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....


DURING

TOOLS & MATERIALS:

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

STEPS:

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.)

RESOURCES:

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....

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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.