DIY Projects

DIY Project: Couch Makeover

November 5, 2017

For several years, my husband and I were using his old couch as a bed. It could be folded out and was pretty comfortable, but we yearned for a real bed. After we build our dream bed from scratch a couple of years ago, the couch no longer had to serve as a bed for us.  We continued using it as a couch since it was so comfortable and practical to have, but it was in no way pretty to look at. The original cover was so worn out that I had to throw it away. During the day I covered it in a blanket, which would slide around when you would sit down on it.

I am always looking for ways to improve my home, so the couch wasn’t leaving me any peace. After some brain-racking and planning, I came up with a way to transform it’s look entirely while keeping it’s functionality. The results of this DIY project are pretty mindblowing – it’s quite hard to believe that this is the same couch.

Here is how we did it:

Materials & tools needed

  • enough lumber to make wooden boxes for the armrests
  • long, flat piece of lumber for the front piece
  • two pieces of lumber that are going to be the connecting beams between the armrests
  • thin plates of upholstery foam for the armrests & the front piece
  • thick plates of upholstery foam for the cushions (we used a mattress that we cut into pieces)
  • cotton fleece to cover the armrests, the front piece and the foam for the cushions
  • upholstery fabric
  • zippers
  • upholstery spray adhesive
  • sewing machine, thread
  • screw driver, screws, flat mending plates & angle brackets
  • staple gun, staples


Step 1 – Calculating the right dimensions & sawing lumber

First, I calculated the necessary dimensions that we needed our pieces of lumber to be in order to fit our old sofa. We then went to our local hardware store, bought the lumber and got it sawn into the right dimensions using their free service there.

Step 2 – Building the armrest boxes & the front piece

Back home, we assembled the loose pieces of lumber into two boxes by screwing the pieces into each other. We left some gaps since it wasn’t essential at all that the boxes are completely solid as they were going to be covered in the end. We made the front piece out of two pieces of lumber, which we connected with several flat mending plates.

Step 3 – Foam & cotton fleece

After the wood work was done, we moved on to glueing on the upholstery foam onto the armrest boxes and the front piece. We covered the foam with cotton fleece that we held in place with staples using a stapling gun.

Step 4 – Covering the armrest & front piece in fabric

As the next step, I covered the front piece in a piece of the upholstery fabric which I attached with staples as well. I then sewed a cover for each of the armrests – making a box out of the fabric that was slightly too long for the armrest box, with the bottom left open. I stapled the loose bottom to the bottom of the armrest box to make the fabric sit nice and snug around it.

Step 5 – Connecting the pieces

We used angle brackets on each side of the front piece to attach the armrests to it. After pushing this somewhat wobbly construction into the desired final position, we placed two pieces of lumber onto the slatted bed base. Using more angle brackets, we attached the two pieces to the armrests and then to the slatted bed base by screwing from the top. At this point we could finally get a bit of an impression what the end result might look like.

Step 6 – Making the sofa cushions

To get the base for the cushions, we cut a mattress into six pieces and covered each of them in cotton fleece using upholstery spray adhesive.

Step 7 – Making box cushion covers

This was probably the hardest part of the entire project. I followed an excellent youtube tutorial to sew my box cushion covers with zippers.

Step 8 – Covering the old mattress

Because we decided to keep our old mattress as part of the couch (so that we could still fold it out and have a matress to sleep on), I had to cover it in fabric as well. This was tricky since I was almost out of fabric. I decided to only cover the parts that are sticking out by sewing pieces the upholstery fabric onto the old mattress cover. This turned out quite alright and I even had leftover fabric to make some fitting covers for two throw pillows!

This is the final result:

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