Sofa, So Good: 10 Creative Ways to Revive a Tired Old Couch

It’s not surprising that the couch is the focal point of most living rooms. It’s often one of the largest pieces of furniture, and family and friends alike make a beeline to its ample seating. Over the years, however, a sofa can become stained, outdated, or saggy, tempting us to bite the bullet and spring for a new one. But you can upgrade your sofa without buying new. So, before you buy, check out these clever ways to revitalize an old sofa.

  1. Before: Dated

    Outdated White Sofa

    This classic couch still had a lot to offer, but in order for it to keep up with the contemporary surroundings, the outdated skirt had to go.

    Related: 15 Lazy Ways to Make a Big Change in Your Home

    Remodelando la Casa via Pretty Handy Girl

  2. After: Elevated

    Remove the Skirt to Update an Old Sofa

    A little investigation revealed that this couch had good legs that it could show off with a mini makeover. First, the staples holding the skirt were removed with a tack puller and a pair of pliers. Once the skirt was detached, the remaining fabric was tucked under the couch to create a smooth line along the bottom. Finally, decorative nailhead trim along the arms and bottom added some extra pizzazz. In the end, these few simple, targeted changes not only modernized a great couch, but also made the room look more spacious.

    Related: Don't Make These 7 Mistakes in Small Spaces

    Remodelando la Casa via Pretty Handy Girl

  3. Before: Sunken and Sad

    Saggy Brown Sofa

    This baggy and forlorn sofa had seen one too many movie nights. But all it needed was a little TLC to make it chic and comfortable again.

    Related: 9 Worth-Every-Penny Upgrades for the Hardworking Parts of Your Home

  4. After: Revived and Restuffed

    Replace the Stuffing to Fix a Saggy Sofa

    For a quick update to this piece of furniture, the homeowners first exposed the lovely legs that had been obscured by the couch skirt. Then, to amend the sunken seat cushions, they removed the old stuffing and replaced it with Poly-Fil batting. Finally, they traded in the floppy cushions along the back of the sofa for plush pillows that can be easily swapped out as styles change.

    Related: 10 Ways to Give Furniture a Fast Facelift

  5. Before: Craigslist Find

    Vintage Couch Before

    Blogger and decorator Miss Mustard Seed saw potential in this Craigslist find, but to make this sofa suit her country classic home design, she had to scrap the retro upholstery.

    Related: 16 New Things You Can Do with Old Furniture

  6. After: Living Room Ready

    Revive a Tired Sofa with Paint and Fabric

    Structurally sound and elegantly shaped, this thrifty find was in great position for a quick update. Painting and distressing the wood lightened the sofa and gave it a country flair that was enhanced by the addition of durable, neutral upholstery. To complete the makeover, gimp trim, hot-glued in place, provided a decorative finish.

    Related: Beyond Ikea: 10 Other Places to Get Affordable Furniture

  7. Before: Dorm Room Staple

    IKEA Futon

    Whether used as couches or beds, futons are a dorm room staple. But what happens once you’re not a student anymore? This DIY makeover adapts this college kid must-have for a more mature living space.

    Related: A+ Storage Hacks for the Best Dorm Room on Campus

    Instructables via efraguada

  8. After: All Grown Up

    Add Pattern to an Old Futon

    This refinished futon hack would look quite at home in any grown-up space, yet it comes at a price even a recent grad can afford. To achieve this transformation, the futon frame was disassembled so the panels could be modified and rearranged in a new configuration. The original futon mattress was cut up and reconfigured to fit the new dimensions, then covered with heavy-duty canvas that had been hand-stamped in a cheerful pattern to create a one-of-a-kind couch.

    Related: 9 Things You Never Thought to Paint—But Should

    Instructables via efraguada

  9. Before: Thrift Store Throwaway

    Thrift Store Outdoor Sofa

    This unlovely thrift store find wasn't doing this backyard patio any favors, but the potential was there. 

    Related: 8 DIY Pick-Me-Ups for a Plain Patio

  10. After: Perked Up with Paint and a Tablecloth

    Use a Tablecloth to Reupholster an Old Sofa

    As it turns out, it didn’t take too much to uncover this sofa's potential. While the frame was in excellent shape, it was in desperate need of a fresh coat of black paint. The cushions received an easy upgrade with a tablecloth reborn as a slipcover. A few decorative throw pillows later, this bargain find was successfully revamped into a stylish outdoor couch.

    Related: 7 Ideas to Steal from Real People’s Tiny Backyards

  11. Before: Boring Basic

    Gray IKEA Couch

    This Ikea Karlstad sofa was the right size for this space, but it lacked the luxe look of a higher-end couch.

    Related: 21 Totally Free Ways to Upgrade Your Home

  12. After: Midcentury Modern

    Upgrade a Boring Sofa with DIY Tufting

    Tufted cushions make this sofa appear more tailored and expensive—at little cost. The look was created by pulling thread through layers of fabric, then securing a button to the front. No one would guess that this classic tufted couch was a DIY hack. 

    Related: The 9 Rules for Rugs That Everyone Should Know

  13. Before: Dingy and Off-White

    Stained White IKEA Couch

    White furniture exudes classic, clean elegance, but it’s also a magnet for stains—case in point, this once-white sofa that was impossible to keep clean.

    Related: 7 Things You Need to Know Before Painting Your Walls White

  14. After: Refreshed with Green Paint

    Paint an Old Sofa for a Whole New Look

    Reupholstering is not the only solution for a stained white couch—you can paint it too. Textile medium allows latex paint to permanently bond to fabric while staying soft and resistant to cracking. A little green paint and medium was all it took to turn this grubby sofa into a cool, vibrant fixture.

    Related: 9 Things You Can Do with 1 Gallon of Paint

  15. Before: Raggedy Rescue

    Classic Velvet Couch

    A luxurious velvet couch is divine, but with age, these classic sofas become worn and rickety. But the impressive length of this sofa and its invitingly curved form are features that you won’t easily find in new furniture. The good bones made an investment of time—and a few dollars—worthwhile.

    Related: 14 Retro Home Trends It’s Time to Revisit

  16. After: Recovered in Velvet

    Reupholster a Classic Sofa in Velvet

    Once the old fabric was stripped away, it was easy to repair the structure underneath and add fresh batting and foam. Finally, new velvet and a retufted back transformed this old sofa into a one-of-a-kind showpiece.

    Related: 10 Ways to Fill a Blank Wall for Under $20

  17. Before: Scribbled-On Survivor

    Stained Couch with Scribbles

    In the hands of a child, a permanent marker can transform a couch into a mess of scribbles. While accidents can be forgiven, permanent marker is not so easily forgotten.

    Related: 10 Quick and Easy DIYs to Do with a Sharpie

  18. After: Saved by a No-Sew Slipcover

    Tuck Fabric Into Sofa Cushions to Disguise Marks and Dirt

    Permanent marker is tough to remove, despite washing and dry cleaning, so recovering the cushions was the best solution. This no-sew slipcover project offered a simple alternative to reupholstering, while the graphic print paid playful homage to the couch's stained past. 

    Related: The New Neutrals: 9 Colors You Can Trust for Today's Home

  19. Before: Dark and Dreary

    Vintage Black Leather Sofa

    Vintage furniture has a certain shape and style that some people love, but it’s often difficult to find a piece in perfect condition. This worn-out retro sofa was almost ideal for this blogger, but it needed some TLC.

    Related: 7 Remedies to Rescue a Dying Lawn

  20. After: Leggy in Leather

    Revive a Vintage Sofa with New Upholstery and Legs

    While the structure of this retro sofa was sturdy, the tired leather needed to be replaced. As the cushions weren't removable, the entire couch had to be reupholstered with one giant piece of leather. The slimmer legs that complete this transformation paradoxically make this vintage sofa seem even more of its era—and yet perfect for ours.

    Related: The Best Plants for Every Room of the House

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