Ten Year Old Sofa Makeover

Ten years ago, my husband surprised me on my birthday with a new living room set.  I had been drooling over a custom sofa and loveseat at our local furniture store for a few months.  I have to admit, they were a splurge.  At the time we were knee deep in renovations on our very first home, a nineteenth century farmhouse that needed a lot of work.  Even though he was not fond of the floral print upholstery and money was tight, he knew how much I  loved them.  Ten years later, the set is still in our living room.  It has been good to us all of these years.  Everyone that visits our home has commented on how comfortable our sofas are.  

As you can imagine, after ten years of hard core family living with three children and a dog, the set was  showing it's age.  

Take a look...

For a little while, I had them covered in loose fit slipcovers to disguise the time-worn floral upholstery fabric that no longer fit into our decor (to my husbands excitement).  But it was time for a more permanent solution.  I started looking around for new furniture.  Comfort was an important factor, so I started looking for a set that was just a comfortable as what we had.  The more I started to shop around, the more I realized I already had exactly what I wanted, it was just old.  The only thing "wrong" with my furniture was that it was old.  This is when I decided to invest in a makeover instead of replacing my living room set.  

Here is how I did it…

1.  The first step was to have the sofa and loveseat professionally cleaned.  

2.  The second step was to shop around for high quality, nice looking slipcovers.  I wanted a crisp, clean tailored look for my sofa's.  In other words, I did not want them to look slipcovered.  To achieve this, I ordered two-piece covers from Sure Fit that allow the main body of the sofa and the seat cushions to be covered separately.  There were a few different fabric options, I chose a heavy weight quality cotton fabric that was thick and rigid enough to completely cover the floral fabric underneath and provide a nice smooth, structured fit.

3.  The third step was to remove my loose back cushions and take them to the upholstery doctor to have a little work done.  After ten years, these cushions had lost their shape.  The forms had broken down over time and became very limp and lumpy.  In addition to having the forms remade, I wanted to have new separate back cushion slipcovers made to give my sofa's that neat, tailored, custom look. 

4.  Before taking the back cushions to the doctor, I visited my local fabric store to shop around for the perfect fabric to match my new Sure Fit slipcovers.  I brought home several samples of white linen, cotton duck and canvas to compare to view in the actual space next to my new slipcovers.  Once I found a fabric that was almost a perfect match, I loaded up the cushions and the fabric and delivered them to Sherrei Jolley-Pauls at my local workroom, Creative Stitches.  

5.  The last step in my furniture makeover was to add new accent pillows.  I was able to justify splurging on high end pillows after considering how much I saved by not purchasing a whole new set.  What I love about having a neutral sofa is that I have limitless options on toss pillows.  I am able to switch up the look of my room by simply changing the pillows.   

I chose high impact, black/ivory linen stripe, down filled, 22" pillows paired with gorgeous deep red wool rosette 20" down filled pillows.  This combination is striking and provides amazing contrast against the new, crisp white sofa fabric.  Another element I added was a black "throw" that I created by cutting a queen sized black wool blanket in half lengthwise.  By folding the throw neatly and placing it in the two most popular seats in the house, I am able to help to keep the white fabric clean.  Not to mention the black fabric adds to the bold look I created with my new pillows. 

Striped Pillow can be found here and Rosette Pillow can be found here. 

And just like that, I had beautiful, brand new, custom sofas.   My favorite set has a new lease on life and I am in love with it all over again.  

Here it is...

Here is a close up of the new and improved loose back seat covers donning their new custom slip covers.  

The attention to detail on the cushion slipcovers made my "new" sofa's proud.  Using the same piping on the back cushions that the Sure Fit slipcovers helped to disguise the fact that they were not an exact fabric match. Sherrei, the owner of creative stitches did an amazing job on the loose back slipcovers as well as re-building the forms.   

This is NOT a sponsored post, but I have to give props to Sure Fit for these gorgeous slipcovers.  As an interior designer I have dealt with many slipcovers in my day and these are fabulous.  They fit my sofa's perfectly, all the way around.  They have a really nice neat shape from the side view as well as from the back.  

Due to our furniture arrangement, it was especially important that my covers looked nice from the back.  These have an elastic band on each side that allows me to fold the corners into a neat pleat that stays in place.  

I think a common misconception is that white slipcovers are not practical or family friendly.  I disagree, they have been a wonderful solution for our family.  As a general rule, we don't eat in this space which cuts down on a lot of spills.  However, we like to break rules once in a while and when an accident happens, I simply remove the cover and wash it, in our washing machine.  I have washed these twice since purchasing them.  

Having a washable slipcover is like being able to put your sofa in the washing machine.  After I wash them, I place them in the dryer for half of a cycle, then I place them back on my sofa's slightly damp.  This cuts down on wrinkles and keeps them from shrinking.  

The approximate cost for this project is as follows:
Professional Steam Cleaning $100/sofa
Sure Fit Slipcovers $100/sofa
Fabric $11/yard
Four New Loose Back Forms, Piping and Four Custom Back Cushion Covers $180

This was not an inexpensive project, but in comparison to buying a new set of the same quality it was a huge savings.  Another bonus was that there was no risk involved as I already knew what to expect in terms of quality and comfort.  In the end, I'm so happy that I decided to invest in my old sofa's as opposed to replacing them.  They are comfortable, they look great, they are practical for our busy family life and most of all…they have a history with us.

  Things to consider before investing in an old piece:
1. Is it in good condition?  Is the frame and overall structure in good repair?
2.  Is it clean?  Has it been exposed to any major spills or has it been heavily soiled?
3.  Is it comfortable? 
4.  Do you like the shape, size and style of the piece?  You can give an old sofa a new look with new upholstery or a slipcover but you will only be as happy with the result as you are with the shape, size and style of the piece. 
5.  If you are using a slipcover as I did, can you find one that fits your sofa well?

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be back this afternoon to answer them!
Thanks for stopping by!  
For information on my affordable online design service please click here. 


  1. Such a beautiful update! I love it!!!

  2. The sofas look great. I know that this is a strech...but do you by chance know of any work rooms in Houston? Alternatively, do you know how I can go about finding a good work room (because we have several pieces of furniture that we need recovered and also want to make draperies). Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Jennifer, thank you. I can't say that I have any recommendations for the Houston area. My advice is to check with your local fabric store. They can lead you to a work room in your area. Would love to hear more about your projects! Feel free to share them on my facebook page!

  3. Just me being a skeptic, but I find the pricing a bit hard to believe. Looks great, but you must have connections to get a discount on the work. And your original sofa had the perfect shape for a Sure-Fit slipcover. Sure worked for you!

    1. I believe that when she says:
      Professional Steam Cleaning $100/sofa
      Sure Fit Slipcovers $150/sofa
      Fabric $11/yard
      She is saying "$100 per sofa; $150 per sofa; $11 per yard." So, in that case the price seems reasonable, don't you think? Plus the Four New Loose Back Forms, Piping and Four Custom Back Cushion Covers $180 added to that.
      That's $680. plus the price of the fabric (she didn't mention how many yards she purchased), plus the special throw pillows she added. I'm guessing that's roughly $800. to do this makeover?

    2. Hi Linda Sonia, sometimes the cost of a project like this turns out to be less than you would initially think. Thanks JuJu for adding it all up, $800 total is spot on. Still an investment, but much less than a new set of the same quality. Best, Sarah

  4. Wow, Sarah! Your couches look amazing! They don't even look Slipcovered. It looks like you just reupholstered them. Nice job! And the pillows are great, too! I love the black striped ones.

  5. Really a great transformation. Thank you for sharing all the details and pictures.

  6. Very helpful. Thank you! We have a sofa we love- and it shows. We were trying to figure out a way to affordably save it

  7. very helpful- Thank you! We have a sofa that we love-and it shows. We were trying to figure out an affordable way to save it.

  8. What is the name of the Surefit style that you chose? I'm looking on their website and don't see an exact match and your sofa is almost the exact same shape as mine. I have the same dilemma, a very comfortable sofa but dated with a floral pattern.

    1. Hello, I purchased them at Overstock. They are called the Sure Fit Twill Supreme 2 Piece Slipcover in White.

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  10. I don't think this is a very affordable make over! $800? You can purchase brand new with a similar design for that amount or less. Affordable would be more like $200 max. I am not a fan of slip covered furniture, I think it's tacky.

    1. Everyone has a right to their opinion but there are ways of saying things without being unkind or better yet, say nothing at all! Just my opinion.


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