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DIY Upholstery Updates

Furnishings with good bones but bad skin can be quickly refreshed with basic DIY upholstery techniques. We'll show you how.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Retro Redo

      Update worn furniture with some fresh fabric and new coat of paint! The old cushion covers were removed to provide the pattern for the new upholstery, and the frame was sanded with 180-grit sandpaper to remove gloss and give the wood a bit of tooth. A coat of primer was brushed on to prepare the wood surface. The final coat of spray paint provides a sleek finish.

      Above the desk, a lively lattice-pattern fabric adds energy to a memo board. To create it, we primed and spray-painted an old picture frame. Using spray adhesive, we affixed a piece of fabric (cut slightly larger than the foam-core board sized to fit inside the frame) to the board and smoothed it to remove wrinkles. When finished, we attached the board to the frame with fabric tape.

    • Tailored Update

      Use the existing upholstery pieces as a helpful template for cutting new fabric and foam, but keep in mind older pieces may be misshapen from age and use, so you should measure every side, piece of fabric, and seam precisely for good results. If possible, have the foam pieces professionally cut by your supplier. Test-fit the fabric pieces to the foam as you cut them, pinning right sides together for all pieces, and marking your seams. Remove the fabric and sew the seams, cutting notches in the seam allowance around corners and leaving one side unfinished to insert the foam cushion. Fold in the unfinished seam and pin together after the fabric has been adjusted and smoothed over the cushion. Hand-stitch it closed, or include a zipper along one seam for easy removal and cleaning.

    • Strong Foundation

      With frames painted white to coordinate with the streamlined tables and credenzas, the old piece just needed a firmer foundation and new cushions for a complete makeover. Nylon cargo straps replace worn webbing threaded through existing slots and stapled in place underneath the frame.

    • Cozy Companions

      We complemented our newly re-covered chair with an ottoman upholstered in a pop of pure color. The turquoise vinyl is a durable and easy-to-clean choice for kick-back cool.

    • Focal Point

      To create this unique bedroom focal point, we cut plywood into 18-inch squares and folded cotton batting over each, stapling the material in place. For each square, a larger piece of floral fabric was cut (allow for at least 2 inches of overage on each side) and stretched over the front, around to the back, and stapled in place.

    • Tight Corners

      Pull the corners gradually and secure with staples for a smooth and snug finish. To reduce the bulk of the back of the gathered corners, cut away some of the extra batting before applying the fabric. Trim as much excess fabric as possible when stapling is complete. We screwed a smaller panel of plywood to the back of each square to make hanging them a breeze.

    • Hang It Up

      Each panel was fitted with a sawtooth picture hanger and arranged on the wall above the bed. If you prefer to hang your headboard as one unified piece, cut another piece of plywood slightly smaller than the size of the six panels together. Arrange the panels facedown on the floor, center the larger piece over them, and secure with wood screws. Add hanging hardware to the large panel and hang above the bed.

    • 8 of 8
      Next Slideshow Drab to Fab DIY Furniture Projects

      Drab to Fab DIY Furniture Projects

      Have old boring furniture sitting around? Not any more. Thanks to these fab makeovers, your tired dressers, hutches, chairs, and nightstands are just a project away from a new lease on life.
      Begin Slideshow »



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