Upholstered Sofa

Measuring Upholstery 101 (Part 2): Sofa

We have talked about how to measure fabric size for your chair reupholstery project last time. In our second “Measuring Upholstery” series, we’re going to tackle how to get the right sizes for your sofa. A threadbare, old long couch looks tacky in the middle of your living room, but you can turn it into lovely piece once you refurbish its usable parts. By replacing the fabric which has aged and has gotten dirty over use, your sofa can blend into your interiors looking brand new.

Any upholstery project requires good measurements for the fabric to fit right into the sofa. If this is your first time to DIY, we’ll be guiding you with a step-by-step process on how to record your couch’s dimensions. What you’ll need now is a pen, a paper, a calculator and of course, a measuring tape.

Start Taking The Measurements

  1. Don’t let the project intimidate you. Taking dimensions is easy as long as you know what needs to be recorded. Get your measuring tape and measure the size side by side, taking the longest width. Measure the highest point of the sofa then down to the floor. What you want is to get the total height and width of your couch.
  2. Remove any cushion from the seat and the back and measure across the furniture. This is to get the depth / length of the seat and back area.
  3. List down the parts of the sofa alongside with its respective dimensions. Make sure you indicate the size in width x length. Some of the areas you need to measure are the seat, the arms and the back. If your sofa has skirts, measure them too.
  4. Add an extra three inches to each of the dimensions. For the final result per item, round them to the nearest foot. Take the sum of the overall dimensions. This, in return, gives you the idea of how much fabric you will be using.
  5. Decide on the upholstery fabric you’d want to replace the old covers with. The end result of your measurements will be calculated depending on the material you choose. Why will this vary? An upholstery fabric in solid colors won’t be hard to fit in the sofa, but if you have chosen bold patterns, you have to consider its repeat.


Remember, in taking these measurements, you only have one goal: have enough fabric to cover your reupholstery project. You might want to go a little over the exact number; this is safer than underestimating the dimensions. Luckily, there are some classic measurements that may guide you in determining your sofa’s size. Most are based on a 54″ wide fabric, which is a common width for sofas. For example, a 7 ft long sofa with back cushions and non-padded arms will need 11 yards of fabric. A 6 ft curved-back sofa with upholstered arms will need 10 yards.

You can do a graphical representation of the pattern by scaling down the size on a graph paper. This helps you see how you can put your gathered measurements together of if they will fit appropriately. If you will handle this project yourself, make sure you have the necessary tools to aid you in taking off the original fabric and putting the new one with ease. Among the tools you need are pliers, seam rippers and slender scissors.

 Image Source: Uratex, High Design Upholstery

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