Replace Couch Cushions

A well-loved couch will show signs of wear over the years, with sinking cushions and worn out upholstery.

Replacing the Foam Inserts

Even if your couch is rarely used, pets might have found the cushions irresistible, leaving scratch marks or stains. Replacing the cushions instead of the whole couch will save you hundreds of dollars.

Remove the cushion inserts. Many couch cushions have side zippers, where you can easily remove the cushion foam.

Measure the foam dimensions: length, width and depth. Go to an arts and crafts store or shop online for replacements matching the dimensions of your old foam insert.

Check for fiberfill wraps. Many couch cushion foam inserts are covered in a 1- to 2-inch thick layer of fiberfill, which softens the seating structure. If your couch cushions are stained or have an odor, toss the fiberfill wrap out with the old foam insert after you've measured the cushions. See the Resources link for where to buy and how to replace fiberfill wraps.

Replacing Cushion Covers

Remove the fabric from the cushions, and use a seam ripper to remove all the stitching.

Run a steam iron along the seams so that the material lays completely flat.

Measure the exact dimensions of the ironed-flat couch cushion fabric. This is the pattern you'll use to create your new cushion covers, so don't throw it out.

Search for a fabric match at an upholstery outlet. Consider going with a coordinating solid or a print fabric since matching the remaining fabric on the couch arms and back will be difficult, if not impossible.

Arrange the new fabric on a table, and pin the old pieces over it. Cut it out, remove the pins, and sew the new fabric together using identical seam allowances as the old covers, and leaving an opening for the inserts. Add the zipper, or hand stitch to close the opening.

Things You Will Need

  • Cushion inserts Fabric Thread Sewing machine Scissors Zipper


  • If you don't want to replace the zipper or hand-stitch the opening, consider a two-piece section for the cushion bottom. This is where one piece of fabric slightly covers another to create a zipperless, stitch-free closure. In this case (of course), the underside of the cushion could never face upward.

About the Author

Ingrid Hansen has been published in "Twin Cities Business" magazine, the "Murphy Reporter," "Twin Cities Parent" magazine and the "Southwest Journal" newspaper. She has also written more than 30 non-fiction books for the K-12 library and education market, and has been a subject matter expert and a course designer for online college curriculum. She teaches English Composition at a local college, and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Hamline University.