Reupholster my Piggybank: Saving money the Toolerant way!

My name is Meredith. I’m a middle-aged housewife who likes to stay busy while the kids are at school.

I’m not always very handy around the house, but I like to take on DIY projects. One of my latest ventures is refinishing old furniture. I love taking old pieces of furniture and fixing them up to add to my home.

Planning Phase

When I was out doing my weekly rounds of the local antique stores, I ran across an old 1920’s couch. It was in beautiful shape, but the upholstery was completely gone. I was able to get the couch for a steal, but paying someone to reupholster it was going to be fairly costly, so I decided to do it myself. With a little research and few basic tools, I began thinking that I could take this one.

I did a quick run to my local hardware store to pick up some basic tools. I purchased a staple gun, needle-nosed pliers, a hammer, fabric scissors, and upholstery staples. I also went to an upholstery shop and picked up the fabric that I wanted to recover the couch.

Let’s Start!

White genuine leather classical style sofa in vintage room

The first step of the project was taking off the old fabric. All of the pieces had been attached to the solid wood frame with staples and many of those staples were rusty. I was able to use the needle-nosed pliers to remove most of them, although it was the most time-consuming part of the project. As I began removing the staples, each panel of fabric would also come off. I saved the pieces of fabric and also took pictures of the couch throughout the process so that I would remember the order and placement of each piece. After I was done taking off the fabric pieces, I used the old panels as a pattern for my new fabric. Since I hadn’t upholstered a couch before, I made sure to give myself a little extra fabric in case of mistakes. Using my pictures as a reference, I began stapling the pieces back onto the frame. I realized fairly early on in the process, that my upholstery staples were not long enough. I had to return to the store and get a larger size. This wasn’t a problem, but did add onto my overall time.

Surprisingly, adding the pieces onto the frame was a fairly easy process. It took much less time than removing each piece, and I made sure to move slowly and double-check before adding any staples. When I did put a piece in the wrong place, it was fairly easy to remove the staples and fix the mistake. It took me about 3 days to complete the entire project, but adding the pieces onto the couch was only about a day of work.


This was a great project to take on. Not only did it save me hundreds of dollars in labor, I also feel much more confidence purchasing old furniture and refinishing it. In addition, I’ve started helping my friends with their projects related to furniture and upholster. Overall, I would highly recommend this project. I may seem daunting to reupholster a couch, but if you’re willing to put in the time, it’s a very manageable project and also a lot of fun! I was able to enjoy the couch I loved with brand-new fabric that I picked out.

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Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and confidence in your abilities, to take on a rather daunting task. This is especially true for DIY projects. But if you want big returns, you have to throw yourself in the ring so to speak. There is no way around it. Otherwise, there is no chance you will ever grow. Sure, you will fail at first, but if you are able to pick yourself up, you’ll be able to power through the project. In Merediths case, she was able to save quite a bit of money! But it doesn’t matter what your motivation is: Stay true to the toolerant way…and just do it!


Ryan Wilford[clear]