Settee: DIY Upholstery Project

Been busy here! How about you? I hope you are well and enjoying summer. It is up and down here lately but mostly good. We count it all as joy right?

settee before after

I thought I’d share our most recent diy upholstery project. A couple weeks ago, Jeff picked up this old settee. It was one of his on-a-whim purchases and I groaned a bit. Kind of like the way I groaned when my fabulous red adirondack chairs arrived in all their pre-red grungy glory. At first glance this settee looks like a hot mess. Dirty and ugly. Not to mention the scratchy 1970’s fabric. And the dust! But after giving it a closer look it turned out to have a solid (walnut?) wood frame with hand-tied springs and sturdy construction. Probably dates to the early 1900’s based on our quick googling. As an added benefit, it had no cushions which meant changing the fabric would be a very basic upholstery stapling job. Rip off the old and staple on the new!

old couch new couch

So off we went. Jeff ripped off the old fabric for which I was grateful. I’m a little prissy about that sort of grime.

diy couch upholstery

settee reupholstery

All projects turn into family projects around here. Even the baby supervises this diy upholstery project. With no pants on. Ahem.

old couch reupholstery

We found lots of different fabrics underneath. The green brocade peaking through on the photo below was the original. Very Victorian.

couch before after

While Jeff was peeling the old fabric layers off, I got busy choosing the new: a white and chartreuse green Greek key print for the seat and seat back, a matching green velvet for the inside of the arms, and coffee sacks for the outside parts.

furniture upholstery before

Yep. Recycled coffee sack settee (thanks to our friend at local coffee shop, Bald Guy Brew). This project was old-made-new in more ways than one!

greek key fabric

The seat was first to get new fabric. And then the back rest.

DIY upholstery

This next photos will help show what I meant by “simple stapling job”. All I needed to do was tuck the fabric through to the back and sides and then staple the fabric right into the wood frame along the front edge and back behind. Pulling tight and even was key. The staples in front will get covered by trim later. And the ones at sides and back will get covered by the outer pieces of fabric (coffee sacks in my case).

upholstery do it yourself

settee before after

We left the old brocade and striped fabric on the arms as it was in fine shape and the new fabric could go right over top.

Love the touch of green velvet that went on next.

green velvet couch

Finally the outer arms and back.

coffee sack upholstery

coffee sack settee

I can’t decide which part of this settee that I like best. The curves of the old wood frame, the new green fabrics, or the old coffee sacks. Or the final addition of nailhead trim.

diy nailhead trim


do it yourself nailhead trim

You really can’t go wrong with nailhead trim.

nailhead trim how to

nailhead trim greek key

 Actually my favorite was probably the process of transforming it. And doing it outside.

couch before after

While working, I didn’t miss seeing this:

coffee sack upholstery

And this:

coffee sack upholstery

coffee sack racing


coffee sack racing

sack races


And the most fabulous of all…a bit of God’s handiwork: