How to Reupholster a Leather Sofa

By Fawn Farley , last updated September 4, 2011

Reupholstering a torn or worn leather sofa can be an expensive and timely project. For the beginner, working with leather may be more challenging than it is worth. However, know that there are other options than donating your old couch to the local Goodwill! Re-upholstery services are available in most areas, and there are Internet services that offer DIY kits, which simplify the process. Do not discourage if you are a true craftsperson or handyman! As long as you practice first on less-expensive material, the project should go smoothly.

The Materials

You will need needle-nose pliers or a screwdriver, a staple gun, staples or upholstery tacks, sharp or electric scissors, a rubber mallet or hammer, a seam ripper, the leather, and possibly batting or stuffing for the reupholstery. The leather will be quite costly, and you may wish to consider faux leather. Shop around and compare prices. Also, you may need to send a swatch of your leather in to have it matched.

Remove the Old Fabric

First, remove all the old fabric using the pliers or screwdrivers, depending on the construction of the couch. If you are replacing only a small tear, simply remove and replace that specific section. The seam ripper will aid you in separating pieces. By carefully removing the old leather pieces, you can use them as a template for cutting the new leather. Furthermore, using electric scissors will work best for tough leather.

Attach the New Leather

Pin the newly cut leather into place, and make sure it is taught. You may need to replace stuffing prior to stapling the leather. Now, begin by stapling at each corner, and then staple every inch or so around the edges, pulling tight, in a clockwise direction. Make sure there are no bubbles. Also, consider using a sample re-upholstery with a cheaper material before beginning with your expensive new leather! With patience and skill, you can turn your torn old leather sofa into a stunning new one that you can take pride in!

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