A sofa is the first and biggest piece of furniture that guests notice in the living area. But giving your old sofa a makeover to improve its appearance is more complicated than it seems.
If you want to reupholster your couch, I’ll show you how to measure fabric for different sofa types. Learning how to do the project on your own will save you more money than hiring a professional.
What Are the Main Types of Sofas?
The first consideration when giving your sofa a makeover is its type. Its shape, construction, and form will determine how you will measure its fabric yardage.
A standard sofa, also known as a traditional sofa, is around 86 inches long with three seat cushions. It’s approximately 34 inches high and 38 inches deep, depending on the brand.
It’s a safe choice for anyone who wants a versatile couch, whether they live alone, with pets, or with other people. Many are attracted to the standard sofa because it comes in different fabrics and forms. The height of the seat is also perfectly equal to most coffee tables.
The loveseat is a head-turner for those who live alone or those with cramped spaces. It’s called a loveseat because it can accommodate two individuals.
You can also see this kind of sofa in small yet formal places. It usually measures 52 to 72 inches long. The two-seater couch is easy to reupholster not only because of its size but also because of the single cushion.
In terms of design, loveseats can be traditional or modern.
A daybed sofa is a combination of a loveseat and a twin bed. It’s a multi-use furnishing traditionally the size of a twin bed. One side of the back typically has a headboard while the other remains open.
Some daybeds are just bed frames with enclosings on three sides and a mattress on top. They are perfect for guest rooms, outdoor spaces, and living rooms.
Futon sofas are popular for both seating and sleeping. However, they feel more comfortable sitting on because they are shorter in length and height. You can add a futon sofa to any part of the house since it doesn’t take a lot of space.
54 x 75 inches is the standard dimension for this sofa. But it may also come in queen, full, loveseat, single, and chair.
Some futons are not fully upholstered. Others do not have armrests, which is why it’s relatively easy to measure the fabric for them.
Many people get confused between the sofa bed or sleeper sofa and futons. You can sleep on both kinds of couches. But you have to hide the sofa bed’s mattress in the space under the frame.
If your sofa bed is in the form of a sofa, remove the top of the frame then pull out the mattress. Unlike a futon bed, sofa beds are always fully upholstered with armrests.
A corner sofa, sectional sofa, or L-shaped sofa is a sofa composed of multiple pieces. They are usually arranged in an L shape or U shape. The layout can be right-arm facing (RAF) or left-arm facing (LAF).
Corner sofas are ideal for large living rooms for big families. They have no standard size because you can arrange them in many different ways. Sectional sofas are hard to measure and reupholster because they vary in the number of cushions.
What You Need to Measure Fabric for Different Types of Sofas
There are different methods for calculating the fabric for different types of sofas. The general rule is to measure from left to right for the length. Then, measure from top to bottom for the height. Take out your measuring tapes, pens, and papers so you can start measuring.
The traditional sofa is usually fully reupholstered from front to back. Start measuring the back since it’s the easiest part. When recording the measurements, always add four extra inches to each section to ensure you will not lack fabric.
Do the same for the front, armrests, and the bottom part. You don’t need to measure all three seat cushions since they are most likely of equal value. Just multiply it by three later on. Most standard sofas have skirting, so don’t forget to measure that part.
Add all the measurements together and divide by 36 to convert into yards. You will most likely need around 12-20 yards of fabric for a standard sofa.
Measuring the fabric for the loveseat is similar to a standard sofa. Run the measuring tape at the back of the chair, adding 1 inch for each seam. Perform the exact measurements on the front, insides, outsides, armrests, and seat. Divide everything by 36.
Estimating a daybed sofa’s yardage for fabric is a breeze since you only need to measure the mattress or seat cushion. Most daybed sofas have wooden headboards.
However, if the other sections are also upholstered, do the same method for measuring. Make sure to provide an extra inch on all seams.
Daybed sofas whose cushions are the only parts reupholstered only need 3-6 yards of fabric. Otherwise, the fabric measurement is the same as a standard sofa.
Flatten your futon couch into a mattress and measure each side all around. Then, divide each measurement into two and add 4 inches. The total size is the required fabric size. But make sure to get two pieces of the same fabric.
You can measure sofa beds the same way you measure standard sofas and daybed sofas. But the mattress part can be tricky. The tip is to measure the frame instead of the actual mattress. Record the length and width, then round down.
That’s right. While you need to round up the measurements for the other sofa parts, you need to do the opposite for the mattress frame.
Fold the sofa and measure the top and bottom bars’ distance if you’re replacing the mattress. Divide it by two, and you’ll get the thickest possible size for your bed replacement.
Corner sofas are the most challenging to measure because of the number of parts. If you have an L-shaped couch, you may include the measurement of the additional front foot part.
To keep your measurements organized, detach the seats from each other and provide the measurements for each piece.
Parts to Measure
- Outside arm
- Inside arm
- Outside back
- Inside back
- Seat cushion top and bottom
- Seat cushion walls
- Back cushion front and back
- Inside seat fabric
- Batting inside arm
- Bating inside seat
- Batting inside back
- Front foot couch
As always, add an extra four inches. You may also draw the pieces on a small scale to check the total measurement of fabric you will need.
Measuring the upholstery fabric for a loveseat is different from measuring for a sofa bed. Always consider your sofa’s size, shape, and form to get accurate measurements. And use a chart to organize your estimations.
Measuring the fabric for your sofa takes a lot of time and skills. But it will save you more money from hiring an upholsterer or buying a new couch.
Have you estimated the fabric yardage for your project? Let us know your experiences and questions in the comments section.