Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Week - Couch Refinish


I am tying this into green week by using the theme use what you have or use used. My husband is a Biologist with an emphasis in ecology, and he could go on for hours about this being the key to being green. As I am sure most of you aren't here for a Ecology lecture, we will move to the couch.

When I was at the thrift store last month I spotted this couch. I am not quite sure what the guy standing next to it thought of me when he heard me tell my little girl, "look Bethany it is perfect, we have to get that couch! I have been wanting a new couch and this one is just simply perfect!" To my credit, I have been wanting a new couch, but haven't been able to justify it. Our present couches were in good condition as well as, but just look at this beauty? Can't you just see what it could become? I get excited looking at it again.

When I texted a picture of it to my husband to get his approval before I purchased such a large piece of furniture, he simply replied back, "those cushions can't go in the house". So... I purchased it knowing I would have to start the cushions from scratch. I have to tell you what I paid for it... just 20$.

I got right to work! My husband is amazingly supportive, and he has a mathematical mind. He can't ever see where I am going with a project, or understand how I can see the end result, but he is 100% there to help. He is a huge part of the reason I can finish the projects I start. I can give him measurements or a problem to solve, and he can always figure it out. For this couch he was a huge help!

We started by stripping, priming, painting, sanding and lacquering the wood frame just like you have seen others do. Before the lacquer coat, I sanded the couch in spots to give it the worn and antique look that I am a huge fan of. Erica did a absolute wonderful job with her dresser, and in her post she explains how to get this look.



In a google image search, I typed in 'couch', and found a thousand results. I was trying to decide what kind of cushions I wanted. With a thousand images, there were also a thousand ways for the cushions to look. I really liked the 2 cushions on top and one on the bottom, and felt that it would go really well with the style I was trying to achieve. I also watched a couple youtube videos on how to make new couch cushions. After a night of research, I felt like a professional, and was ready to move to the next step.

My husband and I went to Joanne's to find some cushions. I am sure we were quite the sight! We laid all the cushions out along the back isle, and sat on all of them. It looked like a reenactment of the 3 little bears, "This one is to hard, this one is to soft." We went with a 3 inch high density foam for the back of the couch and a 5 inch high density foam for the bottom of the couch. I also ordered a 1 inch medium density foam online, to wrap around the high density foam. The medium density foam is to give the edges a nice round look, as well as give a little more squish and softness to the couch. We cut the foam to fit the couch using a very large knife, and then wrapped the 1 inch foam around it, and used spray glue to keep it in place.

Testing our foam choice
Wrapping the bottom cushion with the one inch foam

Foam was much more expensive than I had thought, but when it comes to comparing to the cost of purchasing a new couch, it was actually quite inexpensive. I spent close to $130 on foam. (Tip= make sure the foam is on sale if you are purchasing it at Jo-Ann's. I got my foam on a 50% sale plus I used a 20% off your total purchase coupon.)

To be honest, I was least looking forward to putting together the fabric to go around the cushion. When figuring out how much fabric I needed and how it needed to be cut, both my husband and I had quite the brain cramp. I am sure all of you that sew and craft can relate to this feeling. The day I was planning on plunging in my sewing machine, I came across this tutorial on making pillows. It was perfect! I sewed the covers following this tutorial and then boxed my corners like you would a purse. I measured how much I needed to fold in to give it a box shape and then sewed them up.

I used 5 1/2 yards of material to cover the couch. This is a picture of my scraps, pretty amazing right? I told my husband I wanted to maximize my material by using as few seams as possible. If you have any questions on how we laid it out and want some more of the nitty gritty details, email me (thepolkadotumbrella(at)gmx(dot)com), and I will be happy to give you my how to.

Here is my end result. I am unbelievably happy with the way it turned out!!


This couch is my second favorite piece in the living room. Now I have to also show my first.

My brother (Erica's husband) drew this. I know right, amazing!! I asked him to draw the picture of the Tree Of Life Vision but with a few different depictions that you don't see in most drawings of this story. When I received it, he did a much more elaborate and spectacular job then what I had asked him to do. I love this piece and had to share.

Are you inspired? I hope so. Start browsing through the couch section when you go to the thrift store. I am not quite sure if I will be able to pay full price for a new couch after this experience. You might be surprised by what you can come across.

25 comments:

Connie the crafterbug said...

You did an awesome job on your couch! I am inspired! I have two chairs that have cushions that I want to cover,but I am not sure how to do the box pillow look like yours.
If you ever do a tutorial keep me in mind.
By the way I love the artwork he did of the tree of life. you should submit a copy to the Ensign or something.

Robin said...

WOW!! That is such a dramatic (and GREAT) difference. You did an amazing job. I love those bold colors.

Heather said...

that couch is awesome jen, great job! and that painting - wow, he is really talented!

Emily said...

I love your fabric choice! The couch looks so good. Okay, I'm going to start looking for wooden framed couches now.

Natalie said...

NO WAY!!! Right before I came here, I was searching Craigslists for "wood couch" looking for something exactly like this! I saw one in our Goodwill the other week for $175 and it was sadder looking than your before! You did incredible! I'm a new follower b/c I just love your style! Would love it if you came and visited sometime!

Elissa said...

Your couch is so beautiful!

Jodee said...

SOO cute! I LOVE IT! Your creativity amazes me!

Christine said...

love this couch! the red is so awesome

Kami said...

Jenni I love how the couch turned out! Great Job!! :)

Kathy@ Gone North said...

Great transformation!!!
How fun & whimsical!! Nice job!

Jacqueline said...

Love the fabric choice and I really like the color choice....it came out so fun and bright!

Leigh the sewing diva said...

wow that is stunning! just found your blog via a linky party and so glad i did! count me in as your newest follower!

MiriamR said...

I LOVE this!! Were the cushions difficult? I can sew a little but I am wondering if I should get some more experience sewing before taking a project like this on? It is beautiful. I love the color and fabric choice.

The Autocrat: Haley said...

Oh my!! I love the red!

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for your comments!! No, the cushions aren't hard at all. I think the most difficult is figuring out the size. You want to measure your foam out and minus 1/2 inch all the way around on each piece and that is giving you 1/4 inch seam allowance. This is so it fits snug. Then you just sew it up like a pillow. Super easy sewing. Before I sewed my box corners I put it on the cushion and then had to minus a bit on each seam to make sure it fit snug. The cushion cover sewing is very simple! If you are just re-covering a cushion just cut the old cover into each pieced section, lay it out as a pattern and add your 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Stella said...

Love the red frame on the couch. My favorite color but I never would have thought to paint my couch that color. Great job!

Michelle Vandepol said...

it is so beautiful!

~Adina said...

I LOVE this couch! And that fabric is fabulous.. where did you find it??

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

I didn't think anyone could make one of those kinds of sofas look good but YOU DID! I think it's darling! The red and flowers is just perfect. Way to go!!!!

Meg and Joe said...

Amazing. It looks awesome. Talented you are.

Jill @ Women Who Do It All said...

Wow, what a difference. It's so bright and cheerful!

Brittney said...

SO, SO, cute!! Love the brightness and whimsical feel it has. I've gotta find me something like that! I am surprised how expensive the foam is too. Fantastic job!!

liZ evans said...

I was freaking out when I saw this on the kojo blog...I have the exact same couch!
My husbands grandma gave it to us this summer---with the original orange cushions still on it!!!
I like the style but the colors had to go---I painted my set (she gave us the matching end and coffee tables as well) red and green.
However, they are still in the basement because I haven't dared attempt the cushions yet...

museumgirl said...

Wow, I just bought an almost identical loveseat yesterday! (I paid $40, so you got a better deal!) I removed the little "wings" on the side, to make it more modern, and it is currently waiting its sanding and painting. Yours looks great, I hope mine comes out well, too! I can't describe MY husband's reaction when he first saw it with the orange plaid fabric!!

Foam-By-Mail said...

Foam for back cushions can often be softer than the ones you sit on, because they don't have to support the same amount of weight. Keeping this in mind, you can sometimes save a little money going with a less firm material for backing.