How To: Totally Rebuild a Love Seat

Liz's February Jumpstart Project 2009

Title: A Lovelier Love Seat
Name: Liz Lovrine-Ganrude
Time: 2 Weekends
Cost: $80

Amazing. Imagine having the gumption to totally deconstruct a gently used love seat and rebuild it from the ground up to become a totally new piece of furniture in your home. This is extreme upcycling. Click above for the pics and head below for all the instructions. Give Liz a THUMBS UP if you find this project helpful....



Tools: measuring tape, drill, wood screws, hammer, pliers, staple gun, staples, hand or power saw, sewing machine, ply-wood

Materials: 8 yards of fabric, 2 yards of foam, 4 furniture feet, 4 furniture plates landscape fabric, cardboard packaging


Step One: Find a couch (or be graciously given one) that isn't working in its current form.

Step Two: Tear said couch apart. (Be sure to wear a dust/gas mask while you do this-and if you can do it outside, even better!) I had never taken a couch apart before, so I took pictures as I went to understand how it should be put back together. It's okay to rip the fabric off without being very careful if you're not going to use it again, but I was careful to pull the foam off slowly to make sure I could reuse it. (Foam is expensive and why waste it?)

Step Three: Re-frame the couch. I didn't like the shape of the original couch so I cut the arm rests straight to square them. (I used a hand saw, but having access or space to be able to use a power saw would have saved a lot of time.) I added two pieces of wood to the arm rests (one on top and one on the front of each) to square it off. I had to add a couple of support pieces from the body of the couch to the new top of the arm rests to make sure they would support the occasional lean-on. (I used wood that I had cut from the base of the couch that was falling off.) I did a once over to make sure I had removed all of the staples that were holding the original couch together.

Step four: Re-attach the foam to the couch. I used a staple gun to attach each piece, cutting the foam to fit as necessary. I went through with a hammer as well to make sure they were secure.

Step five: Attach your landscape fabric. I realize this is not what professional upholsterers use, but it looks a lot like the dust covering that they do use. It's also readily available at any home improvement store and it does essentially the same thing. (And it's less expensive.) I attached the landscape fabric anywhere springs were, as well as on the back. It's also where it was originally attached.

Step six: Attach your fabric. I started with the arm rests, then did the front bottom panel, and did the back last. When you're stapling it, make sure you're stapling it in a spot that you won't see when you're done.

Step seven: Upholster the front and back. To cover up where the arm rests and the front panel meet, I upholstered a board (with one piece of foam on one side) and screwed it to the front of the arm rests. Because I screwed it on, there were two holes left in the front. I covered some buttons and hot glued those on to cover it. (The front of the couch needed a little something anyway.)

Step eight: Attach your cardboard and fabric back panel. In order to get a straight fold when upholstering (look at any back of a couch and you'll see what I mean), pieces of cardboard are stapled down and the fabric is folded over it. It also allows you to staple the fabric on without showing any staples. I wasn't going to buy special cardboard for this, so I used some cereal boxes I had. I cut them intro strips and stapled them onto the back of the couch and folded the fabric over. (I would recommend doubling the thickness, as one sheet seems a little thin.)

Step nine: Staple landscape fabric to the underside of the couch. It will keep the underside of your couch looking nice.

Step ten: Attach your feet plates to each corner of your couch and screw in your feet. I got my couch feet at a home improvement store and stained them to a color I liked. Also, the original couch didn't have any feet, so I was a little apprehensive about adding them. They are surprisingly sturdy. No wobbling or other issues yet!

Step 11: Upholster the seat and back cushions. Because I squared off my arm rests and brought them all the way to the front of the couch, I had to cut off the part of the seat cushion that used to wrap around the arm rest. I used a saws-all to do this. (It was really easy to cut.)

Next, I measured, cut and sewed the fabric to fit the cushion. For the back cushion, I bought a piece of 1.5" thick foam. (The old couch had really big pillows as the back and I really didn't like them. I re-upholstered those and made them into floor cushions.) I added a layer of quilt batting to make the cushion a little thicker. I did this for a couple of reasons.

As I mentioned before, foam is expensive, especially the thicker you get it. I also had some batting from an earlier project, so it was easy to throw in. I measured, cut and sewed a case for the back and voila! Done! (The little pillows on the couch also came from the original couch, I just made new covers for them.)


Co-worker for a couch. Work dumpster for some supplies (cardboard and a few pieces of wood). Local fabric and hardware stores.

Give Liz a THUMBS UP if you find this project helpful....


You might also like

Recommended by The Kitchn


DIY, Green Living, How To

Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.