before & after: modern two-tone sofa + chair makeovers


The lines on this “before” sofa are incredible, and while the fabric is not terrible, it certainly isn’t doing the  decorative wood details any favors. Theresa inherited this sofa and decided to give it a modern spin, using two tones of fabric and a pop of yellow welting. The mix of hues is restrained and yet totally unexpected, and I think it adds the perfect amount of flare and glamour to this already-standout piece. Great work, Theresa! — Kate

Basic Steps: The couch was purchased by my great-grandmother back in the 1950s. It spent quite a long time in the attic at my grandmother’s house until my mom and I remembered it in 2009 when I moved to Leipzig (Germany) and got it refurbished. As an inspiration for colors and fabrics, my mom found a great couch from MOROSO called “My Beautiful Backside” by designers Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien. We chose the colors gray and white, with a little colorful twist using yellow round cord.

The only downside, however, was that we did not get a cost estimate. Thus, I really really adore my couch, but we probably could have found another upholsterer to do it for less. — Theresa

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Sara’s gorgeous two-tone reupholstered chair after the jump!

Mixing patterns on one upholstery piece is risky business, but like Theresa’s sofa above, this chair is a great example of how wonderful a successful marriage of different prints and colors can be. Sara worked on this chair as part of an upholstery class, but it looks far better than any class project I’ve ever completed :) The large-scale pattern is limited in all the right places, and I love how it just peeks out on the front of the arms. Fantastic work, Sara!

Time: 36 hours (completed in 4-hour increments during a 9-week upholstery class)

Cost: $250 (chair + supplies)

Basic Steps: The first step is to remove staples. Actually, the first ten steps are probably removing staples. Then I removed all the old fabric, making sure to mark where it came off the chair. I reinforced the springs, added extra padding and sewed a LOT of cording. I used the old fabric pieces as my patterns for the new pieces and carefully placed my patterns before I pinned or tacked them onto the chair. After that, it’s just a matter of sewing together and stapling everything on exactly how it came off.

My advice, if you choose to use fabric with a print, is to take time before cutting to lay out all your pieces and make sure the patterns can meet up in ways that make sense. Otherwise, no matter how great the print is, it’s just going to look messy (or you might not have enough fabric). Also, take your time and search out fabrics that you really love. Don’t be afraid to mix prints and don’t overlook the details, from the color of the legs to the color of the trim. — Sara

  1. Sara, great job on the chair, its great to see a fellow milwaukeean on here, I have been considering taking an upholstery class. It looks like i need to get on the right now

  2. Jenn says:

    It’s nice to see that you did something wonderful and saved this furniture and gave it a new design, most people just discard old furniture but if more people did this we could really reduce the amount of furniture going into the landfills. They are beautiful! You did a great job!

  3. Both of the projects are stunners but that sofa is one of the most gorgeous pieces I’ve seen in a long time! Love, love, love the color combo. It would stay clean for about a milisecond in my house with a 2 year old ;-)

  4. Great themes here the vivid colors bring joy to the eye , like your style will book mark this for future thanks.

  5. ralph says:

    amazing job. very nice taste!

  6. Julie Speed says:

    beautiful, beautiful, beautiful job on the sofa – every thing about it is right – love it

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