That Old Couch: Re-Invent or Put Out To Pasture?

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It’s tempting to rid yourself of all things dingy and dilapidated at this time, especially that run-down couch your family lounged around on all winter. Instead of pitching your old friend into a landfill, consider repurposing it with one of these exciting couch renovation ideas.

vintage couch sofa harlequin pattern tile

Re-upholstery: new skin for an old friend

Reupholstering a couch is not a project for the faint of heart, but the result of this DIY is a personalized piece of furniture as fresh as the month of May. Before you embark on a reupholstery project, take photos of your couch as it looks now. Shoot even more photos as you dismantle it; reupholstery is a highly visual task and pictures can help if you run into problems along the way.

DIY Diva Stephanie advises you to ask these questions: Is the frame solid? Are the cushions substantial? How many sections should you cover? What type of reupholstery fabric will you use? Hint: Select a sturdy-weave design you love from a quality supplier.

Gutting and reupholstering an old couch requires elbow grease, patience, and a surplus of fabric staples. Fortunately, the Internet offers a gold mine of free, step-by-step directions for couch reupholstery.

Slipcovers: a simpler solution

If the thought of ripping your sofa to shreds gives you heart palpitations, fear not: Slipcovers offer a simpler, less invasive solution with the same gorgeous results.

Cut oversized swatches of canvas that aptly cover the length and width of your couch, as well as the cushions, pillows, and arms. Pre-wash and iron the fabric for a perfect fit. Arm yourself with a needle, thread, a limitless supply of pins, and a detailed plan of action. HoneyBearLane blogger Heidi shares her slipcover successs story here.

Couch cash: sell your sofa

If you’re not up for a DIY and your sofa is in good condition, you might try selling it on CraigsList or eBay.  Before listing, research the cost of furniture like yours and price accordingly.  Be sure to specify in your ad how you want the couch collected and let potential buyers know its size and approximate weight. You might also try consigning the item at a local thrift store.

Furniture freebie: give it away

If it’s still usable, consider donating your old couch to a charity like Goodwill or any local thrift shop. Or, check with your local school drama department or community theater; they might appreciate the prop. Freecycle is a non-profit sharing/recycling website and one of the best places to list items for no charge. Sometimes you can even score a tax deduction for a furniture donation.

free couch with slip cover

image: Thirteen of Clubs


Your drab old Davenport needn’t end up in a landfill. Consider your options: You could renovate it. You could sell it. You could give it away for free. Whatever you do, don’t give up on your living room pal; find your couch a creative new purpose, and you — or someone else — will reap the benefits.

Your old couch?

So, which direction have you taken with your old couch? Re-invention or out to pasture?

What creative ways have you undertaken to put an old couch, or any piece of vintage furniture, to a new use?

Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.