How much does it cost to reupholster a couch?

Repair or replace? Once you know the cost to reupholster a couch you can decide whether or not to salvage your sofa.

A light-colored living room with L-shaped sofa with dining table
(Image credit: Dunelm)

Spotting sofa damage can be upsetting. But, knowing the cost to reupholster a couch can manage your expectations on whether to fix your furniture or replace it altogether. By pricing up the fabric and labor involved you can be better prepared to know whether to put a downpayment on a new purchase (and ditch the old one) or give your existing chair some TLC.

While most of the best sofas have a guarantee or warranty for damage, we're sure you've experienced trying to do the admin for an insurance claim... And that's if your accident is covered under the policy. If it's just a slither of fabric that's gone astray - you might seek to sort of the issue yourself.

Of course, there are many variables that might affect the cost to reupholster a sofa. Materials like leather or suede for one might be more expensive to source than cotton or velvet. That's the outer covering sorted, but it's what's on the inside that counts too. So it's important to inspect the internal layers and condition which could add extra expenditure.

The cost to reupholster a couch

'Sofas cost between $500 and $4500 to reupholster.' says Anderson Gibbons, VP of marketing, Revolution Fabrics.

'The average cost of reupholstering a sofa is $1800. This includes your new fabric cost and labor costs associated with reupholstering. Usually, fabric ranges from $10-$70 a yard with labor costs ranging from $40-$100 per hour. If you need to refresh your sofa, reupholstery is the way to go.'

It is worth it to reupholster a couch?

A cow-print sofa with accompanying armchair in living room

(Image credit: DFS)

'Yes, It is always worth reupholstering your furniture if your frame isn't broken or damaged. You support local workroom professionals and save potentially perfect furniture from a landfill. This is a more sustainable approach to furniture than buying new every time your fabric is damaged or worn out.' says Anderson Gibbons, VP of marketing at Revolution Fabrics.

'The best way to know if your sofa is worth reupholstering is to talk to a local upholsterer near you. They can best evaluate if your furniture is worth saving or if it’s time to buy a completely new sofa.'

'Ask the upholsterer to quote the reupholstery job and then cross-reference the reupholstery quote with what your sofa would be to purchase new. When it’s cheaper to reupholster, it's worth reupholstering. That's how you know if it's worth reupholstering your existing sofa or to buy a new one.'

Factors affecting the cost of reupholstering a couch

Sofas come in all shapes and sizes, from L-shaped suites romantic loveseats and the best sofa beds, when posing the question 'how much does it cost to reupholster a couch?', it can be like asking 'how long is a piece of string?'

However, there are some factors that can make it easier to price up. Here Mike Fairman, CEO of Checkatradegives us an idea of what can influence the total bill.

  • Size of furniture – A wooden dining chair with a padded cushion will cost significantly less to completely upholster than a three-seater sofa.
  • Type of furniture – An antique Regency armchair with craftsmanship dating back over 200 years may prove to be a more complex job than a 1970s piano stool.
  • Type of fabric – Italian leather will always be more expensive than white cotton, and for faithful restorations, it may be that original fabric will need to be sourced, all of which impacts the price you’ll pay.
  • State of the furniture – If your piece is structurally sound and you just want a new look, then this will cost less than if your chair or sofa requires spring, castor, or wood repairs before the reupholstering can begin.

Can I reupholster my sofa myself?

'Reupholstering a couch is a big job, but it's definitely something you can tackle yourself,' says Dori Turner, Real Homes blogger.

'Start by choosing a fabric that will hold up to everyday wear and tear. Instead of removing all of the old fabric at once, I recommend working in sections. Remove one section of fabric at a time and use the old fabric to make a pattern for the new fabric, cutting the new fabric an inch to two inches bigger around to make sure there's enough to cover. Use a staple gun to attach the new fabric to the base of the couch.'

'For the cushions, you can again use the old fabric to help measure and create a pattern for the new material. I recommend adding a zipper to the back of the cushion covers so they can easily be removed and washed should they get dirty.' 

'If you want to add some interest, add cording around the cushions and on the arms of the chairs. You can make the cording yourself by cutting strips of your fabric, wrapping it around cotton cording, and sewing it together or you can purchase pre-made cording in a complementary color to your fabric and sew it to your cushions.'

What other costs are involved in reupholstering a couch?

'Reupholstery rarely involves just the cost of the fabric and with your furniture being stripped down it’s the perfect time to also fix the interior and framing.' says Fairman.

This includes:

  • Replacing damaged springs
  • Re-webbing sagging springs
  • Replacing padding
  • Frame repair or modifications
  • Refinishing and mold mitigation
  • Transportation costs

'You should ideally budget 20-25% extra for these items as it’s not always possible to see how damaged a sofa is until it’s been stripped down and some essential repair work may be required.'

Why reupholster a sofa instead of buying new?

'You will almost certainly be able to find a new sofa or chair that’s cheaper than upholstering your old one,' says Fairman.

'However, that will be reflected in the cheap quality of the new furniture. Reupholstery is only worthwhile for furniture that is well made, as poorly made furniture tends to have low-quality frames and interiors which will be unlikely to last in the long term.'

'Reupholstering furniture gives you more freedom to create new styles for your home and can be achieved quicker than the time it takes to have a new made-to-order sofa delivered.'

'You’ll even be helping the environment as the old furniture won’t need to be sent to a landfill and fewer emissions will be generated than making a brand new sofa.'

How much does it cost to reupholster a leather sofa?

Furniture Village Alexander and James Brixton 4 Seater brown Leather Sofa, £2295, Toldeo Lamp Table, £159, Sona Tripod Lamp, £99, Varrick Rug, £499

(Image credit: Furniture Village)

Even the best leather sofas, are susceptible to tears. You have to remember that leather is made from animal skin, and being a natural product, it can age over time and needs to be moisturized. But even with the best care, mishaps and misfortune can happen.

'The price to reupholster a leather sofa costs $600-$4500, depending on the size and cushion types. Leather loveseats will be less expensive than larger multi-piece sectionals. The quality of leather also matters. High-end leather will cost you $200-$750 per hide.' says Gibbons.

'Real leather is durable, strong, and should last 5-25 years on the sofa. Faux leather is a cheaper way to avoid the added costs of real and high-end leather but doesn’t hold up as well. Faux leather is known to “delaminate” or “peel”.'

'It’s best to consult an upholstery professional before ordering leather hides for your sofa reupholstery. They’ll be able to tell you the exact amount of hides needed, and costs, to reupholster your leather sofa.'

When reupholstering a sofa isn’t the right decision

'If you bought your furniture brand new and it was not too expensive then I would bet my favorite hammer that reupholstering isn’t a good option for you,' says Richardson.

'Why? Because the quality of the frame and interiors (the padding or stuffing) would likely be of a quality that, no matter how much money you spent, it would still be a flimsy sofa with a very short life expectancy. A good deal of modern furniture is never intended to last a long time and, sadly, it’s part of our ‘throwaway’ society today.'

'But that’s a different topic entirely and one I’m passionate about so I’d better not start on this now! However, if your modern sofa is of good quality and solid, but the covers are worn thin, and the foam is showing underneath, it will be worth your while getting the item reupholstered.'

'You do need to be prepared to spend money on it – but when you do, that sofa will last a long, long time. It could become the family heirloom your great, great – even great! –  Grandchildren look at fondly and remember you when they do.'

'If there is a pattern on the fabric, you may require more meterage to pattern match. Additionally, fabrics used to cover modern furniture needs to be treated with Fire Retardant – so if it isn’t already that will need to be factored into your budget.'

Christina Chrysostomou
Acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket. I'm the in-house appliances expert and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.