How to Reupholster a Sectional Couch (Step-by-step Guide)

Times are hard, so we can’t blame people if they want to be practical at home. For instance, you simply repair a broken chair instead of buying one. Or you undertake a DIY paint job to give new life to your old house.

However, it’s not always feasible to buy a new piece of furniture, like a sectional sofa. That’s why you may be wondering how to reupholster a sectional sofa. You’ve come to the right article as we’ll discuss how to update your sectional sofa by doing the reupholstering by yourself.

How Much Would It Take to Professionally Reupholster a Sectional Couch?

A sectional couch or sofa may likely be the focal point of your living room, like in the case of many households. This common type of seating is composed of multiple independent pieces that you may arrange in various positions. It’s a more versatile seating solution than a three-seater couch. And because of those reasons, you want to reupholster it by yourself instead of getting professional help.

You may also be wary of the expenses you’ll likely incur if you have a sectional couch reupholstered. And you should be considering the costs of this professional job. You can expect to spend at least $1,500 for a professional reupholstery job. If you’re just reupholstering a sectional couch, you need to prepare several hundred dollars depending on your materials.

Aside from the savings you can generate by doing a reupholstering job yourself, you can also find extra motivation upon realizing that reupholstering a sectional couch won’t take a few days to accomplish. If you are to reupholster a small sectional couch, then expect to spend 1-2 days to get the job done. You can add an extra day or two if you have a larger couch.

You may also enlist the help of a friend or family member to cut down the production time. You’ll also appreciate the extra pair of hands when flipping the couch around as needed.

However, you may have to think twice about doing the task yourself if the structural integrity of the sectional couch is beyond repair. The same goes for if the wooden frame has rotten or the seat springs are twisted. In such cases, then you may have to save up for a new sofa.

Things You’ll Need to Reupholster a Sectional Couch

Before you start the work, you should prepare the following things you’ll be needing to reupholster a sectional couch:

  • Electric Scissors/Sewing Scissors
  • Foam (if needed)
  • Hammer
  • Measuring Tape
  • Needlenose Pliers or Staple Puller
  • Seam Ripper
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Pins
  • Spray Glue
  • Staple Gun and Staples
  • Tack Strip
  • Thin Cardboard
  • Thread
  • Upholstery Batting
  • Upholstery Fabric
  • Upholstery Pins
  • Utility Knife
  • Zippers

Remember to be extra cautious in handling the scissors, working on sewing machines, and using the staples.

In reupholstering a sectional couch, you’ll have to go through a multi-step process that begins with choosing a new fabric, removing the old fabric, replacing foam, and cutting the new fabric. The process also continues with cutting and stapling new fabric and reupholstering seat and back cushions.

Continue reading as we discuss the details of each step of the reupholstering process.

Step One: Selecting the New Fabric

Selecting the New Fabric

One of the advantages of reupholstering your couch is that you get to choose a fabric that you like. However, bear in mind that some patterns may be hard to work with compared to other fabrics. For example, fabric with strips is hard to keep in line. As such, you should avoid continuous patterns requiring precision. You should also consider getting a fabric that’s heavy-duty so that it can withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.

Step Two: Removing the Old Fabric

Removing the Old Fabric

You can’t replace the sectional couch with a new fabric without first removing the old fabric. Start by removing the cushions and then placing them out of the way. Turn the sectional over and get to where the fabric is secured. Using the pliers or even a staple puller, remove the staples first. This can enable you to free the fabric from the piece.

Remove the cushions and put them somewhere out of the way for now. We’ll get to them later. Turn the sectional over so you can easily get underneath where the fabric is secured to the frame. Use your pliers or a staple puller to remove the staples and free the fabric from the piece. Then, set the old fabric aside for the next step.

You’d also want to label each piece of fabric as you pull it off the sofa. This would come in handy when you are about to put on the new fabric. Also, take note of tack pins or cardboard that you’d come across, as you may be able to reuse them later on. Some DIYers even share that they would take photos of the couch as they remove the pieces so they’ll have an easier time putting back those items.

Step Three: Replacing the Foam and Batting

Replacing the Foam and Batting

When would you need to replace the cushion foam and batting on the couch’s frame? One is when it is already badly stained. You may also be compelled to do so when there’s a bad odor coming from it.

If you have to replace the foam, carefully pull it off. You may have to use a utility knife if the foam does not pull off easily. Be careful in doing so as you may damage the material underneath, like the cardboard.

Once you’ve removed the old foam, measure the areas which you will be replacing and cutting the new foam to fit. This is where you’ll find the fabric scissors handy. You can also use spray glue to ensure that the foam adheres to the couch. Then apply staples around the edges of the foam to enhance the hold.

Here’s one tip to consider: avoid using staples in visible areas since these could leave an impression and may be visible once the new fabric is fitted. Once the foam has been attached, you can utilize the batting to cover it. Staple the batting to hold it in place.

Step Four: Cutting New Fabric

Selecting the New Fabric

On a large space or floor, lay down the new fabric. Take the old fabric you’ve just removed, and then lay it on top of the new fabric. You can then pin the old fabric to the new one so that it will be held in place.

Using your scissors, cut the new fabric in the same size and shape as the old material. You may also use electric scissors for this purpose, as this can prevent the fabric from fraying.

Step Five: Stapling the New Fabric

Stapling the New Fabric

After cutting out and preparing all your fabric pieces, you can then begin applying them to the sofa. Now you’ll be relying on your organizational skills for this part of the job. Apply each piece of new fabric in the same way as the old fabric was used to attached. You must also stretch the fabric well enough to prevent the couch from getting saggy or wrinkled.

In giving shape in the difficult areas of the couch, like the crease under the arm or the front part of the sofa, you’d want to use thin cardboard or tack strips.

Flip the fabric back for the front of the sectional to expose an inch from its edge. Then lay the strips of the cardboard across the edge of the flipped fabric and staple it down. Turn the fabric back over to find a perfect hidden stream. Use the same method for the curve under the outside arms of the sofa.

Step Six: Reupholstering the Seat

To remove the foam cushion forms, unzip the seat cushion. Look at the state of the foam and decide on what to do with it. If it emits a bad odor, it may be wiser to replace it. The same goes if the foam is stained or mildewed.

Measure the front and back of the cushion form. Use these measurements as a guide in cutting the new fabric, giving at least four inches of allowance on all sides so that there’s enough space for the seams and cushion form.

Use the sewing pins to outline a seam of 5/8 inches minimum and start sewing the cushion covers. Leave the back of the couch for last and sew on the zipper. After reinserting the cushion forms, you’ve finally completed the job!


Reupholstering a sectional couch is a task that you can take on if you don’t want to pay a professional to do it. Follow the steps outlined in this article, and you’ll surely be able to get the job done. After a day or so, you can have your sectional couch re-upholstered and looking brand new again!