3 Amazing Ways to Revive Your Couch

Beautifully decorated couch with cushions and an ottoman

Is your living room couch looking worn-out? Does it feel outdated? Are you getting to the stage you can’t stand its ‘ugliness’? Before you rush out to the furniture store to buy a new couch, why not consider our 3 amazingly easy ways to restore your couch to its former glory? You will be surprised by the results. Best of all, you will save some money!

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Get more life out of your couch with our 3 easy ways to revive a couch:

1. Give your couch a deep clean

A proper deep clean will remove all the food debris, spills and unpleasant odours from your couch. When you have finished, it will feel and look brand new again. 

Read the manufacturer’s instructions

Couches come in different fabrics. Cotton-blend and linen-blend couches are very easy to clean. Other fabrics may require a little more attention. 

Before you tackle the cleaning, always read the manufacturer’s label first. The tag identifies the cleaning method to use on the couch. To make it easier for you, we’ve listed down what each symbol means:

W: Water. OK to use water to clean

S: Solvent-based. Use only a solvent-based cleaner on the fabric

SW: Water or Solvent-based. You can use either water or solvent-based cleaner to clean your couch

X: Vacuum only. Water and solvent-based cleaners should never be used. 

Wash cushion covers

If the couch comes with removable cushion covers, take these out and wash and dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Brush and vacuum the couch

Use a soft-bristle dry brush to loosen any particles or dried-on stains from the fabric. Pay special attention to nooks and corners and the back of the couch. 

Clean with baking soda

Baking soda is one of the easiest ways to deep clean your couch. Begin by sprinkling baking soda over the entire couch. Soda bicarbonate helps remove unpleasant odours and loosen stubborn grime trapped between the fabric fibres. 

You can also use a simple diluted baking soda solution for tough stains. Mix equal parts baking soda and water. Apply lightly on to affected areas. Leave to soak for 15 minutes. When dried, vacuum with a brush attachment. 

NOTE: As with all types of cleaning solutions (even natural compounds) always spot test an area first before you begin. 

Vacuum thoroughly

Allow some time for the baking soda to do its magic then vacuum carefully with a brush-attachment. 

Pat dry then leave overnight to air dry

Use a clean towel to pat dry the couch then leave to air-dry overnight. Tomorrow morning you will wake up to a clean and fresh-smelling couch! 

2. How to steam clean the sofa

That’s right some couches can be steam cleaned. You can easily do this if you have a garment steam cleaner in your home. Note: Just because your sofa’s instructions say the material is water safe does not mean it is steam safe. However, if the manufacturer’s instruction specifies that you can steam clean your couch then this is a quick and effective way to restore your couch. 

The steps to steam clean your couch are similar to the steps you would use to deep clean it. 

Read the manual

All garment steam cleaners have the manufacturer’s instructions. Read them carefully so you are using it the right way.

Vacuum the couch

Vacuuming removes surface dirt and grime and makes the steam cleaning a lot easier.

Maintain air circulation 

Steam cleaners generate a fair amount of steam so be sure to open the windows or turn on a fan while you are cleaning your couch.

Let the couch air dry

Do not sit on the couch after steaming. Leave it overnight to air dry completely.

Vacuum again

A quick second vacuum after it is dried will ensure that any remaining dirt and grime will be removed. We recommend this. 

Spot Test is important

As with all cleaning methods, always conduct a spot test on a small inconspicuous area first before you start. The back of the couch is a good place for a spot test particularly if you have your couch against a wall. 

Lavender essential oil in a small bottle

3. Bring life back to your old couch 

A little razzle-dazzle will go a long way in transforming an old couch to a sensational showpiece in your living room. All you need is some new cushions and a throw or two. You will be amazed at how fresh your couch will look with these super affordable items. (Secret tips: Cushions and throws are great for hiding flaws and preserving your couch if you have young children or pets at home). 

How to use cushions to design your couch

Getting the maximum effect of cushions is an art form. While there are no firm rules about decorating with cushions. However, there are some practical steps you can take that will give you the effect you want. 

We ask an interior designer for her expert advice. Here is what she has to say: 

Colour

Consider the colour of your couch as a starting point. A tone-on-tone colour (i.e. cushions in different shades of the same colour) can look elegant and classy. 

You can also match the cushions on your sofa to a dominant colour in the room. For example, pick a dominant colour from your curtains or match cushions with the colour of a feature wall or carpet. To create a seamless look, scatter one or two decorative items (like a vase or a glass bowl) in the same colour. 

If you want to add a hint of brightness to your couch, choose complementary or analogous colours. Check out the interior design colour wheel below to find a complementary colour for your couch. 

Colour wheel showing how to pair colours

How to use the colour wheel in interior design

Analogous colours follow the 60:30:10 rule. They usually consist of the primary, secondary and tertiary colour but can also sit side-by-side to one another. For example: green 60%: yellow green (30%) and yellow (10%).

Complementary colours are directly opposite one another. For example, yellow and blue or red and green. 

Textures

Textures are interesting and add a new dimension to your cushions. A wool-knit cushion teams well with smooth cotton. A luxurious fur cushion pairs well with linen. You can introduce subtle contrast by choosing one shade then mixing with solid colour cushions in a patterned design (for example a black and white geometric design). 

How to arrange cushions 

When using cushions to decorate your sofa, follow the 2:2:1 principle. Start from the inside and work your way out. Put the 2 largest cushions on the outer edges of the sofa, resting against the arms. Then place the next two cushions overlapping the first two. Finish off with a single accent cushion (a textured or eye-catching patterned cushion). 

Need some ideas for this year’s winter cushion theme? Jen Bishop’s Interior Addicts has a list of 10 of their favourite trending cushion designs that you can buy online. 

How to use throws to decorate a sofa

Throws are not just functional they are brilliant style-makers if you know how to choose the right one. They add colour, pattern and warmth to any room. Throws are lightweight and can be draped stylishly to make your couch feel and look sophisticated. 

A throw strewn over a brown couch

Follow the same rules as cushions when matching your throw to the couch. In interior design, simplicity is effective. A single throw in the right colour and tone is more effective than four or five throws crowded together. Stick to one good quality throw that will not only look great as an accessory for your couch but will also give you that happy ‘bug in a rug feeling’ when you need to use it. 

 

Houzz has some simple tricks to help you use throws. We’ve listed them here for you. 

Over the arm (waiter-style): Fold lengthwise and drape over the arm of the couch

Casual cascade: Drape the fold over the right or left back of your armchair or sofa. Don’t worry about how it falls. Throws with fringes are great for this look. 

Folded: Fold throws into neat squares and place near the armrest.

Fur throws: Fur throws are best-draped cascade-style for maximum impact. 

Faux fur: Great trick to add outdoor warmth in winter. Use with your covered patio furniture. 

Corner fold: Fold the throw lengthwise, then in half. Angle to a corner of your chaise lounge or sofa. 

Floating drape: Fold lengthwise and drape it to the left or right side of the couch. 

Tight back: Use a thin throw. Drape over the back of the sofa. Anchor in place by tucking the ends inside the sofa. Arrange some cushions over the sofa. 

 

We hope our ideas on restoring your couch have inspired you to start your sofa revival project. We’d love to see what you have done! Share your images on our social media platform HERE. 

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