How to Re-Upholster a Sofa With Fixed Cushions

A couch with non-removable cushions offers an extra challenge for the would-be re-upholsterer. As a result, many people questions whether they should go with a slipcover or reupholster. Although fabric removal is more difficult when you reupholster a couch with attached cushions, the setup allows for a more convenient stapling of the fabric behind the cushions and into the couch frame. As an extra benefit, attached cushions offer more stability and decrease the likelihood of the cushion material sliding around within the couch. With adequate fabric and basic tools, it is possible for anyone to change the fabric on their sofa and add stuffing, if necessary, to create a couch that is comfortable and attractive once more.

sofa with cushions and blankets
credit: H.Klosowska/Moment/GettyImages
How to Re-Upholster a Sofa With Fixed Cushions

Remove the Old Fabric

Turn the sofa upside down and remove all the visible staples on the underside using the staple puller. Rip the seams on the bottom using the seam ripper if no staples are visible. Cutting the fabric off the bottom of the couch with the scissors is a much quicker option if you have no reason to keep the fabric intact. Continue to remove the fabric in whatever method produces the best results until all the fabric has been removed.

Determine the Amount of Fabric

Spread out the removed fabric and determine how many yards of new fabric it will take based on the old fabric size. Add at least one yard to the removed fabric amount to account for any differences that may occur due to non-professional installation of the fabric.

Reupholster Couch with Attached Cushions

Cut out the required amount of fabric and drape it over the couch. Begin with the cushions and tuck the fabric in tightly all around the cushion and into the crack between cushion and back. Stretch the fabric tightly across the cushion and staple it to the wood frame of the couch as deeply as possible in the cracks.

Continue to stretch the fabric across the back, arms and front of the couch, stapling the fabric to the wooden frame whenever possible to make the tightest attachment of the fabric. Finish the attachment of the fabric by stapling it to the base of the couch every four inches around the base of the couch. Cut off any excess fabric with the scissors.

Add Fluff as Needed

Any sagging or flat cushions can be plumped up before the fabric is fully tightened by adding cotton batting or foam padding before adding the final staples to the fabric surrounding a section. Stuff as full as possible to account for inevitable loss of volume.


Nat Fondell

Nat Fondell has been writing professionally since 2006. A former editor of the "North Park University Press," his work has appeared at scientific conferences and online, covering health, business and home repair. Fondell holds dual Bachelors of Arts degrees in journalism and history from North Park University and received pre-medical certification at Dominican University.