3 Steps to Save (or Resuscitate) Your Sofa Without Spending a Dime


When I go on initial design consults at the beginning of new projects, one of the problems I see THE MOST is saggy and broken down looking sofas, etc. Frequently, these furniture items are <5 years old. And they look like this or worse.

How to Revive Your Sofa Without Spending a Dime


Now look at the chocolate brown sofa below. This is the sofa in our family room, AKA the barn room (it’s undecorated, which is why I’ve never shown it to you . Can you guess the age of it?


How to Revive Your Sofa Without Spending a Dime

It’s the sofa the Handsome Husband and I bought for our started house in Nashville. He was a resident, earning the income of a waiter. We tried to buy the best quality we could, and while this is a USA-made sofa (I’d still recommend this manufacturer in a heartbeat to someone who wants quality on a limited budget) but this was not a top of the line sofa.


It cost us about $1200, which was a big stretch for us … in 2007.


Yep, that sofa is now 13-14 years old. It still looks great, even though it is still in DAILY, HARD use. It has had babies spit up on it, kids jumping all over it, & hundreds of Saturday family movie nights watched from it.


It STILL has forts made out of it on a weekly basis by my 7 and 11 year old boys, and every now and then I catch Thing 2 somersaulting over the arms.


I’ve seen Pottery Barn & Restoration Hardware sofas that cost 3 times as much and are only 3 years old look like crap. I’ve also seen better quality sofas than those look like something the cat dragged in.


So why does ours still look in such great shape?


3 Steps to Saving (or Resuscitating) Your Sofa


FLUFF, FLIP, & VACUUM, people.


1. Fluff: Almost every night, when we get up from the sofa before bed, I fluff as follows:

    • Give the back cushions a good beating, and
    • Reshape and plump up the seat cushions.
Yes, I’m hella tired at night, too. But look. It takes 30 seconds and it protects my investment and saves a big item from gorging the landfill.


2. Flip:  About 1/wk, I FLIP everything — move left to right and turn things over.

Even if you can’t switch position of things (like you have 2 “T” shaped cushions and a square one in between), you can flip them over and reshape them.


For matching chairs (because we’re also talking about chairs here), you can switch matching seat cushions and back pillows — in case one chair gets more use than the other, or someone heavier typically sits in one chair versus the other.


You rotate the tires on your car, right? And you only get a few years out them. You can get a lot longer out of your sofa cushions if you take care of them.


3. Vacuum: Ground dirt & dust are TERRIBLE for your upholstery. When I vacuum the room, I take an attachment and I give all the fabric a quick vacuum, too.


Seeing is believing. Sarah from Life on Virginia Street posted a review of her Pottery Barn sofa some time ago (she recently updated it). I mocked up the below Before-and-After to show you what I mean.


She was just reviewing the sofa, but I thought the before image AFTER ONLY 1 WEEK of not fluffing & flipping  was very telling … and she only had cats squashing those back cushions, not kids doing somersaults and jumping off the back cushions!


How to Revive Your Sofa Without Spending a Dime

There was nothing wrong with the sofa, it just needed regular care. Her pictures at the 3 year mark in the update post look great. Like I said, my barn room sofa is 14 years old!


Our upholstered furniture is some of the most expensive items in our Forever Homes; they are also some of the biggest things we put in landfills. Even a “value-budget” sofa can last you a long time if you take care of it. If you get a top-of-the-line sofa, it can totally last 20-30 years and BE WORTH recovering if you want to redecorate.


Let’s protect your investment and the environment!


Democrats and Republications can finally agree on something!




Some further reading:



Today is my 42nd birthday and the kids are home for a couple of weeks for distance learning. We knew it would probably happen sometime. Wishing you all the sanity and health possible this weekend. I’m ready for my birthday martini & sushi.


See you next week!


Home Glow Design Shop on Chairish

5 thoughts on “3 Steps to Save (or Resuscitate) Your Sofa Without Spending a Dime”

  1. “(I’d still recommend this manufacturer in a heartbeat to someone who wants quality on a limited budget)”
    I’m interested in getting a new budget friendly sofa -can you share the manufacture?

  2. Oh I know only too well the problem of squashed cushions! (As I sit in my living room/office and see my puppy sleeping on one of the back cushions!) Two-cushion sofas are worse than three-cushion.
    Your tips are great–I’m going to try them!

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