Project Week: DIY Cohen Couch

19 Aug

I mentioned that Em and I completed a couple of big projects while we were living with my parents.  This was probably the biggest project that we completed, and something that we’d been talking about doing for a while; I guess we had no excuse not to do it since we had time to kill at my parents’.

I’ve briefly mentioned Cohen on here before (see Vegas Godfather reference from previous post).  He’s the man.  Going into my junior year of college, he updated his home decor which means that he had some extra furniture on-hand.  I was the beneficiary of a nice solid, wood-framed couch with grey cushions.  This thing is incredibly sturdy and durable.  I think that the wooden frame will probably last forever.  It at least lasted two years of college and four of grad school for me, so I think that’s a testament to its strength.  Having been through all of that, however, left the cushions a little on the well-worn side…

So we decided that we could reupholster them.  (That’s what we’d been discussing for a while, and being at home gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that.)

One of the most time-consuming and tedious parts of this entire process was searching for the fabric to use for our project.  We wanted something that was a decent color, was durable and would last, and reasonably priced.  You’d be amazed how difficult it was and how much time we spent trying to satisfy those criteria.  We went to at least 5 different places and probably spent at least 10 hours looking through various fabrics.  Wouldn’t you know it, the one that we decided on using we actually found at the first place we looked within the first ten minutes of looking.  Typical.

Anyway, we found it.  It was a nice color, it was thick and durable, and it was cheap ($3/yd – after looking at different places and learning how expensive most fabric is, we got an idea of just how lucky we were to find that price!).

Our next step was to devise a plan for how to actually cover the cushions in the most effective manner while using the least amount of fabric possible.  This was a great exercise in creativity and problem solving that involved Em, my mom, and I wrapping old sheets around cushions in various patterns to try and find the best way to do it.  What fun!

In the end, we decided to go with the idea of making a “pocket with a flap” to slip the cushion into and then fold the flap over the end.  In order to protect the feelings of those who submitted ideas, I won’t tell you whose idea won.  But I will tell you that mine didn’t lose.  So here’s how it went down:

Taking some crucial measurements. You can see the test sheet in the background.

Sewing in my basement sweatshop. No child labor laws were violated.

This was the pocket with a flap design that we settled on.

Another view of the pocket and flap.

Em hand-stitched the snaps onto the flaps so that we could close them.

The snaps sewn onto the flap.

Testing out the cushions without the frame. Thumbs up for new cushion covers!

Wendy approves.

Since we saved so much money on the fabric that we ended up using, we decided to make four throw pillows that would match our newly reupholstered couch as well as match our newly picked up brown leather couch.  This involved a couple more hours of looking through fabrics.  Yippee.

But in the end, we found a patterned print that we liked and a plain print that we liked.  We had originally planned on making two patterned pillows and two printed, but then Em had a stroke of genius and suggested that we go halfsies and have the print on one side with the plain on the other side of each cushion.  This was brilliant and really made the pillows look professional.

The only curveball we encountered with the pillows was just how much stuffing these things required.  We didn’t make them especially large, but we knew that if we wanted them to last, we really had to stuff them full.  So we did.  And it was a lot of stuffing.

The finished pillows.

Here are a few shots of the finished couch in the new house:

And just like that, we turned a worn couch into a new-ish looking couch and added a little class with some throw pillows.  Not too bad.

And as always, we tried to get it done on a budget:

4yds of couch fabric ($3/yd):              $12

Snaps for the cushion flaps:              ~$4

1 yd of patterned, pillow fabric:         ~$4

1 yd of plain, pillow fabric:                 ~$4

Stuffing for pillows:                           ~$12

TOTAL: “new” couch and 4 pillows: ~$36

What a couple of DIY-ers we are.  Getting stuff done on a budget!  And looking pretty darn good as well (if I do say so myself)!  So I think that the couch will last at least a couple more years…thanks Cohen!


Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Advice, Budget/$$, Projects/Activities


Tags: , , , , , ,

13 responses to “Project Week: DIY Cohen Couch

  1. Kate Metroka

    August 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    looking good!


    • trokspot

      August 20, 2012 at 10:03 PM

      Thanks zaboo! Probably put up some pics of the whole house soon. It looks pretty darn good!


  2. Ross Ramsey

    August 21, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Man, too cool. I think its great when do it yourself projects work out well. Looks like a cool place to kick back and drink whatever coke you like :p


    • trokspot

      August 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Thanks man! Initially I had my doubts about how well it would work out, but I’m pretty happy with the end result. Plus, you can’t get too upset either way when it turns out to be reasonably cheap to do it!


  3. lindsay

    October 18, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    How did u make the structure of the couch? Its so cool..


    • trokspot

      October 21, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      The wooden frame the original couch. We just reupholstered the cushions. But the frame is awesome – solid wood and in pretty good shape (though super heavy to move!).


  4. Heather

    January 23, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    We are looking to do this also! We have a really neat 70s type couch but the cushions are less than desirable. What type of fabric was that? All cotton or some kind of blend? Thanks! Love it!


    • trokspot

      January 23, 2015 at 8:29 PM

      Hi Heather,

      The fabric we used was upholstery fabric. It was quite a bit thicker than cotton, almost more like a corduroy without the ridges. If you go to a place like michaels or joanns they will have it, but it will probably be a bit pricey. You might check a place like Walmart and see what they have with sales and whatnot. You could also use duck fabric.

      Basically we knew we wanted something thick. We have a little puppy who sometimes likes to “dig” on the couch and the cotton just would not be durable. It probably would not be very durable even for regular wear and tear of sitting.

      Good luck!


  5. Bobbi C.

    April 25, 2015 at 5:11 PM

    This is awesome! Could you share the instructions on how to make the pocket with a flap cushion cover? Please and thank you 🙂


  6. GTA painters

    June 7, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am having issues with your
    RSS. I don’t know why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anyone else
    getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond?


    • trokspot

      June 7, 2015 at 8:41 PM

      Hey thanks a lot – glad you liked it! As far as the RSS – I am not exactly sure…I don’t do much with it as I thought it was kind of on autopilot…. I will try to look into it! Do you have any suggestions off the top of your head?



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