Can't Reupholster Your Sofa Right Now? Try One of These Alternatives

If you're not quite ready, we've got temporary solutions.

For most of us, getting a sofa reupholstered is a pretty big deal. It might seem like a fairly easy undertaking, but ... it’s not.

First, you have to find the perfect fabric. Then, you need to figure out exactly how much you’ll need. Then, you need to track down a reputable upholsterer in your area, figure out how to get your sofa over there, then live without it for weeks while the job is being completed. This doesn’t even cover all the money you’ll need to come up with to accomplish all this (fabric, labor, moving costs, oh my!).

If you’d like to reupholster your sofa but can’t quite afford the pricetag or the hassle, I have a few good ideas for you. Don’t worry, you’ve got some good options.

Add a Sheepskin

Modern Sofa with Orange Pillows

Modern Sofa with Orange Pillows

Orange throw pillows are just what this setting needs to break up the brown. Paired with the white throw, the two help the couch stand out in a room full of neutrals.

Photo by: Regan Baker Design

Regan Baker Design

Sheepskin rugs and pelts work well on most sofas. You can choose smaller pieces, such as the very reasonably-priced RENS Sheepskin at Ikea, and drape them on the back of your sofa to create a bit of texture and interest. Or, you can even try larger sheepskin rugs and drape them across the seating area of your sofa to better cover up your cushions, if needed. Design by Regan Baker Design

RENS Sheepskin, $30,

Cover With Textiles

Modern Blue Living Room With Bay Window & Orange Sofa

Living Room With Bay Window and Orange Velvet Sofa

The inspiration for the living room came from the classic, Victorian architecture and bay windows that faced the street. A custom light fixture made of blue glass can be seen from the sidewalk. The sofa was a vintage find that was re-upholstered in a velvet orange fabric. A highlight for this room is the custom designed fireplace made out of hot-rolled steel.

Photo by: Matthew Millman Photography

Matthew Millman Photography

Textiles, such as knit throws or larger pieces of fabric, can be added to your sofa to help soften the look. They're also great to use in strategic spots to cover up stains or distract from larger patterns. If you find a throw you love, you might want to buy multiples so you can use several on your sofa at one time. Design by Geremia Design

Add Throw Pillows

Living Room With Blue Pillow

Eclectic Living Room With Gray Sofa

The artwork series above the sofa brings zip and movement to the the living room, as though the butterflies from the accent pillows have taken flight!

Photo by: Heather Hawkins

Heather Hawkins

Adding an eclectic selection of throw pillows can often completely change the look of your sofa. Try adding just a few for a more subtle change, or go all in and load up your sofa. I prefer to mix up my pillows and add a variety of colors, patterns and textures. Different shapes also help to create a distinct look; think round pillows, bolsters and a variety of square and lumbar pillows. Design by Studio Ten 25

For some inexpensive options, check out the selection at a few of your local discount stores such as HomeGoods, T.J.Maxx, Marshalls or Ross.

Switch Out the Back Cushions

When you remove the back cushions, you can replace them with other cushions that better fit the color palette and vibe you're hoping to create in your space. Here, the larger velvet pillows bring a fresh, new look to the sofa, as well as adding some gorgeous jewel-tone colors.

Reupholster Just the Cushions

If you're willing to spend a smaller chunk of money than an entire reupholster job would require, simply reupholster the cushions on your sofa. This would require a smaller amount of fabric, and it would be much cheaper, as well. It’s also the type of job that can usually be completed much more quickly than an entire sofa.

Add Artwork (Behind the Sofa)

Eclectic Multicolor Living Room

Colorful Eclectic Living Room With Floral Wall Tapestry, Mustard Yellow Sofa and Faded Red Rug

A distressed rug gives a nice faded element to the pigmented furniture pieces surrounding it. A mix of patterned pillows decorate the mustard yellow sofa situated in front of the floral wall tapestry with complimentary hues. Deep red cushioned wood chairs and a shaggy faux fur seat surround the remaining sides of the clear, plastic contemporary coffee table.

Photo by: Breeze Giannasio

Breeze Giannasio

While this technique won’t really do anything to your sofa, it might help to take away some of the focus. Try hanging either a rug or another large piece of art behind your sofa to draw the eyes up when people walk into your living room. If you combine this with one of the other hacks on the list, it could really make a difference in your space. Design by BGDB Interior Design

Get It Professionally Cleaned

White Sofa and Wave Art

White Sofa and Wave Artwork

Have so much fun on a white sofa with bold, splashy artwork and bright, patterned pillows.

Photo by: Tessa Neustadt

Tessa Neustadt

If your sofa is looking a bit dingy, you might be able to bring it back to life by getting it professionally cleaned. This is a great option for anyone who has pets or kids. Look on Yelp or Angie's List for local spots with good reviews, and price out a few to make sure you're getting a fair deal. The upholstery cleaner should be able to let you know up front whether they think your sofa is a good candidate for professional cleaning and answer any specific questions about your fabric.

Choose a Slipcover

Living Area With Blue Slipcovered Sofa And Blue And White Striped Wall

Blue and White Living Room With Slipcovered Sofa

This slipcovered sofa is covered with a handsome shade of navy blue. Should juices or messy hands come into contact with the slipcover, a quick toss in the washer will have it looking new. An aqua patterned throw pillow provides contrast and ties into the wall art in the background.

Slipcovers have come a long way over the past few years. If you have a standard-shaped sofa, you'll likely find a large selection of slipcovers that would cover your entire piece. The best part? When your slipcover gets dirty, you can easily toss it into the wash. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Move Your Sofa

Eclectic White Dining Room

Eclectic Dining Space With White Tufted Sofa Seating, Spoon Chandelier and Burnt Orange Chairs

A long, white tufted sofa creates cozy and stylish seating along one side of this wood dining table. A blue throw pillow adds a pop of accent color while a dark orange pillow matches the burnt orange coloring of the chairs. A spoon chandelier adds a unique element and antique style to finish the design.

Photo by: G CRAWFORD


Try moving your sofa to a different spot in your home if you're not in love with it anymore. Using it at a dining table, like in this example, can create a cozy dining nook. You could also try moving it to a family room, office or even putting it at the end of a bed in a large bedroom. Design by Massucco Warner Miller Interior Design

Our last idea will help you figure out what to do in your living room once you move your sofa to a different spot in your house.

Buy a Used Sofa

Purchasing a used sofa is a great way to replace your existing sofa without spending as much money as you would if you bought a new one. A good trick is to find a sofa whose style you love somewhere online, such as West Elm, Crate & Barrel or CB2, then search for that exact style sofa on your local Craigslist.

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