Thinking of Reupholstering Your Sofa? Everything You Should Know Before You Start (2024)




Sarah Lyon

Thinking of Reupholstering Your Sofa? Everything You Should Know Before You Start (1)

Sarah Lyon

Sarah Lyon is a freelance writer and home decor enthusiast, who enjoys sharing good finds on home items. Since 2018, she has contributed to a variety of lifestyle publications, including Apartment Therapy and Architectural Digest.

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Published on 03/22/24

If you're considering making over a couch but are hesitant to commit to such a project due to not knowing how much it costs to reupholster a couch, keep reading.

Below, experts share the main factors to consider when reupholstering a couch, provide cost estimates as they pertain to fabric prices and labor, and weigh in on whether reupholstery is always worthwhile as opposed to buying something new.

Meet the Expert

  • Ella Hall is the co-founder of Stitchroom, an upholstery shop in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Erick Negrete is the owner and upholstery specialist at Don Javier's Custom Upholstery in Dallas, Texas.
  • Rick Lovegrove is the president of upholstery at Four Hands, a wholesale furniture company.

Factors to Consider When Reupholstering a Couch

The following are some of the main factors to consider when weighing whether or not to reupholster a couch, experts say.

Overall Build of the Couch

If a couch is built to last for the long haul, by all means, give it a bit of care.

"A well-constructed sofa with solid bones typically justifies the investment in reupholstering, preserving both quality and structural integrity," Ella Hall, co-founder of Stitchroom, says.

She notes that one can expect to pay between $2,200 to $4,200 when reupholstering a standard eight-foot couch.

Couches that aren't built to last more than a couple of years are not candidates for reupholstery, she notes. Given the costs associated with reupholstery, it can be more budget-friendly to purchase a new couch if you're not looking for a piece that will serve you for decades to come. Do keep in mind that less expensive couches are going to need to be replaced more frequently, though.

"They may also utilize lower-quality springs, such as zigzag springs or elastic webbing, which do not provide the same level of support or longevity as traditional coil springs found in higher-quality sofas," Erick Negrete, owner and upholstery specialist at Don Javier's Custom Upholstery, says.

He adds that the fabric on such pieces may be more prone to wear.

Thinking of Reupholstering Your Sofa? Everything You Should Know Before You Start (2)

Condition of the Couch

While experts say that furniture pieces with great bones are always worth reupholstering, keep in mind that your couch may need additional enhancements beyond just new fabric.

"Switching out the textile or leather is less of a task than a full reupholster, which generally means stripping down the entire piece and replacing the core components, such as foam, padding, and sometimes springs," Rick Lovegrove,president of upholstery at Four Hands, says.

When choosing to take on a project that is this extensive, you will of course still need to budget for the textile covering itself, too. Lovegrove emphasizes that reupholstering is an expensive route, so the piece should be an heirloom piece or carry a deep personal meaning to you.

Sentimental Value

In some instances, a couch may not only have great bones but may also be associated with high sentimental value, in which case, it deserves a second chance at life.

"A sofa that has been part of significant life events or handed down through generations carries memories and emotional value that cannot be replaced," Negrete says.

Reupholstering can often allow you to preserve memories, update the piece to fit current home decor styles, or restore its original beauty.


Keep in mind that labor itself can be quite costly when it comes to reupholstery projects, and pricing is likely to vary based on your location.

"It's crucial to recognize how regional differences play a role in reupholstering costs," Hall says, noting that reupholstery services are generally more expensive in larger cities.

Thinking of Reupholstering Your Sofa? Everything You Should Know Before You Start (3)

Cost of Fabric to Reupholster a Couch

When budgeting out an upholstery project, keep in mind that fabric costs can vary significantly depending on what specific type of textile you select—Velvet, silk, mohair, and the like are more expensive than simple cotton, for example.

High-end designer fabric will come in at hundreds of dollars per yard, while more affordable options are under $50 per yard.

Overall, Hall says that $30 to $350 per yard is a common price range for upholstery fabrics, with most coming in between $40 and $70 per yard. She notes that for a standard eight-foot couch, you will need between 10 to 15 yards of fabric, so be sure to factor this into your overall budget.

If you choose a patterned fabric for your couch, you may need to purchase even more of it to accommodate for the repeats in the design, Negrete says. Plus, he adds, the more complex of a structure your couch has—numerous cushions, tufting, or pleats, for example—the more fabric you will need on hand.

Keep in mind that you will of course want to select a fabric that is conducive to your lifestyle. If you entertain often or have young children, for example, be mindful to choose a textile that is easy to wipe down and clean as needed. Make sure to also choose a pattern or color that you truly love, so it lasts through various home refreshes.

"At Four Hands, we see a lot of interest in our performance fabric, which is a sustainable investment given its liquid-repellent, kid-and pet-friendly, and easy-to-clean qualities," Lovegrove says.

Thinking of Reupholstering Your Sofa? Everything You Should Know Before You Start (4)


  • Is it worth it to reupholster a couch?

    The decision to reupholster a couch and its associated costs are dependent on budget, the structure of a piece, its sentimental value, and how much additional work, aside from the addition of new fabric, the piece requires.

  • Is it cheaper to reupholster or buy new?

    It is generally cheaper to purchase a brand new couch, but keep in mind that less expensive pieces often will not last for an extended period of time and may experience wear more quickly. Reupholstering a couch is an investment in the future of the piece.

  • How many yards of fabric do I need to reupholster a couch?

    Generally, when reupholstering a standard eight-foot couch, one will need to purchase between 10 and 15 yards of fabric.

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Thinking of Reupholstering Your Sofa? Everything You Should Know Before You Start (2024)
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