How to Reupholster a Leather Sofa In 3 Simple Steps

Can You Reupholster a Leather Sofa?

Buying a good quality leather sofa will save you the trouble of buying another one in the next 15 or so years to come, not unless you are a person of trends. However, all good things eventually come to an end and as for your sofa, no matter how good you have been at taking care of it, you will at one point have to get rid of it or consider upholstering it.

A worn-out leather sofa can be restored to a clean and new look by having it reupholstered. You can easily reupholster your leather sofa if it was your favorite piece and there is no way you would want to get rid of it. It is also the best option especially if this sofa is a family heirloom and disposing of it would mean dishonoring your grandmother’s wish of having it passed down to your next generation.

In this article, we will discuss the three easy steps to reupholster a leather sofa. It is a DIY process but you can still have a professional do it for you if you are not sure if you will do it right.

Below are three simple steps to follow when you want to reupholster your leather sofa. Strictly follow them and you will love the outcome.

What you will Need

  • New leather/fabric
  • Seam ripper
  • Rotary Knife
  • Staple gun
  • Hook and loop tape

STEP 1: Remove the Current Leather On your Sofa

  • Turn your leather sofa upside down to remove the staples used to keep the current leather upholstery in place.
  • Start removing the current leather upholstery gently and carefully with a seam ripper so that you can use it later as a template for your new leather upholstery.
  •  Place the new leather upholstery right side down on a flat surface.
  • Place the old leather upholstery pieces in the same position on top of the new leather
  • Pin the edges with the sewing pin and cut the new leather with a rotary knife according to how the old leather was cut.

STEP 2: Install the New Leather On the Sofa

In this second step, you will need to be extra careful to avoid messing up the whole process. Make sure you install the new leather upholstery on one section after another.

  • Install the back piece on and staple it into place along the back top edge of the sofa.
  • Install the front piece into place and flip the leather so it faces down while draping down the back, then pin it down over the back piece, across the top edge of the sofa with a staple gun.
  • Flip the leather over to the front to prevent the staples from being visible.
  • Tack the leather tightly inside each corner of the sofa and staple inside the bottom of the back part and the sides to keep the leather in place.
  • Install the arm leather pieces on each arm and staple inside and outside the sofa to keep them tightly in place and to prevent the staples from being visible.
  • Flip the bottom piece onto the front and staple it along the front edge.
  • Flip it back over and staple it underneath the front bottom of the sofa to make the staples invisible.
  • Install the remaining pieces on the remaining open sides on the back plus, the back of the arms and staple the leather underneath the sofa to keep it in place.

STEP 3: Reupholster the Sofa Cushions

  • Cut leather pieces according to the size of the seat cushions and pin them together with the right sides in.
  • Using the seam, sew along the front and sides while leaving the back side open.
  • Using a hook and loop tape strips, sew on both sides of the back opening
  • Turn the cushion cover right side out and place foam inside
  • Close the cover with the hook and loop strip
  • Repeat this process with the rest of the sofa cushions
  • To give your new sofa a polished look, pin the tacks along the bottom of the front edge and arms.

How to Reupholster a Leather Couch with Attached Cushions?

You probably think that refurbishing a leather sofa with non-removable cushions is hard especially if you are not a professional. However, it is simple to reupholster a leather sofa with attached cushions as much as it is with leather sofas with removable cushions.

Can you Reupholster a Leather Couch with Attached Cushions?

It is easier to reupholster a leather couch with attached cushions just as it is with the ones with removable cushions. However, make sure you measure or keep the old leather as a template for your new leather upholstery to avoid making mistakes. And be sure to work on one section at a time.

Here are the steps to reupholster a leather sofa with attached cushions

  • Remove seam or metal staples used to hold the old leather upholstery on your sofa
  • Remove the old fabric from your sofa and place it on a flat surface
  • Measure the size of your old leather and cut the new leather according to that size
  • Wrap the sofa with the largest piece of leather.
  • Smoothen the back with your hands while pushing the excess leather in the space between the cushions and the back
  • Staple the leather onto the back frame to keep it in place
  • Lift the front of the cushion and tuck the remaining leather pieces underneath.
  • Use a staple gun to staple the leather into the frame
  • Attach the remaining leather pieces on the arms, front, and back of the sofa and staple into the frame
  • Smooth the leather down with your hands until it reaches the base of the sofa
  • Cut the excess leather if there is, and staple the rest into the base of the frame to give the sofa a new refurbished look.

How much Does It Cost to Reupholster a Leather Couch?

Although to reupholster a couch does seem like the best option especially if you are so attached to it, it can be very expensive. It will cost you between $500 and $5000 to reupholster your leather sofa. The cost usually depends on the size of your couch, the extent to which it is damaged, and the quality of leather you would want to upholster it with.

The cost of leather is usually high, so whether you want to reupholster the sofa on your own or have a professional do it you will still incur a lot of expenses. And if you have more than two leather sofas it would even be more expensive.

Unless your leather sofa is a family heirloom, buying a new sofa would be a lot cheaper than reupholstering the old one. You can check on this post factors that affect the cost of upholstery and how much it would cost you to reupholster different sofas.

When to Reupholster a Leather Sofa

Quality leather sofas are known to get better the more they are used, just like wine you know. However, every good thing eventually comes to an end. And the signs that your leather sofa now needs a replacement or upholstery include:

  • Sagging leather
  • Leather cracking
  • Leather fading
  • Seat cushions become extra soft (not the right softness)

There is no exact time as to when a leather sofa would show signs of wear and tear, however, the high-quality leather sofas and those that are properly taken care of surely last for many years and begin showing signs of wear and tear in their 15th or 16th year.


Do you want to reupholster your leather couch? We have discussed above the three simple steps to reupholster a leather sofa with removable cushions plus detailed steps on leather sofas with attached cushions. The process is simple and absolutely worth it.