Author Topic: Replace or redo couch cushions?  (Read 17374 times)

fallstoclimb

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Replace or redo couch cushions?
« on: October 07, 2014, 01:55:03 PM »
I have my parents old wooden This End Up couch and loveseat, like these:  http://www.thisendup.com/cushions/1/Classic.htm

The cushions are approximately 20 years old and are basically disintegrating under us.  They are super uncomfortable at this point because the padding is just so old.  (You could argue this is a good thing because it keeps us off the couch, but sometimes I just want to watch a movie!) To replace the whole set from the This End Up website will cost $600 -- we've been putting it off for a while, but technically could afford it now, although I'm beginning to feel like we are hemorhagging money paying for all the things we can technically afford now.  I'd like to be increasing our savings instead. 

Presumably we could get another 20 years out of new cushions though.  So since we CAN afford it, should we just order new ones, or should we attempt to fix the ones we have?  I have no idea how to do that -- I imagine put foam in and cut it....?  What kind of foam? 

Lyngi

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2014, 02:12:06 PM »
If  the frame is sound and strong, you can replace the foam cushions.    I have an 18  year old couch.  It was a floor model so they used more premium innards, and the cushions are still great.  Two years ago I bought a new couch (made by Bernhardt), within a month or so, the cushions had mashed down unevenly.  Horrible to sit on!!  Beware of buying new,  I priced out replacement cushions for the "new" couch, and it wasn't too expensive.  I have yet to buy anything, so I can't recommend a particular retailer. 

Chranstronaut

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2014, 02:18:02 PM »
Commenting to follow along.  I have a couch older than I am and am curious what people say.  We've thought about getting a stiffer/denser foam from our nearby fabric store and just sticking it under the current cushions as a stop gap measure.  The downside is it might not be all that comfortable and the foam will likely not last long without sewing a proper cover for it -- might as well make entirely new cushions at that point.

Christiana

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 02:19:49 PM »
You could try someplace like http://www.rochfordsupply.com.  They have various types and grades of foam.  They could cut all the foam pieces to size for you, if you wanted.  The cushion covers would also not be difficult to replace; there are some good upholstery and slipcovering tutorials out there.

CommonCents

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2014, 02:24:41 PM »
Consider trying it yourself.  Early in their marriage, maybe 10 years into owning a couch & two armchairs, my mom recovered the set that really needed it.  She's pretty proud her recovering has last 25+ years. 

chemgeek

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 02:45:29 PM »
Is it just the foam that's the issue or is the fabric worn out? It looks like you could get the necessary 6'' foam from that website another posted for not that much money, so recutting new cushions yourself wouldn't be that expensive.

 But if you need new covers, upholstery grade fabric is not all that cheap usually so your savings will be offset by whatever fabric you can find to remake the covers ( unless you aren't particular and use drop cloths as cheap, bulk fabric). Plus the cost of your time if you don't enjoy sewing projects. This is a pretty good tutorial with a lot of pictures (http://www.honeybearlane.com/2011/06/slipcover-progress-and-how-to-make-a-cushion-cover.html).

Hugerat

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2014, 02:58:07 PM »
I imagine a lot of replacement cushions are quite cheap, and might not be a good deal in the long run. I've replaced foam in chars with stuff I bought here a couple of years ago:

http://www.foambymail.com/

They have all sorts of grades of foam and you can check density, firmness, durability, etc. They will even custom cut some of it for you or you can do it with a sharp knife. It's pretty easy to do, but I have no idea if this is going to be cheaper than just replacing the cushions, upholstery and all.

frompa

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2014, 03:46:29 PM »
I suggest you check out the upholstery places in your nearest city.  These places can help you figure out what you need.  I've recovered upholstered dining room chairs recently, and these look pretty damn good and are quite comfortable.  About ten years ago, I made sofa cushions from upholstery foam covered with cotton batting and then covered with heavy upholstery cotton fabric.  This has held up quite well and remains a comfortable spot to sit.  Go for it!

totoro

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2014, 04:25:22 PM »
Your cheapest option is going to be high end second-hand on CL.   Unless you are attached to these ones you might just consider a replacement.  We have a non high-end but practical Ikea corner sectional with sofa-bed bought second-hand in almost new condition for 250.  We have another high-end set of sofa, loveseat and armchair for about the same.

Johnez

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2014, 05:54:54 AM »
Depending on where you live, I'd say the best bet is a local upholstery shop.  Where I used to work we'd be able to restuff your cushions for about $20-25 each (6"x24"x24") in 1.8 density foam.  That Rochford Supply site offers foam at a pretty decent price.

Melf

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2014, 06:14:52 AM »
You can also check to see if there is a fabric & foam discount store in your area.  They normally carry a variety of foam products for doing what you need to do.  Just make sure you get something with a density and thickness suitable for what you need.  You also might find a good deal on some fabric to make new covers at a decent price if you have the sewing machine and skills to make new ones.

deborah

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2014, 06:33:11 AM »
Rubber stores sell all densities of foam, in a variety of thicknesses and will cut to size without charging for any offcuts. If the cushions are OK apart from the foam, that is the path I would take (the link you gave actually has the exact sizes you will need).

However, if the covers and inserts both need replacing, you may be best replacing both pieces of furniture with new ones from CraigsList or similar, as they would probably be cheaper than full replacement cushions.

I would sew the covers after buying the foam, but I have a large stock of fabric at home, love making an individual statement (so the cushions might all be different, and it wouldn't matter if I didn't have enough of any one fabric), and have sewing skills (although sewing cushions like these is relatively simple) and equipment. Most people don't. I would also probably take the opportunity to turn the seat part into whole pieces of foam (rather than 2 or 3 separate cushions), so that if several people sit on them, no-one gets a crack to sit on.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2014, 06:37:09 AM »
It's both the cushion foam and the fabric that is shot, really. I unzipped one the other day and the foam was sort of stuck to the fabric, for reasons I couldn't fathom. They are kind of disgusting although I'm used to them.

Surprised people mentioned upholstery -- when we looked into getting a chair and ottoman re-upholstered it was super expensive, something like 600 or 800, so we ended up just stabling fabric around the chair. (It's the dogs chair now, so glad we didn't spend the money!!)

deborah

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2014, 06:51:57 AM »
As foam deteriorates it does tend to stick to the fabric surrounding it. If you were sewing the cushions yourself, I would recommend a liner material cover for the cushion as well as the actual cushion cover. This would mean that as the foam deteriorates it would stick to the liner rather than the cushion cover.

Upholstery fabric (especially remnants) is surprisingly cheap. Also, these are separate cushions (cheap and easy to replace), not attached cushions (which cost and arm and a leg to replace). Upholstery stores will have all the bits you would need, although in my experience they tend to be more expensive than other stores.

Johnez

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2014, 07:19:07 AM »
It's both the cushion foam and the fabric that is shot, really. I unzipped one the other day and the foam was sort of stuck to the fabric, for reasons I couldn't fathom. They are kind of disgusting although I'm used to them.

Surprised people mentioned upholstery -- when we looked into getting a chair and ottoman re-upholstered it was super expensive, something like 600 or 800, so we ended up just stabling fabric around the chair. (It's the dogs chair now, so glad we didn't spend the money!!)

Speaking as a former salesman and sofa builder, I'm not surprised you were surprised.  :)

There are quite a few reasons reupholstering furniture is quite expensive, often more than brand new furniture.

It all comes down to the cost of labor.  There are generally at least three different people who have to work on any given project, sometimes 4 if the frame is damaged enough to warrant carpentry.  You have the stripper who removes the fabric.  This is actually the hardest, most time consuming part of the whole job as it requires him to carefully pull out every single staple one at a time with a sort of pry bar.  Why one staple at a time?  One must preserve the patterns.  With an unfamiliar piece, the only way a shop can put it back together again is to basically reverse engineer the whole piece.  Then you have the stitcher who gets to design all the bits and pieces for it to be all back together again  All by hand, one at a time.  Depending on fabric pattern there might be lots of time and waste fabric going into making sure each side looks the same or is symmetrical.  Then you have the upholster who has the most straightforward job of everyone, who gets to tack on all the foam and fabric.  These guys all have to work in concert, or the piece will not go together well.  If it's a one man shop, this entire process takes FOREVER.  It's actually better to have one guy do it all though since he knows how it got pulled apart.

Also, materials.  Upholstery fabric isn't cheap.  If it is, count on coming back!  Just because it's only a "chair" doesn't mean it will take very little fabric or time.  Every "extra" like welting, fringe, nail heads, buttons, etc-all cost bucks.  Adding these things also costs in labor, not to mention things like deep diamond tufting, or french stitching, etc...  Add in the cost of foam, dacron, thread, it all adds up.

Maybe a bit more than you want to read, but it's truly an interesting prospect to take apart an entire piece of furniture and rebuild it from the ground up.  Fun to watch in stages.

Guses

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2014, 02:43:53 PM »
Maybe a bit more than you want to read, but it's truly an interesting prospect to take apart an entire piece of furniture and rebuild it from the ground up.  Fun to watch in stages.

But can you do it yourself? Would it be that complicated for someone that has a bit of experience sewing and tinkering?

I am thinking that a sofa of mine will need new fabric at some point in the future. Looking at whether it would be possible to change the cover only as the cushions are still ok.

deborah

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2014, 02:59:34 PM »
But can you do it yourself? Would it be that complicated for someone that has a bit of experience sewing and tinkering?

I am thinking that a sofa of mine will need new fabric at some point in the future. Looking at whether it would be possible to change the cover only as the cushions are still ok.
Depends upon what you want to do. Mum made non-attached loose covers for the lounge room suite, and the cushions sat on these, and this looked good - a few years ago this style was rather fashionable if you made them even looser and added ties to gather the fabric with bows at the back. This is easy for someone with a bit of sewing experience and took little time. Actually although doing the upholstery takes a lot of time, it is very doable if you are patient.

TrMama

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2014, 03:19:50 PM »
Maybe a bit more than you want to read, but it's truly an interesting prospect to take apart an entire piece of furniture and rebuild it from the ground up.  Fun to watch in stages.

But can you do it yourself? Would it be that complicated for someone that has a bit of experience sewing and tinkering?

I am thinking that a sofa of mine will need new fabric at some point in the future. Looking at whether it would be possible to change the cover only as the cushions are still ok.

There are also lots of tutorials for making your own slipcover. With two messy children in the house, my dream couch is actually a thrift store monster with a drop cloth slipcover that I can easily throw in the wash every time the kids spill milk on it.

No, they aren't allowed to drink milk in the living room, however it still somehow manages to jump onto the sofa from the kitchen . . .

If you do decide to do any of the recovering work yourself, save some money by removing the zippers from the cushion covers so you can reuse them in the new covers. Those long zippers aren't cheap.

Johnez

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2014, 05:15:58 AM »
Maybe a bit more than you want to read, but it's truly an interesting prospect to take apart an entire piece of furniture and rebuild it from the ground up.  Fun to watch in stages.

But can you do it yourself? Would it be that complicated for someone that has a bit of experience sewing and tinkering?

I am thinking that a sofa of mine will need new fabric at some point in the future. Looking at whether it would be possible to change the cover only as the cushions are still ok.

Really, with enough tools anybody can do anything. I'd say the toughest part for a person unfamiliar to the process would be tacking on the pieces of fabric in the correct order. Welting, tufting, etc can all be learned. I'm sure YouTube can help.

Guses

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2014, 06:58:38 AM »
Sounds promising!

My 10 year old fagelbo from IKEA has fabric that is looking pretty freaking sad right now. I am sure changing the fabric would breathe new life into it!

Blueberries

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2018, 10:48:31 AM »
I value my time.  Unless I loved the process of making the cushions myself, I would purchase new cushions.

AMandM

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2018, 09:48:36 PM »
If sewing cushion covers does not appeal to you, a compromise might be to buy the foam for the cushions from one of the places mentioned and then by new covers from the company.

Poundwise

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2018, 09:31:42 AM »
In the past, I bought a latex foam topper for beds, sliced it to size with an electric meat carver, and then used double layers to make replacement couch cushions.  Wrapped them with batting, inserted in hand sewn covers. It was quite a job though, and though cheaper than a new couch and cheaper than hiring an upholsterer, still about three hundred dollars.

I did this because one of my kids has asthma, and I couldn't afford a latex foam couch.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 09:34:57 AM by Poundwise »

Poundwise

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Re: Replace or redo couch cushions?
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2018, 09:49:18 PM »
I reread this and I should add that slicing the foam to size was not too much work. But sewing the covers was!