DIY or HIO {reupholstered midcentury couch}

Today’s post starts us off on a trip down memory lane. Remember this post? Our first Friday five when I shared some of my current furniture and home decor obsessions. One of my obsessions was Adrian Pearsall couch makeovers, like this one shared on Apartment Therapy:

Adrian Pearsall style sofa_photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Adrian Pearsall style sofa_photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Or like the one in Emily Henderson’s living room. You all should click over and see her living room- it’s to.die.for. Of course she now has a new house and will be sharing all of her styling of that house- makes me want to become a hairball on her floor so I can just bask in the beautifulness! Ok, ok, I digress. Back to beautiful midcentury couches. Much like the mantra of that book The Secret (which I’ll admit I never read so this analogy might be totally off), if you put it out there in the universe it will happen. So I put it out there in the universe that I needed a Adrian Pearsall sofa to re-do for my house. And guess what, it happened!!!! Though not as inexpensively as I would have hoped. I found a Adrian Pearsall sofa for sale on Craig’s list and I thought about it for a very long time. Mainly because they were asking more than I wanted to pay. My patience this time paid off as everyone realized they were asking too much and after some time, they were willing to negotiate on the price and I jumped in. And this is what I got:

Adrian Pearsall sofa_Suburban Bitches

Beautiful, right? Yes this couch was just asking for someone to love it and cover it in a luxurious blue fabric. And I knew just the fabric for it- the West Elm performance velvet in Ink Blue. And folks, they sell this fabric for $20 a yard!! That is a steal beyond steals. Upholstery weight fabric with incredible durability and easy clean up for $20/yard! (Funny side note: A few weeks after I ordered 12 yards of this fabric from West Elm I hopped back on their website and saw that they had raised the price of all their fabrics by $50 more dollars a yard so the performance velvet was $70/yd! Not only did I do a happy dance that I got my fabric before the price went up but I also called West Elm to see if this was a mistake or what. They told me that the price was correct and that was now the price of the fabric. That must have not lasted long because the price is back down to $20/yd, a much more reasonable price!). The couch took about 11 yards of fabric but I ordered an extra yard for another project that I had in the works.

As for the actual upholstery job, I decided that this project was just way too big for me. Sure the best way to learn upholstery is to take something apart and just jump in but I didn’t feel comfortable mucking up this piece. I used Gael from Sparrow House of Design and she was great to work with, and fast! And pricing was right on par with the two other quotes I got from other companies. And here’s the final product!:

midcentury couch in navy blue velvet_Suburban Bitches

midcentury couch in navy blue velvet_Suburban Bitches
midcentury couch in navy blue velvet_Suburban Bitches


Folks, I’m in love with how it turned out! And you might have noticed that the couch resides in my living room, where the big gray sectional used to live. The living room has once again had a mini-makeover, and now is probably rivaling Joan Rivers for the number of facelifts undergone. I’ll share the big reveal soon, but a few more touches need to be made. As for why the makeover, well, how are you gonna put Baby in the corner? Or in my case, how are you going to put a beautiful sofa like this in the basement? I just couldn’t do it! Plus, we just put a big old flat screen tv in the basement and the sectional is just the perfect place for our family to snuggle up and watch Orange is the New Black together (totally appropriate for 5 year old’s, right?). So now this baby lives in my living room and I’m loving it all. The living room now feels like a grown up seating area and I think I even figured out a furniture arrangement that works.

And just a word on reupholstering furniture- first, here is a great post on determining if a piece is worth reupholstering. Second, don’t think that it will end up being any cheaper than buying a new piece of furniture. Most of the time it’s not, or if it is, not by much. But it’s fun finding a piece that’s ugly and turning it into a custom piece of your own. And super eco-chic. Drinking a glass of kombucha in my organic, free trade cotton pajamas on this couch never felt so good!


***Just a heads up- Tricia and I are headed off to Alt Summit on Wednesday. We are CRAZY excited about the conference and all the wonderful peeps we are going to meet. Guys, Christy Turlington is going to be there speaking about her campaign Every Mother Counts. Holy sh*#, right! Blogging on Wednesday and Friday might be sporadic or late, but we’ll do our best. Of course you can follow along with our Instagram feed to keep up with the clothes, the parties, and the fun! ***

Related posts:

Gift Guide {for him}
One Room Challenge {playroom revamp}
Because I'm all about these floors
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16 Responses to DIY or HIO {reupholstered midcentury couch}

  1. Venessa says:

    I want to upholster a thrifted club chair I got but my quotes are $600-700 for a relatively small chair. Does that sound reasonable? The chair only cost me $10. Thanks for any insight!

    • Erin says:

      I would say that does seem a bit high. I’ve had quotes on some chairs with buttons and/or tufting and the quotes have ranged between $300-450. Unless the chair you are recovering needs new foam and has lots of tufting and other details then I would say look around for a less expensive quote. Good luck! Isn’t it always a bummer to get a great deal on a chair only to have to spend so much on making it your own!

  2. Amazing!! Love, love, love it!

  3. caitlin says:

    Hi Erin!

    Beautiful couch! I stumbled upon this post while I was researching upholstery jobs on a Pearsall sofa. I’ve found one that I am interested in, but it also comes with a mighty steep price tag! Do you mind if I ask around how much the reupholster job was? I’ve tried getting a few estimates with the photos I have of it, but everyone needs to see it in person (which I don’t have, yet!)! I just need a little reassurance that I won’t be getting in too deep price wise.



    • Erin says:

      Hi Caitlin!
      Glad your search brought you over here! I don’t mind sharing how much the job was. I got quotes on the job costing anywhere from $700-1200. In the end it was $900 for mine to be upholstered (not including fabric, which I needed 11 yards) but I did have most of my cushions replaced. Replacing the cushions drives the price up and you never really know what shape the cushions are in until they get the thing apart. Like I said, you usually don’t end up with a steal when you go the reupholstering a vintage piece of furniture but for me, the price was well worth the end result. I love my couch and the fact that you can’t walk into a store and buy one just like it! Good luck. I’d love to see pictures if you end up going down this route!

      • caitlin says:

        That helps so much. I am proud to say that I am making a trip this weekend to get the sofa! 🙂 I can’t wait! I will most definitely send photos.

        Thank you for your help!


        • Erin says:

          That is awesome Caitlin! You’ll be so proud when you look at your finished couch and realize that you brought an amazing piece back to life!!

  4. Mishka says:

    Erin! This was a great blog. I’ve been wanting that Adrian Pearsall style sofa. Now, yours was even better than the real AP. I really admire you for having one right now! I saw this post which explained some upholstering and it looked like a bit tedious. I’m now thinking of hiring someone to do the upholstering. It’s actually a two seater and I’ll definitely tell him this style.

  5. Pria says:

    Hey Erin, I had mine upholstered just like yours. I’m wondering how do you clean your sofa? I read from about the Cleaning Pie method but how about spillage? I would really appreciate your tips.


    • Erin says:

      Hi Pria,
      I haven’t done a really deep cleaning on my couch yet but for everyday spills on the couch I actually use baby wipes to clean it. I’ve heard that baby wipes are good because they are really gentle cleaner that won’t hurt skin so it’s great for more delicate fabrics. And so far they have done the trick!

  6. Sarah Cliver says:

    Hey Erin
    I have a quick question about the West Elm Ink Blue fabric, as I’m in the market to purchase. In the store, their swatch seems more of a deep navy, but it seems to photograph more blue-violet. What’s your take, since you have a whole couch of it? Thx!

  7. Annie says:


    I’ve been wondering about ordering west elm fabric – it seems like a steal. Can I ask how long it took them to deliver it to you? The website says 8-10 weeks and I just don’t know if I can wait that long!


    • Erin says:

      Hi Annie. I have to say I think the West Elm fabric is a great deal! It has held up really well for us a year later. It did come quicker than the quoted 8 weeks. I want to say it was closer to a month after I ordered it. Good luck!

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