How to Revamp a Sofa on a Budget

If you have aging sofas that look worse for wear, but still have plenty of sitting life left in them, consider a budget revamp to last you through until you can afford to upgrade or have them reupholstered properly.


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    Consider the costs of reupholstering. Often, a good quality reupholster will set you back more than buying a new sofa. If you are seeking to revamp on a budget, having this done professionally is probably outside your current means. It is, however, worth asking because the upholsterer might offer good deals during a downturn in trade, or might have some bargain fabrics to suggest to you. This can be especially important if the frame of your sofa is solid, enduring, and of the exact style and shape you want to retain in your living space.
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    Move to the budget covering options. There are several options available to you that range from making your own covers to purchasing ready-made ones. The following steps detail the various options.
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    Purchase a commercially made sofa cover. These work well for standard sized sofas and can be found in bargain stores, box stores and soft furnishing stores. Be sure to take your measurements along and even a photo on your cell phone. Ask for advice from the retailer if you're not sure. And if the colour does not suit but there is cover on a good special, consider dyeing it - the dye will not add a lot of cost.
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    Add your own loose cover. A loose cover can be made from a variety of materials, including sheets, long fabric lengths, and even tailoring an existing loose cover to fit your sofa properly. If you can sew, you'll be able to improvise but even if you can't sew, ask someone who can to help you. Try to add elastic to the edges to make it easier to remove and replace the covers for washing. Sewing your own cover or throw-over will be the most effective budget response because you will only need to pay for the fabric or sheet and elastic edging.
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    If you cannot find a decent cover, but you still have to live with your tatty sofa for a while, use cushions, throws and pillows to hide the evidence of wear and decay. Here is a range of ideas with images to help inspire your own creativity:
    • Strategically placed large cushions or pillows can hide a multitude of tatty areas and everyone will be all the more comfortable for it. You can also make your own pillows.
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    • A throw or throw-over is a very easy and effective option. Be prepared, however, to keep straightening each day.
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    • Use an old quilt or fleece/soft blanket as an inner area cover as shown in this image (usually such items won't fit over the seat rests/sofa arms) if you're really stuck for creativity and funds! Again, be prepared for very regular straightening.


  • Help your furniture go the distance by covering it when pets are around.
  • Some furniture comes with cover changes as an option. IKEA is a good example; just wander back to the store and buy a new cover to match your sofa type!
  • Temporary revamping of a sofa will always look "casual" as opposed to elegant, sophisticated or tailored. This is simply the compromise that you'll need to reach while saving up to replace or reupholster the sofa.

Things You'll Need

  • Sofa cover (if seeking commercial budget option) - look in box stores, department stores, soft furnishing retailers and outlets
  • Fabric, thread, sewing machine, elastic if sewing your own - and the crucial tape measure
  • Sheet, blanket, throw, cushions, pillows, as needed

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