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Deuce Cities Henhouse

Sofa Upholstery : Before & After

DIY Box Cushion Sofa Upholstery
Hey Guys! Look, I did it! I upholstered the crap out of the sunroom sofa, and it looks so good!

I was pretty intimidated by this project but I am really glad I took a chance and went for it. This was my first ever upholstery project. Sewing does not come naturally for me, and measuring always intimidates me, so I had two good reasons to be nervous about diving into this project. It was something that had to be done though, just look at the sofa before (below) – pretty retro and not in a good way.

For those of you who don’t know. I have recently taken on the project of making the porch/sunroom off of our master bedroom a place that we actually want to hang out in. This room sold us on the house, and here we are four years later and it’s basically an eye sore that we try and avoid.

The space itself is wonderful – bright, sunny and airy. It’s downside is that it’s small and has been on the bottom of the priority list when it comes to furnishing it. When we moved we had no design direction for the room, and were in need of furniture. We purchased a few things all willy-nilly-like on craigslist. One of them being this midcentury sofa for $100 – it was the perfect size for the room so I give us credit for that. It is narrow enough to fit nicely in the room without over powering it, the downside was that it was covered in tan and blue faux leather. I always knew that I was going to reupholster it, I just didn’t think it would take me four years.

I want to make this room a place we hang out in god damn it! It’s so nice, and sunny, and wonderful, and it would probably do me well to enjoy and hour in here during these winter months. I get the winter SAD pretty bad – and they say sunlight is the best medicine for that sort of thing. I need this room in my life!

So I took a deep breath and dove in tackling the biggest project on this porch to-do list. Over the last few days I have spent time measuring and cutting out fabric, assembling, sewing, tearing apart, re-sewing and taking trips to the fabric store (*side note, where I stood in line next to Nicole Curtis!) It wasn’t easy, but I was determined to make it great, and I think I did pretty alright.

Sofa Before
Here’s that before pic I was telling you about. This is with the faux leather and striped alternating cushions. They are so gross! In lame attempt to make them a titch better, I covered these cushions in old curtains attaching them with sewing pins – that was three years ago. The kids wouldn’t even come close to the sofa because they were afraid of getting poked.

Tufted Back - DIY Sofa Upholstery
Here’s a close up – I tufted the back with three covered buttons. I love the look and I did the front and back so that we can flip and rotate the cushions to keep them happy.

Zipper Box Cushion
Holy crap, it’s my first ever zipper, you guys! So proud of it – I had to resist the urge to make instagram videos of me zipping and unzipping it. You can thank me for being strong and not doing that.

Since I had no idea what I was doing I studied the Spruce Upholstery book, supplementing that info with these two videos (here and here). I took a little knowledge from each source and was able to apply that to my box cushion making.

Future Fauxdenza Wall
This is the far wall where I will be building the future fauxdenza. The sunroom floor is slanted for drainage as this used to be an open-air porch many years ago. A regular footed credenza or side table would slope with the floor. A floating fauxdenza would easiy solve this problem. I’m planning and Ikea trip this evening and hope to get started on that in the coming days. I can’t wait! I think the function of a few cabinets combined with a ledge to add a few plants, a portable radio, and maybe even a small TV will be so great.

Looking into the Bedroom
The entire room is in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint – as you can see this four season porch/sunroom still has the original clapboard siding in light blue. Fresh white paint on the trim and siding will do a world of good in here. The painting never ends, but at least this room is small.

I also wanted you guys to see where my bedroom is in relation to this porch, can you see it back there right through the doors and windows?

Porch/Bedroom Color Story
Being that the porch is part of the bedroom I wanted the color story to stay the same. Originally I was considering white fabric for the new sofa cushions but in the end opted for dark blue as it tied in with the linens and bedding and I’ve had a thing for blue sofas for the last few months – I think a little Emily Henderson is rubbing off on me – see below.

Emily Henderson

Now that I’ve tackled the biggest project (reupholstering the sofa) I’m on to the fun stuff. Building that fauxdenza, painting, adding lighting, pillows (the pillows pictured are from the living room), a rug and new curtains. I’m so excited to get this room whipped into shape, you guys!


The Budget

Foam and Fabric
▽ Foam – $89.22
▽ Fabric – Joann (Charlotte Navy) – $137.45
Total = $226.67

▽ Welt Cord – $9.98
▽ Zipper Kit – $10.99
▽ Chalk $2.49
▽ Heavy Duty Thread – $7.96
▽ Button Covers – $3.99
▽ Batting – $11.99
▽ Upholstery Needle – $4.49
▽ Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Needles – $3.49
Total = $55.38

Grand Total = $282.05
in Around the House, DIY, Porch, Sunroom
33 comments… add one
  • Annie February 17, 2014

    Where do you recommend buying upholstery-type fabric in MSP? I have had terrible luck at JoAnn’s in Edina, and tried Ikea, only to resort to buying their curtains and cutting off the grommet top so I could use them as fabric! I love Digs’ fabric (in South Mpls), but their selection is smaller. Thanks!

    • Scoops February 17, 2014

      Hey Annie – I am no expert, but Mill End Outlet was referred to me. Funny, I purchased my fabric from JoAnn’s. I went to look at swatches in the store, and then ordered online. I was happy with the color and quality – the fabric almost perfectly matches the texture in my living room furniture. The fabric was 50% off when I purchased it, so I could resist the deal. Wish I could provide more help, maybe someone out there reading has more insight to your question, and can provide a few suggestions.

  • Stacey February 17, 2014

    Great job! Sewing is all about practice, patience, and a good seam ripper. I have a box cushion project I’ve been putting off because it’s for my husband’s ugly man-chair in the basement. Not exactly at the top of my list.

    For SAD, have you tried upping your Vitamin D? I’ve seen some recent studies that say it’s caused by Vit D deficiency, which is why sunlight helps. This is my first real winter up north (I moved to Philly from Texas 18 months ago), and I’m starting to struggle a bit. I think the D has been helping keep me from being completely bat-sh!t crazy. I have no idea how people enjoy the winter.

    • Scoops February 17, 2014

      Hi Stacey! You are so right, I felt like I was just getting in a good rhythm with my sewing machine when I was finishing up the last of my project. That’s when I decided to rip apart some other stuff and start over – it was worth it in the end. Good luck on your “ugly man chair”, I can see why it wouldn’t be at the top of your to-do.

      Yes, Vitamin D. I know, I know! My mom suggests the same thing and I am just so bad about taking the time to get some. I am my own worst enemy sometimes. I will make it a priority and stop and get some today. Thanks for your advice. The winter is easy to enjoy when the temps are above 25º otherwise it is the worst ;)

  • natalia February 17, 2014

    great job! good for you! i think it looks fabulous!

  • Erin February 17, 2014

    Amazing!! Love the blue. Emily is a beast with design, love her! And I totally love your style too, I think we have very similar taste! I just ordered my rug like your living room rug (which now appears to be in the bedroom). Can’t wait for it to arrive!!!

    • Scoops February 17, 2014

      Erin! You’re going to love your rug! I really like mine, it does shed for a bit, but just vacuum once or twice a week and you will be okay. You are right, I did switch the rugs around at the beginning of the winter – I think it might stay like this for awhile.

  • caroline [the diy nurse] February 17, 2014

    It looks so good! I love those lines. Did Nicole smell good? ;) She’s kind of my hero

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Hey Caroline! I love Nicole too, so much. I was about to even say that to her “Nicole Curtis ,I love you!” but I wimped out.

  • Paula in MN February 17, 2014

    We have a Mills End in St. Cloud but I’ve never had good luck there. I usually end up at Hancocks. The sofa looks great. I’m completely jealous about Nicole.

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Hey Paula! Thanks! I like Hancocks too, but really I am not fabric expert.

  • Lauren Sanders February 17, 2014

    Wow, that turned out beautifully. Gives an upholstery novice like myself hope that I could one day do something like this. And running into Nicole Curtis? Awesome. Love her!

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Thanks Lauren!

      This is actually my second time running into Nicole. The first time I actually walked right in to her at Target, and I just looked at her in awe with my mouth wide open.

      Also, if I can do upholster, you can do it too!

  • AnnMarie February 17, 2014

    This looks FANTASTIC! I love it! You give me hope that someday I, too, can make something this awesome. Can’t wait to see the fauxdenza!

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Yes Annmarie, you sure can. If I pulled this off, so can you. I am not so good in the sewing arts and my brain has a really hard time visualizing the “cause and effect” of sewing.

  • Shavonda@AHomeFullofColor February 17, 2014

    Oh it looks fantastic!!!! I love the navy. We are getting a navy sofa too. Went shopping for one this weekend and fell in love with a number from West Elm. Kudos to you for diying in. I cannot sew….like anything…at all so it always amazes me what people can do with a sewing machine.

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Thanks Shavonda! I’m glad you think the Navy is cool, it was kind of a spur of the moment snap decision. I am really liking it so far – good luck in your sofa hunt!

  • Jenna February 18, 2014

    LOVE this! Can’t believe you did this with basic sewing skills – so jealous! Love the navy too. Well done!! Jenna, islandbluebird.com

  • Laura February 18, 2014

    You did a wonderful job with your reupholstery! The zipper looks professional. Have you ever gone to SR Harris in Brooklyn Park,MN? Its a warehouse style fabric store. You can get upholstery fabric, zippers, leather, all really cheap.

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Hey Laura! Thanks for the tip. The next time I’m in need of fabric I’ll put SR Harris on the list.

  • meghan February 18, 2014

    Great job, it looks so much better! Okay weird but did you speak to Nichole? She is pretty neat.

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Hey Meghan! No way, I have too much anxiety to actually talk to her. I did snap a secret picture of her all paparazzi like. She totally heard my camera click and I had to pretend I was taking a picture of the candy aisle. I gotta remember to turn my phone on mute next time I try to stalk strangers.

  • Kara February 18, 2014

    Looks awesome, congrats! Good call on the navy – looks great in that room!

  • dyna February 19, 2014

    Wow! awesome job! I love reading your blog and love your home. I used to live in Minneapolis and had looked at a home similar to yours when we were house hunting. We ended up living in the suburbs (Brooklyn Park) but have since moved back to Vancouver. Thinking back, I wish we had chosen the older home which was priced just right. Anyway your home is inspiring and i love how you’ve styled. You’ll definitely get a vote from me for the Homies!

    • Scoops February 19, 2014

      Hi Dyna! Woah, it must be awesome living in Vancouver I’ve always wanted to visit. Thanks for the nice comment – totally made my day, and I appreciate the vote!

  • Hannah Buckingham-Jones February 20, 2014

    I’m very impressed with your upholstery – it looks amazing and professional! I tackled my first job a while ago and it was definitely a quick hatch job. Good on you!

    • Scoops February 21, 2014

      Thanks Hannah! It’s pretty good, I see all the flaws of course. I think I might add another layer of batting – after using it for a week I think the covers are a tad bit loose.

  • Delanicole March 18, 2014

    Gorgeous sofas, I like them all, I love the dark blue

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