One Sneaky Way to “Reupholster” Your Old Fabric Furniture

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

Reupholstering fabric furniture takes either big money, or a lot of time, and sometimes both. Send your sofa or chair out for someone else to do, and you’re looking at hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Tackle the project yourself, and there go your nights and weekends. But, what if I told you there was a way around the whole reupholstery process, and your furniture will look almost new?

Here’s the trick. Find a beautiful piece of fabric, and artfully arrange it on your furniture. Not only will the new material hide any flaws on the existing upholstery, but it’s also an opportunity to add something beautiful to your room. Plus, when you get sick of it, it’s easy enough to swap it out for something else. It’s a great way to quickly and easily change the look of your furniture, no reupholstery or staple guns required.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Denise Palma’s happy Huntington Beach home’s bedroom has a basic headboard. Is the fabric underneath faded? You’ll never know, because she covered it with a large swath of mudcloth. The black looks striking with all the white and pink, and it adds another pattern into the mix.

When Joy Cho had her daughter Ruby, Emily Henderson did a quick kid-friendly living room redo of her L.A. home. One of the things she did was cover the sofa cushion with a bright blue piece of fabric to protect it from grubby fingers. Although this was a (smart) preventative move, it also works after the fact, when you need to cover up food and pet stains, but aren’t quite ready to reupholster.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

The same goes for the back of the couch. Say you have a cat, which has treated your couch like its own personal scratching post. Do you run out and buy a new one or rush it off to be redone? No, you find the prettiest blanket or throw you can find, and let it do the job temporarily. If your sofa is a neutral color, like Lake Sharp’s, you’ll have an easy time finding something that looks good.

(Image credit: Anna Hudson)

For all we know, those wooden stools are covered with My Pretty Pony-themed fabric and have seen better days. (Okay, these are probably just wood, but the idea can be transferred to stools that actually have less-than-ideal upholstery). Here, a few pieces of indigo blue cloth soften the space, and add another dimension to this desert home‘s kitchen.