Home / Creativity & D.I.Y. Projects / Decorating / restyling a recliner sofa – part 1

restyling a recliner sofa – part 1

When I was asked at Saturday’s IWC meeting   “What have you been up to?” my automatic answer was “Not much.” Then I thought to add, “I’m crocheting a baby blanket, oh and I am taking a sofa apart.” I have no idea why that totally slipped my mind.

It all started when I was cleaning our microfiber recliner loveseat, again. Microfiber wears like iron but in this climate it gets so dirty. I am a bit embarrassed to show you what it looked like!recliner sofa re-do 001
The worse part is that you can see where I habitually sat. All that black is from me. I guess even little delicate flowers like I imagine myself to be,sweat in the Yucatan. Forget the about the saying, horses sweat, men perspire, woman glow, here everyone sweats,especially on microfiber. 

As I started to scrub, the idea of making a throw cover came to me. I discarded that idea, but decided to slip cover it instead.
I bought 5 meters of fabric, it was a wonderful coral and only $29 mxn a meter. After draping it on it’s proposed recipient, I couldn’t picture that much bright coral in one place. I used it to reupholster my office chair instead, I still have plenty to use for other things.

Admittedly,this is one comfy couch. I love being able to use the foot rests. Unfortunately I feel like a five year old when I sit on it or rather sink into it. I am totally engulfed by all the cushions. It doesn’t fit my style or idea of what I want our den to look like. When we bought it, I had this vision of a home theater type room. After pricing big screen TVs, and trying to figure out the layout, I abandoned the plan. I toyed with the idea of selling it, but that meant that I still would have to clean it. If you look carefully you can see the lighter areas where I started to clean.

recliner sofa re-do 003While cleaning I discovered that most of the poofy parts have zippers.

The neck rest is attached to the back but there is this nifty zipper. BK suggested that I just remove stuffing until the neck pillow was more to my taste. I thought that was a brilliant plan.
We pushed and prodded, pulling up the cushions as much as possible to see where the other cushions could be opened.
This sofa is super stuffed. I removed the equivalent of three bags of fiberfill from it.

Have you ever seen those gross photos of people who used to weigh 400 pounds but used some drastic measure to reduce and were left with loose skin? Well, the recliner became the furniture version. Just like the human reductees, drastic measures seemed to be called for. Meanwhile, I had the couch moved out to the terraza.

recliner sofa re-do 004The saddlebags on the arms didn’t look any better sans stuffing, so off they came! I was really getting into this. The back lumbar and neck support cushions came off. The seats had a muffin top look which I didn’t care for either. Good bye to them! I was on role, destroying is always easier and faster than rebuilding.

When I restyled the yellow loveseat, I saved the cushion covers. I decided to dye them and see how they looked. I wanted a burnt orange, but all I had on hand was pomegranate red and color remover. Red and yellow make orange, we all learned that in primary school. I had the color remover as back up if I didn’t like the results. Fortunately, I didn’t need to take a trip downtown to buy more dye.
To give you an idea of how much stuffing was in the saddlebags, each side piece stuffed one cushion and the headrest innards filled the other two.recliner sofa re-do 013recliner sofa re-do 009

recliner sofa re-do 025

On your left you can see the foot rests.
On your right I have already removed the “muffin top”.
recliner sofa re-do 011

It’s already looking slimmer.I headed to my fabric stash to see what I had available. So far I have about 75% of the project done. Stay tuned for part 2….

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. Barb,
    I am kinda stuck right now. I bought a bunch of plants and need to do some gardening before I do anything else.

    However, I promise to be done with the terraza when you come back in the winter!


  2. omigosh! You’re sooooo creative! I can’t wait to see this finished.

  3. Steve,
    I think that a little spray fabric paint would be the thing to use on your chair! We certainly wouldn’t want to do anything to alter the comfort! Too bad it didn’t fit in the Escape, sounds like the sort of thing worth hauling south!

    La Gringa,
    I don’t know if I would attempt to reupholster leather, too expensive and too difficult to find big matching pieces. On the other hand you don’t have to worry about fraying! Here there are several shops with lots of upholstery fabrics, there are even a couple of stores that sell materials to make purses and shoes! Very interesting fabrics in those shops!

    Can you just make covers for the arms? You’re really clever and handy, if you are like me, it takes awhile to gear up to something like this. My method is very unprofessional. I cut and then hot glue to the old fabric. This seems to be okay as long as the stuffing and such is in good shape.


  4. Wow! I can’t wait to see the finished sofa. It looks fabulous already. I’ve done a little bit of furniture recovering in the past and it is so worth the effort. I have two leather recliners that I need to figure out something for. The arms are totally destroyed and the seats are on their way.

  5. I had a recliner in Oregon that was my movie chair. It had been designed to rotate in almost all directions. If I recall correctly, it was marketed as a zero gravity chair based on some sort of space technology. Even with the silly hype, I loved that chair.

    Too bad it could not have followed me down here. But it would have needed your hand to convert it from Danish beige to Mexican fiesta.

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