before and after

before & after: tiffany’s couch (and weeder’s digest note)

by Grace Bonney

well hello, beautiful sofa. d*s reader tiffany from lubbock texas bought this couch for $20 on craigslist. she decided to reupholster it herself using clearance fabric ($3 a yard!), a staple gun, paint and some new padding. the result? a brand new, gorgeous sofa. the color is so rich and the final result is so chic- well done, tiffany!

[have a before & after you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your images!]

[UPDATE: minor internet issues here today- sarah’s weeder’s digest post will be up tomorrow. sorry for the delay on my part]


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  • What an amazing transformation! The fabric goes so well with the shape of the couch! I can’t imagine that it was just a little stapling fun to recover, Tiffany has talent!

  • I Just adore these posts about re-doing things! What a great way to recycle and have a fun filling project. I am going to do a post on my blog about it tomorrow!
    -Angela Muir

  • well done!! It looks gorgeous, and I love how she painted the frame white, and that the multi cushions are now singles, modernized and chic!

  • this looks fantastic! when i saw the before i thought “what could she possibly do to save this sofa?!?”

    fantastic job! one of my favourite before and afters in a long time.

  • Wow! That looks great, I love how the couch went from something so drab to something that is so classy and chic! I love this, you did a really great job!

  • OMGosh! Unbelievable transformation! Oh yes…well done Tiffany!

    But honestly, Grace… all these great before & afters have me feelin’ MIGHTY lazy! Inspired…but still lazy. Oy veh!

  • ok I have a very similar piece in my basement – along with a matching chair – that needs Tiffany’s skills.

  • Incredible job! Most people would look at that couch and say, “Garbage. Toss it.”

    I really like the idea of revamping sagging, shabby items and fixing up the stuff one’s already got. I think most people don’t have the talent or patience or drive to tackle something like that though, so bravo to Tiffany!

    Also, one of the difficulties I have is that I live in an apartment in NY, which makes big DIY jobs like that really hard to pull off. But I really get off on seeing other people’s projects!

  • Fabulous job Tiffany! And you’re a Lubbockite, too! Did you buy the fabric locally then? If so, can I ask which of our limited stores did you find it?

  • Absolutely gorgeous! But I notice that you either put all the cushions together when you recovered them or upholstered over everything??? I have a similar couch…how did you pull it off? I am sooooooo inspired!

  • Thanks so much guys for all your wonderful comments!! With such a success on my first attempt, I am dying to do another!

    To my fellow lubbockians: hello! The clearance fabric I got was from JoAnns Fabrics (on Slide & 82nd)! I found it in the outdoor fabrics aisle, where they seem to have a lot on clearance.

    To Lisa h: I don’t have a lot of room either in my apartment! I guess that kind of gave me more motivation to finish quickly as I definitely need the room!

    To those wanting to start this…..Just do it!! I am not a designer and have never taken any classes. All I did was do a little…and when I say alittle, I mean VERY LITTLE research on reupholstery and just got a few tips. I have basic sewing skills which helped, but other than that, it was just painting and stapling!

    -Take the old fabric off CAREFULLY and put it aside and KEEP IT (you will use it later as a pattern for new fabric)
    -when stapling new fabric to frame, always start in the middle (while pulling taut) and work your way out (This ensures no wrinkles and a perfect fit)
    -Also, get a good staple gun! Your hands will thank you!

    If you have any questions, email me at: tchan87@hellokitty.com

  • I miss Lubbock – i’m a tech alum & I LOVE the sofa tiffany. Great print and extremely nice job for your first try!

  • Wow, I can’t believe all of the Lubbockites here!(me too)!
    Tiffany– great job, and I’m definitely going to have to check out that JoAnns. If you’re doing other projects like this, maybe you could sell/consign to some of the places in town– Depot District, or elsewhere?

  • To Christie: I did not push all the old cusions together, I just tossed them! I was kind of disgusted by them actually, and so I was set on getting new ones. When thinking about how I was going to cover them, I realized, I dont HAVE to do it exactly the same. The one long cushion was actually the “easier” route, but came out looking better than expected! Same with the back part….threw away old padding. It might sound like a lot, but we stripped the couch to its bare wooden frame, and added ALL new padding everywhere! Thats where most of the cost was in this project, but well worth it as I feel much more comfortable sitting/sleeping on it :) I know it sounds like difficult, but it was really easy…just took a while.

  • ack! stop with all these amazing transformations… my husband doesn’t want anymore furniture in my house! but now i have the urge to find a cheap couch and make it over!

  • Hi Tiffany (thanks for joining the discussion in the comments)

    I really want to do something like this. I’ve spent days on clist trying to find the right thing, and well, it’s just not there. I know the only way to have a couch i am going to love is to make it myself.

    Anyway, I’m curious about this whole padding replacement business. Where does one buy padding? How did you know how much to get? How much does it run, usually? I’m so excited but so intimidated to do this. Tiny apartment, like yourself…

    Also, how much fabric did you buy, yard wise?

    Thank you for your help and inspiration! I couldn’t even dream of doing this project without people like you


  • This is amazing. I love that you abandoned the original shape and came up with something far superior. Could you tell us what type of material you used for the new cushion and padding?

  • To Miss Fae and Wendy: The padding I bought (at JoAnns) its called “Nu-Foam”) Its really cool, and easier and safer to work with than regular foam. Its a little less expensive too :) The thickness I used for the seat cushion was 2 inches, and the rest was 1 inch. I just measured the seat and bought padding according to that measure. (THere is a lot of measuring to be done before you go to the fabric shop!) The padding cost about 11.99/yard and I bought probably 5 yards of that. The padding is just stapled to the wooden frame with a gun.

    The fabric is a thick home decor type fabric (found in the outdoor fabric section lol), and I used almost all of my 8 1/2 yards of that. Try to find something on sale! It would have cost so much if I paid regular price, but luckily it was only 3 bucks a yard! $26 total for all the fabric!!

    Hope that answers some questions!!

    Tiffany :)

  • I am from Lubbock and also in nursing school. Wow, I am so impressed with this project of yours!! Love your etsy shop too! :) Do you make custom stethescope covers??

  • Awesome transformation! It is just blowing my mind that there are so many Lubbockites reading Design*Sponge and I thought I was the only one! So I just wanna say “Hey Y’all and go DIY-ing in the LBK!”

  • Lol I love how half the comments are shocked reaction that such a thing could come from Lubbock. I lived there for a few years. I’m shocked too… :p

  • Haha! You run out of different things to do in Lubbock…..so this project was just somethig to do!! I think it’s hilarious…all this Lubbock-ness here! hey at least it’s good to know west Texas takes interest in the world of all things design!!

  • Good work, Tiffany! I went to Tech and my husband’s from Lubbock… We sang the old song “Happiness is Lubbock, Texas in my Rearview Mirror” when we left, but had lots of great times there. It’s a place fully stocked with wonderful people.

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