How to Reupholster Sleeper Sofas
Welcome to How to Reupholster Sleeper Sofas. For several years of use, the upholstery of your sleeper sofa gradually becomes dirty to such an extent that regular washing and cleaning cannot make it as clear as a new one. Also, fabric tears due to sharp objects or scratches by pets could contribute to ruining your favorite furniture.
If you’re in this case, it’s time to “change your sofa’s dress”. It’s a cost-effective way to upgrade, increase the comfort and add a personal taste to your sitting and guesting area. For most people, this DIY project can be touch and time-wasting. That’s why I created this post to help you capture the main points of the whole process. Follow it and who know it can bring fun to you.
Things You Will Need
A new large piece of fabric (specialized kind for sofas, couches or armchairs) is indispensable, of course! I cannot tell you its specific size because the choice depends on your furniture. In general, a sleeper sofa requires more fabric than a regular one. Before buying, simply measure your furniture with a measurement tape to figure out how much fabric you will need.
In terms of color and texture, the selection is also up to your style and residence as well. If you’re living in a small house or a tiny apartment, light colors are advisable since they create the feeling of space expansion and freshness. About the material for sofa covering, leather and cotton are the most common choices.
Necessary Tools to Reupholster Sleeper Sofas
- Camera (or smartphone, tablet)
- Staple remover
- Measurement Tape
- Heavy-duty staple gun
- Tack hammer
- Metal sewing machine (includes needle and thread)
- Upholstery pins, nails, wood glue (optional)
How to Reupholster Sleeper Sofas Step by Step
Step 1: Take Photos
You might think this step is superfluous, but in fact, it’s useful in many cases, especially for people who have never reupholstered a sleeper sofa or a normal sofa before. A collection of photo, taken before you tear your sofa apart, provides you a clear and accurate photographic reference. You simply follow it to assemble your furniture in reverse order to the disassembling process.
Make sure the collection is as complete as possible. Take pictures front and back, inside and outside as well as close-ups of some touch-to-deal area such as the corners, intersections, etc. Remember that you will put the new covering back in the same positions as you removed the old.
Step 2: Remove the Old Upholstery
Before going to the process of disassembling, place or move your furniture to a spacious area where you have enough room to get around. Now, take the old upholstery apart carefully and in order. Scissors will be your cutting tool, and a staple remover will be your detaching tool.
Note: Don’t tear anything apart. Instead, try to preserve the shape of all pieces of the old upholstery because they will be your patterns for the new covering in terms of shape, size, and number to refer later.
The order to remove:
- Starting with the outside back
- Turn the couch upside down to deal with the bottom surround
- Turn the couch upright to deal with the inside back, outside/inside arms, and deck.
Step 3: Check the Construction of your Sofa
Since the only way to take the closest look inside your sofa is when it’s “naked”, it’s a good idea to check the frame of your furniture after removing the upholstery, especially if you have a very old one. Shake it several times to define whether it’s in good shape or does it requires a little repair.
Are some screws loose and need to tighten again? Is it necessary to add more nails to make the arm stable? Is the wood glue need to be refreshed? Etc.
Step 4: Measure and Cut Fabric
First, you measure your sofa dimension (width, length, height). Second, measure the pieces of the old upholstery. Next, compare the corresponding parts to make sure you have accurate dimensions to cut new fabric.
Note: Leave about 1-2 inches for each part. Why? Two reasons! First, the spare inches will be the margin to provide pinning the fabric to the couch. Second, it’s a simple trick helping to eliminate the risk of fabric shortage, which can lead to wasting your fabric, due to wrong measurements.
Before starting the cutting process, it’s important to look for a flat surface (table or floor) to roll out and separate your fabric cloth into different pieces according to your measurements. For their shape and number, refer to your old upholstery.
Step 5: Sew the Fabric
Now, sewing some pieces of your fabric together. What couple of pieces need to be sewed? The outside arm and front-surface arm have to be taken into account. Others depend on your style.
A metal sewing machine is your main tool. Of course, I mean the needle and thread already included. Before sewing, make sure you adjust the zipper foot near along the welting edges. While sewing, make sure your needle-work straight and tight. For me, ½’’ seam allowance is enough.
Note: Since the fabric to upholster your sofa is much thicker compared to fabric made of normal clothes, your thread and needle should be heavy-duty kinds. If not, they can be broken.
Step 6: Cover the New Fabric
This is where you will use your heavy-duty staple gun to attach the new upholstery to your sleeper sofa. In some cases, the staples don’t pin perfectly, so a tack hammer is necessary to handle this problem. This is also where your collection of photos brings into play. A simple rule for you is reversing the order in which the original piece of your furniture came off.
No matter which way or order you’re “changing your sofa’s dress”, ensure the fabric is stretched over time as attaching. It should be tense and have no wrinkle, but not so taut, and of course, no fabric tears.
In my opinion, covering is the most difficult stage which requires you both skill and meticulosity. I cannot tell you the most in-depth guide on how to recover the fabric due to the limitation of words. So, I recommend you to check this video. It’s not only about recovering but also a complete instruction on how to reupholster sleeper sofas. If you love to read more post like this, check out our Tips & Tricks category.