medium solution with water and it’s best to wet the chair first too.

Some people suggest testing the paint-solution to water ratio before setting the brush to the sofa. That helps get the best application. And apparently the finished version feels a bit more like faux leather than the textile original.

So, Before You Load the Van

Most of these ideas are relatively inexpensive and will feed your creative side too. If you’re determined to keep your existing furniture out of landfill, it’s worth giving them a try. You could end up with a whole new look and stop your old sofa being down in the dumps.


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