While the title of this post may not necessarily be about big bottom gal's, it certainly is about how, over the last ten years, plenty of bottoms lounging on our couch have put it into a sad state. The once firm, plush seats are now a pathetic, saggy mess. It's gotten to the point where it's quite uncomfortable and hard to get up from your seat when sitting there, and you can feel the frame on your tush through the flat as a pancake cushions. Our couch has been well-loved, and although she's nearly a decade old, we aren't in the position to replace her. It's time to return some of that love-- all while saving a buck and learning something in the process. I'll admit my hesitations about the thought of new furniture even if it were an option. We've been badly burned by poor choices in the past; a "good quality" German-made couch and chaise that hit the curb only 18 months after we bought it. Being a single-income family, we usually wait until tax time to make any large purchases, and buying new living room furniture every other year certainly is a waste. Our living room was bare for maybe a month or two until we landed into some good luck with the furniture we now own. A good friend who was in the market for new living room furniture herself sold us our set for only $50! We're talking sofa, chair, ottoman, coffee table, and two lamps; you can't even get a bargain like that at the Goodwill! The cushions were frumpy when we took ownership of the couch, but the frame and microfiber material has really stood the test of time. It is easy to clean (super important with two pups and a toddler around), and we love the neutral taupe shade. We're also in the process of "green-ifying" our life, and what better way than to salvage "Old Faithful."
In the spirit of "keeping it real", here is Exhibit A. You can see my comfortable little command center that I have set up, which is usually where you can find me typing out this very blog (also because the desk in the dining room is typically cluttered with junk, but that is another post for another day!). And, yes, that's a cup of coffee, and two glasses of water just for me. Stylin' with napkin coasters, of course.
It's a hot, uncomfortable mess (so is the coffee table, but we'll get to that later on down the road). We've resorted to wedging pillows under our arms and hips to level ourselves out as the cushions tend to gravitate towards the one end of the couch (where we both sit the most). It's definitely a priority on our DIY "To Do" list, but I can't help but feel a little pressure since I've never re-cushioned a sofa before. The premise seems fairly simple, though. Buy new foam. Insert new foam into cushion cover. Voila! But how do I know that I am getting the right materials? This is where trusty Google (or Bing if you prefer) steps in to save the day. Here are a few tips I picked up from various websites. Some didn't make sense, and others seem promising:
1. Measure and record the width, length and depth of each cushion. Width is the measurement from left to right. Length is the measurement from top to bottom, or back to front, and depth is the measurement of the thickness of the cushion measured along the outside edge of the cushion. However, if your cushions are pancake flat (like ours), how does that give you an accurate depth measurement? DON'T make this mistake or you'll dish out money for a cushion that will end up just as flat as the one you've currently got. Instead...
2. Remove the cover from the old flat cushion padding by unzipping it, and turn the cover inside out. Lay the cover on a flat surface. THEN measure the depth of the fabric band (sides of your cushion). This depth is typically 5 inches, but measure yours just to be sure.
3. Next, measure the cover for width and length. Add one inch to each of these dimensions, because, according to www.ehow.com, if the foam fits snugly into the cover, both the foam and the cover will "last longer". I would agree with this advice that it is always best to err on the side of making the cushion slightly bigger. If you have difficulty in getting it to fit, it is always easier to trim the cushion more, but you cannot add it if you remove too much.
4. Buy polyfoam, and measure/mark your cushion size. I cannot stress the importance of double measuring before making a cut more. The foam will not fit properly into your cushion if you measure/cut incorrectly! Also, be sure to get a quality foam that's meant for upholstery. Craft foam isn't suitable for the job.
5. Use an electric carving knife to cut the foam down the lines you have measured and marked. We do not have one of these handy, so I'd have to perform surgery with a utility knife and be cautious of butchering the cushion.
6. Cut a piece of terylene (batting) long enough to wrap around the cushion from front to back. Use spray adhesive to help it stick smoothly to the cushion. Depending on how thick the original foam of your cushion was will determine how thick the terylene should be. According to www.homeguides.sfgate.com, "Terylene is a quilt batting-like product. Many lighter versions may be found in craft and fabric stores under the brand name Dacron, but they will separate under the friction between the foam and the cushion cover. Bonded terylene is specifically designed for foam wrapping and is available from an upholsterer." Using the right kind of materials will not only ensure that your project will run smoothly, but will give you lasting results and save you money in the long run. Things are much less stressful when you do it right the first time.
7. Turn your cushion right side out and begin to insert your cushion foam once the terylene is dry and firmly secure. To ease the process, you can find slip silicone at your local upholstery shop, and spray the terylene wrapped foam to help it slide more easily into your cover. It's a spray that lubricates the surface of the terylene, and helps decrease the friction between the foam and your cover.
8. Once the foam is adjusted to the corners and seams properly, zip that baby up and take her for a test drive!
Overall, it seems like a pretty straightforward process. And while the polyfoam is pretty expensive from what I have priced, a little over a hundred dollars sure beats the thousand we would spend on buying a new sofa.
So what happens, though, if money is tight, and you aren't in the position to replace the foam in your cushions just yet. Do you have to suffer with a frumpy, uncomfortable couch? Nope! You can do exactly what I've done as a temporary fix: flip the cushions. I'm not talking about just turning the cushion over. I'm talking about pulling the foam out of your cover, and rotating the front facing end of the foam towards the back (zippered) end. It's a little trick I picked up by watching this video that I found on www.ehow.com.
And so you go from this:
A world of difference, eh? I'm still kind of in awe over just how deformed the foam has gotten over the many years of use it's seen. I mean, look at this bad boy...
As you may have noticed in the above pictures, the front padding has also shifted on the frame of the couch. Unfortunately, it's not something easily remedied, so I tried to shift it back into place as best as I could. The lighting in which I took these pictures wasn't ideal, either, since we've been having some rainy, glum weather due to Hurricane Sandy. Now that I think about it, though, a majority of October was pretty rainy. I suppose it was more noticeable for me since we just moved up here from TX-- where it seemingly NEVER rains. The poor lighting also made a few areas on the cushions look dirty, but they are (for the most part) clean, and the dark areas on the piping and cushion are just shadows from the microfibers. I discovered a little mud spot on the front of the couch near the padding lump on the frame, but cleaned that up since taking the pictures. It's funny what a photograph will reveal!
Flipping the cushions was a great way to freshen up the look of our tired couch, and it didn't cost us a dime! It literally took me 10 minutes to do, and I think it's made a big impact. Who says things have to look magazine perfect, anyway? We love our couch, and while it will eventually need replaced in a few years (the actual springs are starting to sag on the one side), we're getting as much life and use out of it as we can.
So, our couch went from looking like this:
To looking like this:
I think it looks tons better. It's certainly more comfortable. How about you? Have a couch or chair that has a case of the frumpy lumps? Give this trick a try before spending lots of money on replacing the cushions or piece of furniture, and let us know what you think!