3 Great Ways to Style a Sofa

By Helen Scott , last updated December 25, 2011

Don’t toss that old ugly couch! Here are three great ways to style your sofa, transforming it from eyesore to centerpiece. Whether you’ve bought or inherited a used sofa that doesn’t fit your decorative scheme, or its time to give that old sofa a new look, you don’t have to spend a fortune to give new life to a tired looking sofa.

When the only thing wrong with a sofa is its pattern or color, many people opt to cover it up. Reupholstering is an expensive process, and generally makes little sense if it would cost more than the couch did in the first place. One easy, cost efficient and unexpected alternative to reupholstering is to paint the fabric. To do it yourself, you’ll need ordinary wall paint, textile medium, a foam roller and painters tape. For a large couch, a gallon of paint should be sufficient. Choose your color wisely. If you’re covering up a loud or bright pattern, you may want to use a darker color to ensure coverage. If it doesn’t work, you may want to consider adding another layer of paint once the fabric has dried. Mix one part textile medium and two parts paint. Textile medium usually comes in eight ounce containers, so a gallon of paint will generally require two bottles of medium. Make sure to securely tape over any wood or metal trim that you do not wish to be painted. The fabric may remain slightly stiff for a while, so this process is better suited for less cushiony sofa backs. The entire process can be completed in one or two days, and is the perfect weekend project for prepared and motivated do-it-yourselfers.

If you’re looking to restyle an inexpensive couch, you may want to “reupholster” yourself. Couches that arrive requiring assembly (think IKEA!) are generally not expensive enough in the first place to consider reupholstering worthwhile. There are many websites offering premade covers for already assembled IKEA furniture. Finding an inexpensive premade cover for your specific piece of furniture may be the easiest option, as it requires very little effort post-research. If, however, your particular model couch is not available, or you cannot find a color or pattern that suits your room, it’s extremely easy to do it yourself. You may wish to disassemble some sections of the couch for easier access. Once you’ve chosen your fabric, you can easily transform your couch using an Exacto knife and a staple gun. Make sure to pull the fabric tight enough so that it fits smoothly, and staple the fabric securely to the unseen sections of the couch.

Once the frame is painted, it’s much easier and cheaper to cover the seat cushions yourself. You can even start from scratch for easy, inexpensive cushions. All you’ll need is cushion foam from a fabric store, some fabric and either safety pins or a staple gun. Most fabric stores can even cut the foam to size for you if you bring the exact dimensions. When you have the correct sized cushion, simply wrap the foam in fabric as you would a gift box, and secure the seams on the underside. Use safety pins every few inches, or staple the fabric directly to the foam, and voila! New life for an old sofa!

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