Quick Fix for Tired Sofa Cushions

I’ve been working with a local client with a very tired sofa.  You see, she has four children, and the family room sofa has been supporting this family of six for more than a few years:

sofa cushion fix


We are working within a budget – and who isn’t??  Rather than purchasing a new sofa that will be getting some continued abuse use, I’d rather she spend her money on new upholstered chairs and accessories that will breathe new life into the living room.  Her mother-in-law sews, so I suggested adding tufted buttons in order to 1) tighten up the tired back cushions and 2) to update the style of the sofa.  Here’s how it turned out:

sofa update with tufting

sofa with button-tufted cushions after


I know the sofa color looks different in the after photos, but it’s been moved to a different place in the room and the light was hitting it (more about how light affects your perception of color in this post). This update took under an hour, for only the price of the buttons and an upholstery needle!!!  It doesn’t even look like the same sofa.  Click here for a quick tutorial for tufting a cushion.  

sofa cushion tufting fix

button tufting sofa hack


With the money she saved by keeping this sofa a few more years, we found a fabulous pair of upholstered chairs for her family room.  I’ll show you the whole space when the whole project is completed.



Would you ever try something like this?  I’d love to hear if you have other ideas for perking up a sad sofa!

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38 thoughts on “Quick Fix for Tired Sofa Cushions

  1. ange says:

    What a great idea! I love that you used what she had and just changed it up a bit. So often I think people don’t have a large amount of money to spend and so they decide that they can’t do anything in their home until they can afford to buy all new stuff. That couch looks great now and I can’t wait to see the rest of the room! Fabulous as always Kristie!!!

  2. Holly says:

    that’s a great creative idea! My sofa has five loose pillows as its back (what was I thinking?), which makes it difficult to add accent pillows.

    wondering if I could button tuft them to tighten them up….

  3. CambridgeCat says:

    That’s a great idea! It really does look much tidier. I have 2 boys and everything in my house has to pass the “destruction” test before purchased. 😉

  4. Wendy says:

    My husband and I had a cheap sad sofa in college. I bought a pottery barn slipcover (bright red! remember those days?) on ebay, and we used some foam from the craft store (and duct tape!) to build up the sofa to look nice in the slip cover. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked and looked nice until we could afford a decent sofa.

  5. ~Syl says:

    I have the same problem but with my pets! The small dog takes the high ground and has flattened the top and the bottom is used by the German Shepherd. I’m not willing to dish out extra cash to have the same thing happen while we still have these kids!!! Yes our dogs are just a bit spoiled but no one else uses the couch! I wonder why?!?! Any help for a flattened top????

  6. Kari says:

    I am in the same situation. My bottom cushion, one long one, is so sad and stained. I have just enough fabric left to reupholster it. I am lucky to have a great resource for affordable reupholstering. It will help me make it through the last years of teen-hood at my home. I am all for repairing something instead of replacing. We have become such a throwaway society, and look where that has gotten us. I think it’s time to go back to the way our grandparents lived. They were on to something 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this, such a great transformation!

  7. Ally says:

    I love this idea! Recently I got a new dog and he chewed up my $600 couch (I’ve only had it 3 years) I could have went and bought a couch from a thrift store, but I just felt like I couldnt give up on this guy yet. While not as cheap as your idea, I ordered a great sofa cover on overstock.com. So for $60 my couch looks good as new.

    I also have another couch thats microfiber that I had gotten from a thrift store, it was pretty stained but other wise in great condition. It was a reclining couch with cup holders for $40. I used this link: http://chrisandrobinsnest.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-clean-microfiber-furniture.html And it was amazing, the couch looks good as new!!!

  8. 'Charlie' says:

    I’ve been thinking about doing this, my loose back are smoosh back because of my dog.. Thank you for this post, now I know it really will work !!!! I really enjoy following your posts.

  9. Cyndia says:

    Wow, that really looks great! I also like to fluff up the seat cushions by adding more batting to the seat foam. A little spray adhesive and the seats look fuller and nicer!

    • Jean says:

      Cyndia: Did you have to take the cushion out of the zippered cover to add more batting to the seat foam? I always wondered if it was possible to add more filling, but I am afraid I would never be able to get the cushion back into the cover! What is your trick?

  10. jeannie casey says:

    I like the undertone of the blue you selected for the pillows and paint on the wall
    it really brightens the tired color of the sofa to look bright AGAIN.

  11. kelly says:

    What a great idea! This idea should help a lot of people. I love how the lighting brightens up the fabric also. Can’t wait to see the upholstered chairs!

  12. amanda gates says:

    Great transformation. I’m not a tufter….even had an upholstery internship in school, but I found it was not my talent. Great job!

    On a side note-look into Hot Yoga plus. They have a studio next door to the brentwood post office. Most of their classes are not hot and they offer many power classes. See you there!

  13. debbi in Texas says:

    That tufting idea is a fantastic update. Even a non-sew-er can thread a needle and add a few buttons. I love the fabric on those new chairs; will be interested to find out about those. thanks for the post

  14. Linda says:

    Any clever fixes for a sofa that is very close in style to the one shown except the cushions are attached
    about 3/4 of the way down the back of the cushions?? I think your fix is awesome…client must have been thrilled…I know I would be

  15. Suzette says:

    I have a good denim sofa, meaning relatively new and not cheap. The bottom cushions are firm and stay nice. The top cushions look like your “before” pics after my husband and kids have slouched in them. I was thinking of getting firmer foam inserts for the slipcovers–this looks like it might be an interesting (who ever sees a tufted denim sofa?) alternative. Or would it be too weird looking in denim? I love your “after.” Good eye! Suzette

  16. jan klein says:

    Wow, is this timely! I just had to walk away from re-upholstering my sofa, because my taste in fabric is just too expensive. What a great idea! I love my sofa & don’t want to get a new b/c I absolutely love my sofa. This could be the answer until I can really afford the fabric that I want. Thank you!

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