How to make an old couch new again for $10

I may have mentioned a few – or a million – times how much I love my living room couch. I special-ordered it online from jcp.com. It has a chaise lounge added on the end, so it’s extra long, fitting our extra-long living room wall perfectly. Plus the hubs and I can snuggle up on it together and there’s even room for a kidlet (or two). Love that.

Well, after two years of lovin’, my beloved couch was starting to show some wear. The notorious mystery spotsΒ were starting to appear and some wrinkles and sags were forming in the cushions.

Old-couchFortunately, my couch has zippers on every cushion, so the covers can easily be removed and washed. (If you’re in the market for a couch, I would highly recommend this feature.) So in order to accomplish Mission: Couch Rejuvenation, my first step was to toss the covers in the washing machine.

Couch-with-no-cushions

Since the cushions for the back were packed with loose polyester fiberfill, I bagged and labeled each bunch of “fluff” separately so I wouldn’t get confused when it came time to re-stuff. Ask me why I know now to do this. πŸ˜‰

Bags-of-polyfilAs illustrated in the first photo, the cushions had lost some of their oomph, so I purchased a bag of quilt batting ($9.99 at Walmart) to wrap over the cushions to re-boost their fluff-ability. Yep. That’s the technical term. πŸ˜‰

Quilt-batting

I simply trimmed the batting and wrapped it around each of the bottom cushions.

Wrapping-batting-around-couch-cushionsI even found extra polyester fiberfill in my basement that I took out of some old throw pillows. I used that to boost the fluff-ability of the back cushions. Honestly, I would have liked to have another bag of quilt batting to line the back cushions. I think that would have given it a smoother look and reduced any lumpiness. But I didn’t want to run back to the store to get another bag. Next time …

After cleaning the covers and beefing up the cushions, my couch now looks as good as new.

Closeup-reupholstered-couchReupholstered-couchLike-new-again-couchNow if I can just keep this guy off of it …

HowieI’m linking this up to Love of Family and Home,Β Miss Mustard SeedΒ and IHeartOrganizing.

160 thoughts on “How to make an old couch new again for $10

  1. This is great information. What did you do about the arm rests, etc? Those places that hands just happen to “land” and leave their mark over time.

    • First, I used the upholstery attachment on my vacuum to suck up the dust, etc. My armrests weren’t too dirty this time. But when they do get dirty, I use the upholstery brush on my carpet steam cleaner and clean them that way. If you do this, be sure not to over-soak the fabric or you may end up with water marks after it dries.

        • You saved my couch!!!! YAY!! I cleaned it this weekend after following your advice and it looks UHMAZING!!! I’m so happy! I was in such a pickle about what to do. I love this couch and it’s matching glider love seat. They’re so comfortable but would cost too much to recover…blah, blah, blah. Now they look like they did when we bought them. Thanks a million! πŸ™‚

    • You can also put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, lightly moisten the surface to be cleaned and then scrub the heck out of them with a bar towel or some sort of rough textured white cloth turning frequently. Once dry, “fluff” with a white bristle scrub brush or nail brush by going over the surface in overlapping circles. Made my microfiber like new again!

  2. The couch “after” is beautiful! I checked your project on your web site and can see how you did the seat cushions. But did you add more stuffing to the back cushions? Otherwise, how did you get them nice and firm again?

    • Yep. I found some extra polyester fiberfill in my basement. It was left over from some throw pillows I took apart. I used the extra stuffing and packed those back cushions good and full. In the future, I’d also like to wrap the stuffing with quilt batting to keep those back cushions from looking lumpy.

  3. Thank you for sharing this tip! I have similar problem with my loveseat. I will follow your advice on how to fix it!

  4. Wow, what a great idea!!! My big issue with our couch, other than the hole that my dog, then puppy, ate in the back of it, is the middle back cushion. There are three. It always pops out of place, if you will. Drives us nuts.

  5. I still think you have one of the prettiest living rooms anywhere. My craigslist sofa is looking a little “loved” will have to try this once I get home from Pennsylvania. Thanks for sharing. Your sofa looks new again.
    Blessings.

  6. Your couch looks amazing…..and so does that little furry guy. Our much loved “Stella” looked very similar, only she was gray. She made our couch look very loved also, and I was constantly cleaning it. She is no longer with us—-how I wish that I was still cleaning that couch like I did a few months ago.
    Super job on the couch!!!

    • Oh that is so sweet, Ruth. Yes, Howie is a handful, but I certainly am glad he’s with us … although he is getting up in years. Thanks for sharing.

    • I dried the bottom cushions outside on the line and the top ones in the dryer (to save time). To be safe, and just in case your fabric happens to be shrinkable, it’s probably best to let them air dry. My air-dried ones did need the touch of an iron to make them super smooth-looking. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Love the sofa and what a great idea to wash, restuff, refluff and relove! My sofa in my living room is super comfy and still loved but I immediately made a note to measure the distance of the wall where I’d put a sofa just-like-yours!

  8. It’s so simple, it’s genious…. I’m like, “a-duh, why didn’t I think of that?” Thanks for a great idea!

  9. I have done this! It does work great. I started by “re-fluffing” my pillows and thought, hey, why wouldn’t this work on the whole couch. It was so worth it and it looks like spent thousands to have it reupholstered! My friends thought I was crazy, thanks for the back up! πŸ™‚

  10. My couch is a sectional and there is no zipper in it and it needs more stufflng. Do you have any idea how i can fix it i dont wanna get rid of it .Thanks Sue.

  11. May I say first, I’m in love with your absolutely adorable dog. If you get tired of him, I’ll come get him. Those big eyes and fuzzy face really got me.
    Love how you fluffed up the couch. Smart idea and can keep your present sofa which is in good shape otherwise. We have an old couch that is a good one but I don’t care for the upholstery, (was given to us). I keep it covered with a light colored slip cover but it’s getting kinda thin where I sit too much. It could use some fluffing also. Glad you shared this wonderful post.

  12. Susan, I LOVE this idea. As a matter of fact I think we have the same couch and the same animal problem ! Mine is a cat that sits on one of the top of one of the cushions so she can look out the window. So glad to see this post. It has made my day!

  13. Wow! Is that a microfiber sofa? I had no idea you could put microfiber in the washing machine! It wouldn’t help me fix up the armrests for our sofa but that sure would help the cushions! I’ve tried the alcohol and brush method that’s all over Pinterest and it didn’t help.

  14. hi, i absolutly love my couches but they need new fluff i have the zippers on my cushions would it be worth getting new stuffing? or should i just buy a new couch πŸ™

    • Well, the stuffing only cost me $10. So it might be worth it to give that a shot first. It could buy you some time before you have to buy a whole new piece of furniture. Thanks for stopping by, Kaylee.

  15. Why did you bag and label the stuffing that you took out of each cushion? I’m getting a new to me sofa that I immediately thought of your post when I saw it. I am having to replace my furniture after bedbugs. No fun and not cheap!!!

  16. Exactly what kind of “fluff” is in the back cushions? Mine are way too squishy with just batting in them. I can’t tell what your filler is but it looks more substantial. Thanks for the help!

    • I’m not sure exactly, but it looks and feels like the same exact stuffing you find in throw pillows. It does tend to look a bit lumpy over time, so the next time I wash the covers, I’m planning on lining the covers with quilt batting before I re-stuff them with the “fluff.” I’m hoping this will cut down on lumpiness.

  17. ok so my main fear is that after I take the fluff out and wash it I wont know how to put it back in. Well not correctly & it will just be all lumpy anyway.

  18. Sometime back a woman gave me the sofa I have today, She told me that she didn’t like it because you couldn’t take a nap on it.. It was very uncomfortable. Well, after sitting on it for almost a year, I had put a King Size sheet over it,, because she said she tried cleaning the sofa, but nothing came out. So what I did was take off the covers and washed them,.. I found she must not have really don that because they came out so pretty and clean. I then tried putting the stuffing back into the back cushions and well,,,,,, I am having a very hard time with them. I didn’t do what you did,, mark the bags.. So, now the cushions are horrible to lean up against. And I do have extra stuffing, and wondered if I should just add more to the cushions. I don’t want to put too much in them. But I also want to be comfortable sitting on my sofa ..

  19. Some great ideas here! I have a sectional with a chaise on the end as well. The chaise is where I always like to sit and watch TV. However, since this part of the couch is used much more than the rest, both the bottom cushion (where my bottom is always resting) became thin and when I would sit on it I could almost feel the hard bottom underneath the couch. The back cushions are like yours. they have the zippers and are stuffed with a colored type of filling that I was able to purchase at Michael’s. I stuffed some more of that into the back cushions and that solved that problem. However, the bottom cushions don’t have zippers and they are actually attached to the couch! Bummer! I still have not found a solution to add more cushion without having to cut them open and sew them back shut (not something I want to attempt). Any ideas?

    • That is the biggest dilemma with zipper-less cushions – the covers can never be removed to be cleaned! (This is one reason I have now vowed to only purchase couches with removable covers (or leather:).) Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get around the cutting and sewing part. But a few readers have done just that – they’ve cut along the seam (about 5 inches or so), then spread out some new batting through the hole and sewed it back together at the seam. Not the most fun project, but not super labor intensive either. Of course, you could always check the manufacturer information on your couch (look for a tag underneath the cushions) and you may be able to just purchase a replacement bottom cushion?

  20. I have been thinking about doing this for a long time to my beloved red couch. Can you really wash microfiber fabric in the washer & dryer? [[[Mind Blown!!!!]]] I already made slip covers for my seat cushions I can remove & wash all the time to extend the life of the couch fabric a little longer living with a fur baby, but I never knew you could wash microfiber in the washer. This just might be my Christmas present to myself. Thanks for sharing!!!

  21. Great tips and directions, i have a question, it appears your put the new batting over the old batting, instead of removing the old batting and then applying all new batting. Did you still use spray adhesive to adhere the new batting to the old? Is there a way to fill back cushions that are zipperless?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Victor, I slapped the new batting right over the old to help beef it up. I did not apply spray adhesive, although I will do this when I wash the covers again to prevent any shifting. To fill back cushions that are zipperless, the best tips I’ve seen involve opening up the seams a bit, stuffing the cushions, then sewing them back together.

      • I have the same problem with the whole zipperless situation,but to add there are springs in the couch. can you offer any suggestions on restuffing because this couch is lacking on comfort. The cushion dont come off either :/

    • Check under the cushions on the main frame of your couch. There should be a tag somewhere that will give you material information and cleaning instructions.

  22. To keep pooch off hide bubble wrap under the cushions and place foil on too of them for a week or two when you leave the house. Dogs hate foil!

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  24. CAREFUL!: Not all upholstery fabric, even microfiber, is machine washable! Check your label and at least wait until any warranty expires!

  25. This is a really great idea! I’m afraid it’s too late to help my wreck of a couch but I’ll remember it for the next one!

  26. I did this same thing sans the extra batting since it wasn’t need just yet. But I will remember that tip for when it is. My trouble was with the arm of the love seat. It has worn a hole in the fabric. Got any ideas other then covering it up?

    • Oh boy, Jackie. That’s a tough one. I wish I had an answer for you. The only suggestion I would offer is to toss a decorative throw over that section. πŸ˜‰

  27. My couch became musty so I tossed the cushions and washed and dried the covers. Do you have any suggestions on where to find inexpensive cushion foam. Any cleaning suggestions on the fabric of the couch.

    • Hmmm. Great question, Michelle. Many craft stores such as Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn Fabric and Crafts would probably carry in stock the thick cushion foam you’re looking for. You’ll probably need to cut the foam into individual pieces to fit your particular covers (an electric bread knife can work great for this). And you’ll probably also want to wrap each cushion in a layer (or two or three) of batting to “beef” them up enough to fully fill your covers. Regarding cleaning the fabric of the couch, I’m always a big fan of using the upholstery brush on my steam cleaner (both upright and handheld steam cleaners should work fine). This method works well because the brush and cleaning solution scrub out all the dirt, while the machine then sucks out the dirty water, so you’re not left with unsightly water spots. I’ve used this method on the arms and base of my microfiber couch and I’ve had no issues with water stains. I believe the key is sucking out as much of the residual water as possible. Best of luck giving new life to your couch. πŸ™‚

  28. Love your idea. Have the exact same sectional, can’t wait to try it out. Hopefully it will look as nice as yours.

  29. Great idea about bagging up the stuffing! Resolve has a can with brush attached and it works really well for arm rest stains, etc. You did a great job with putting the covers back on, it looks like new!

  30. I need help! I want to stuff my cushions but they are attached and have zippers in the back crevice. I know they got the stuffing in that way but it looks so hard to work with. Has any one done any like these.?

    • Interesting … so they have a zipper, but cannot be removed from the couch. I might try to just take some loose polyfil and try jamming it in through the zipper. Maybe you can consider that your workout for the the day. πŸ˜‰ This does sound like a challenging situation.

    • Hmmm. I’m stumped on this one. I have heard of folks who slip a garbage bag between the cushions and the covers to make them easier to remove and reinsert.

  31. Hi, I am currently in the process of restuffing and cleaning my couch also. But, I want to do more than just wrap the batting around the cushions. What should I use to secure it on the foam (some type of glue?) before I put it all back in the covers?
    Thanks in advance!

    Denise R.

  32. there is a great auto upholstery cleaner called Tuff Stuff, I use it on my furniture to keep it clean. It is so simple to use and does a great job. You can find it at AutoZone and I think Walmart.

  33. To clean armrest I use TuffStuff from the Dollar store. The other day I noticed my recliner needed a little padding along my lower back. I flipped it over and used some plastic bags inside one bag and put them in between the coils and now it’s very comfortable. Thank you for the idea on stuffing the pillows.

    • Wow. This is tough. I’m afraid I’m stumped on that one. Perhaps you could find the same fabric, tuck it into the hole, and secure it with fabric glue/adhesive on the underside? That would at least minimize the look of the hole.

  34. Aha! Another Facebook tip says to get plastic carpet protector & place it on the furniture prickly side up to make the sofa uncomfortable for your poochies to sit on. Guess after a while they won’t like the sofa anymore. Maybe cardboard, even? Or just throw an old blanket on it while you are away.

  35. I did the same thing with my couch, however with the cushions I kept them in plastic bags, then or the covers over the bagged stuffing, it made it so much easier each time I took the covers off to wash which I did quit often.

  36. Any idea if I can push my ‘scotchguarded’ covers in the washing machine? My sectional is over almost 4 yrs old. spot cleaning with hot water only does so much now that i have kids.. Unfortunately, my ‘umph’ pillows dont have zippers to restuff πŸ™

    • Without seeing a photo or knowing exactly what type of fabric your covers are made of, I can’t be sure. But if it were me, I’d probably give it a shot – gentle cycle, warm water, with a shot of a washing soda like OxiClean, then leave them to air dry. Also, keep in mind you’ll be washing off the Scotchguard, so you’d have to reapply or just live without it on there anymore. I never worried too much about it. I washed any stain guard off my cushion covers years ago. πŸ˜‰ Hope this helps.

  37. Susan, I love the whole process you went thru to save your sofa! I, too, have had to “resuscitate” a few sofas in m lifetime so I would like to offer some suggestions. 1. If you can wash your cushion covers, put them back on the cushions after only 10 mins in the dryer!!! Why you ask—because any longer will cause the fabric to deteriorate over time. Also, the covers are easier to replace while damp! Let them air dry. Your dog will be confused why he can’t get on the couch, but he’ll adjust!! Lol 2. I love the bag idea to hold the fluff during laundering the covers. I have found it is easier to keep all the “fluff stuff” inside a cotton zippered pillow protector. The advantage is to avoid the step of transferring into bags then back into cushions. Also easier to add more fluff. 3. Do not use spray adhesive to attach the batting to the pillow ! Use Velcro maybe?? 4. Yes, I have used the electric knife to cut foam cushions to the size I need. 5. Throw a blanket over your favorite sitting spot, and pillowcases over the armrests. Our guests know they must give us a 15/minute warning before appearing for aan unplanned visit. Yes the pillowcases and throw blankets come off the couch before they arrive! Kohl’s sells a couch cover with armrest flaps. Our 93 pound dog owns the couch and loves to put his chin on the armrests. 6. Rubbing alcohol stained my microfiber couch. Use the spray upholstery cleaner with brunch for cleaning. Bar cloths are great if used ” as if you were you are “buffing a shoe”- military people know how to do this method. Hope these” learn as you go” tips help everyone!

    • Gerry, these tips are brilliant … especially keeping the fluff in cotton, zippered pillow protectors! Thanks so much for the feedback and for stopping by.

  38. My couch is beyond that, I love my couch but the fabric is thread bare and torn. Can’t just put a cover on because of the two loose large cushions in back.
    Any suggestion. I really love that couch…..

    • Yours is a tough case, Brandy. You could try to open one of the seams on each cushion, stuff some batting in there, smooth it out, then re-sew the seams back together.

  39. So I seen your diy..on the pillow cushions and bought a soft leather (not real) couch and love seat…the problem is their are zippers behind the seat coushings but the seat dont detach from the couch? So im not sure how to do this? It’s like their is fabric sewn from right under the zipper..if you can please help me..I dont know what to do…thx πŸ™‚

    • If you can’t remove the cushions from their covers, it sounds like you may have to resort to spot cleaning. Using a steam cleaning machine is my favorite tool for doing this. As far as restuffing the couch, could you squeeze some batting in through the zipper opening and smooth it out with your hands? Just a thought. Without seeing exactly what you’re dealing with, I’m sort of grasping at straws. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck with your couch project.

  40. My sister and I just did this to our couches. My 13 year old dog had gotten sick all over mine right before our Christmas open house. I didn’t use batting but old towels and pillows to fluff mine up. My 15 year old looks great!

  41. Your couch looks great and looks similiar to my old one that I am trying to refresh. Is yours microfiber? How did you wash the cushions? Did you spot clean? Sounds so stupid, but can you wash them in a machine?

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  43. Hi! I have a microfiber couch with poly fill but the cushions don’t come off. They zip in the back but I find it difficult to get a good angle to fluff or remove the poly fill. Any suggestions?

    • Wow. That’s a tough one, Lauren. I’m afraid I’m not quite sure how to help. I’d never shy away from wrestling with a couch cushion though, if that’s what it takes. You could consider it your workout for the day, right? πŸ˜‰ Perhaps you could just add a bunch of poly and shove it through the zippered opening to make the cushions fuller?

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  52. Have any ideas for a leather couch that all 3 seat cushions, the leather has basically come off into little pieces? Its horrible! All that’s left on the tops of these cushions is the underlayment. Another bad thing…the cushions aren’t removable!

    • Hmmm. That’s tough, Toni. I hate to say it, but the “little pieces” may be an indication that age is getting the best of your couch. Perhaps a reupholstering is in order. How brave of a DIYer are you? πŸ˜‰

  53. So it’s been about two years since you freshened up the two year old couch. How did it hold up? I’m trying to decide if I should try refreshing my 10 year old sofa or if it’s just time to replace it. What kind of lifespan do you think you added?

    • Although this definitely isn’t the case for some other DIY projects I’ve done, I can confidently say this project has held up super well! I’ve actually been surprised at how popular this post has been, considering how simple the project was. But I guess it’s the simple solutions that work the best sometimes. The cushions still look fluffy! I wash the microfiber covers from time to time in the washing machine (we have small children and a dog and they get dirty fast). When the covers are newly washed and put back on the cushions, the couch looks new again! I’ll bet I’ve added 5 years to the life of my couch with the quilt batting. And honestly, I could keep adding more batting – or even replace the cushions with new foam pieces – and probably add another 10 years! This was a great project I would have done over again in a heartbeat. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

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  55. I acquired a couch that smells like dog. I usually love dogs, but not their smells trapped in my cool new couch. Apparently this dog also sat on top of all the back cushions and made them sag. I’ve bought polyfi, but I have three very large cushions to fluff.

    My question is: can you wash the cushion insert(form) that is filled with polyfil? The form came out of the back cushion, and is slightly see through. This form/polyfil is what smells so bad. I’m wondering if I can toss those in the wash and simply add new, additional polyfil, or if I need to buy a ton of polyfil and start over. Thank you SO MUCH!

    • Hmmm. Great question. I’ve washed pillows filled with Polyfil before and they survived, although they seem to come out a bit lumpy. Plus it’s really hard on the washer. But it looks like you may have nothing to lose by giving it a shot. Best of luck getting out the doggy smell and thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

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  59. Hi Susan
    I washed my covers and they lost the sheen that was on them before. Any way to recover that so it matches the loveseat? Thx!

  60. How did you keep the batting from coming apart while putting the covers back on, does it adhere automatically?
    I will try this, love my white slip-covered sofa but it’s in need of a boost.

    • It actually stays put for some reason. It sorts of clings to itself, so I’ve never had any problems getting it to stay in place – and I’ve washed the covers several times since adding the new batting. Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  61. I have a microfiber sofa. The back cushions and armrest have got zipper. Both have polyfil fiber. Both back cushions and armrest were sagging. I read this post and stuffed them with polyfil(bought from walmart). Now the problem is the back cushions are more stiff and uncomfortable to sit. I tried removing some polyfil but that made gaps :(. Do yo know how to get the same level of cushion in them ?
    I stuffed the armrest and they are now like a big lump. I don’t know how to get them back in shape. The old fibers in armrest were looking as if they were heat set. Do you know how can I restore the shape of armrest ?

    • Hmmm. I would suggest wrapping quilt batting around the perimeter of the back cushions and armrests, if possible. (Then the polyfill will get stuffed back in the center with the quilt batting serving as a sort of “jacket” for it. I did this with my back cushions. It seemed to soften the lumpiness a bit because the quilt batting provides a smooth fluffiness buffering the lumpiness of the polyfill. I hope this makes sense and helps. Best of luck with your couch! πŸ™‚

      • thanks for the quick reply.

        How do I make sure the back cushions are not overstuffed ? If I stuff more they become hard.
        How do I maintain the softness as it was when new ?

  62. I just bought a new couch online and recived them today. The cushions are hard as rocks can i use the quilt batting and wrap them around the foam cushions to make them softer?

  63. I have been doing this with mine for several years! In fact, my back cushions were actually attached to the back of the couch an I cut them loose so I can wash the covers! Another trick I learned, especially if you have little ones or animals is to slip the seat cushions into plastic garbage bags and then into the covers. I had an older cat that sometimes had accidents on the furniture. This was a lot easier than trying to get the foam clean!

  64. My sofa is microfiber with a W clean code, but the code does not say “machine washable”. How do you determine? I have thought of doing, but was afraid of doing in fear of covers shrinking or not being able to get foam back in cushions. The tip of shring in plastic bag was good idea. Dogs, myself, children and grandchildren my cushions especially are in dire need of cleaning. Washing in machine I believe would clean better than anything if would work for the fabric on my cushions.

  65. I have a recliner 3 yrs old it has Velcro but serves no purpose I’m already leaning to the right from the stuffing being worn out or thinned out any suggestions

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