Living Room

My “New” Thrift Store Sofa (And My Plans For Making It Beautiful)

Last Updated on January 16, 2017 by Kristi Linauer

We have a few thrift stores and antique stores here in Waco, but if it’s a specific piece of furniture I’m looking for, there’s one particular consignment store I’ll frequent until I find what I’m looking for. It’s a very large store, and they get new merchandise in on a regular basis (probably daily), and while you have to sift through the junk, you can find some real treasures in there if you’re patient.

I’ve been taking weekly trips every weekend, keeping a look out for the perfect sofa. And this last weekend, my patience paid off! To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for, but I knew I’d know it when I saw it. I just wanted something that didn’t look run-of-the-mill. Something that was a bit unique. Something that had character and personality.

My mom was with me, and she and I both knew this was “the one.”


Isn’t she beautiful?! 😀

Well, okay. Not yet. She’s kind of in her “ugly ducking” stage right now. But I love that wood frame, and the potential is definitely there. Can you see it?

The funny thing is that sofa was so filthy that neither of us wanted to sit on it. I never did, but my mom did eventually try it out very briefly, and said it was fairly comfy. Interestingly, those cushions are down/feather cushion. That’s it. I don’t mean they’re down/feather-wrapped foam. I mean there’s only down/feather inside those cushions, with not a scrap of foam to be found. So I imagine this was a very nice sofa when it was new.

It’s the exact size I was looking for (70 inches), which is amazing. I was having a very hard time finding any sofas that size, much less one that actually interested me. And it’s very heavy and solid, so I think it’s genuinely an old, very well built sofa. Oh, and it was $99. Score!

I was originally going to have it reupholstered, but the only upholsterer I’ve ever used (the one I used to go to for client projects) gave me an estimate of $950 just for the labor (including new foam for the seat). That’s in addition to the fabric. My brain won’t let me pay that for reupholstering a sofa, so it looks like I’m doing this myself.

So here are my plans for this sofa…

First, I’m ditching the three separate seat cushions and going with one long cushion.

Second, I’m going to reupholster it in an amazing fabric called Crypton, and the specific type and color I’ve chosen is called Clooney Parchment, which is a creamy white slightly textured chenille.


I gave up on finding a velvet that I really liked, and quite honestly, this fabric was more beautiful and just as soft as any of the velvets I looked at for the sofa, without the change in color that you get when you run your hand across the nap of the fabric on velvet. (You know what I mean, right? You run your hand across velvet one way, and it get darker. Then you run your hand the other way, and it gets lighter.)

Anyway, have you heard of Crypton fabric? It’s amazing stuff! It’s incredibly durable (100,000 double rubs), and it’s impenetrable so that liquids just roll right off. Because it doesn’t “breathe,” you have to upholster with it just like you would with leather by creating ventilation areas in cushions and such. But check out how amazing this stuff is…

Because of the way they’re treated to hold up against stains, a lot of Crypton fabrics are very hard and scratchy. But the Clooney fabric is incredibly soft, and I think it’ll be perfect for a sofa. And it’s beautiful. This isn’t the color I bought (this one is called Sesame), but you can see the beautiful texture that the Clooney fabric has…


The lowest price I found for Crypton Clooney fabric was at Mary Jo’s Cloth Store, where it was $20.98/yard (compared to JoAnn’s regular price, which is $59.99/yard), and it comes in these beautiful colors…



And finally, I need to figure out what to do with the wood bits that are showing. I don’t like the dark wood, so I plan to either paint it or strip it and keep the wood lighter and more natural than it is with that dark, heavy stain color. If I paint it, I could stick with something light and neutral that complements the fabric without standing out too much.

kathy-kuo-home-eloquence-sofavia Kathy Kuo Home

If I go with a more natural color wood (perhap with a wax finish), I would imagine it looking like this or lighter…

armchair-with-wood-frame-and-white-fabricvia The Grey Goose Home Interiors

So I’ll probably try to strip it and leave it natural, and then if that doesn’t work out, I’ll paint it. Now there was a time not too long ago when I would have wanted something colorful and crazy, like painting the frame green or teal or something. I think those days may have passed, although I won’t rule out the possibility completely. I think I’d like my sofa to be all neutral to allow for colorful pillows and other accents in the room.

And I still have three other chairs I’ll be using in the room and none of those will be white or neutral. 🙂 There’s still plenty of opportunity for color.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I love it. I think it’s going to look awesome! And I’m secretly glad you chose a neutral color. I know you love lots of color, but a neutral sofa will last you so much longer since you can always reconfigure the rest of the room decor around it to add color or change color. Especially with the time and money you’re going to put into reupholstering it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Crypton is fabulous fabric, I use it all the time for commercial projects and for residential. But just remember when you are upholstering your sofa the seat cushion needs to have either a different fabric underneath or several vents in back or bottom. Crypton wont let the air to escape from the seat cushion when you sit in it and it will pop a seam. I would use a fabric on the back side of cushion that actually breathes. I learned this the hard way. The rest of the sofa you can upholster as usual just pillows and and seat cushions will be the problem try to blow air thru your fabric swatch and you will see it wont breathe. Hope this helps you.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      December 20, 2016 at 9:42 am

      That’s a HUGE help!! I knew that it doesn’t breathe, and so it needs to be treated like leather when upholstering cushions (i.e., allowing breathability somewhere via vents or something like that), but since I’ve never done that before and never paid attention to how leather cushions are upholstered, I had no idea how to do it. The only thing I could think of was putting a row of grommets or something like that on the zipper edge of the cushion. For some reason, it never would have dawned on me to just use a completely different breathable fabric along the entire back edge of the cushion with the zipper. That’s so much easier and will have a much cleaner look to it (not that people will be removing the cushion and looking at the zipper edge 😀 , but still). That’s so simple and brilliant! Thank you!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Spend the money and have it upholstered. Not my money but I think you would be happy with it. Also ck around on prices. Merry Christmas to you and Matt!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      December 20, 2016 at 10:09 am

      I agree with Lynn. $950.00 is not unreasonable to reupholster a sofa, plus you would have to pay far more than $1000.0 for a new sofa of this quality. You will save yourself tons of time and aggravation. The fabric sounds amazing. I will keep it in mind when I am ready to replace my sofa.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Paula Runyan
        December 20, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        That is a low price, and I suspect it is because the fabric is being provided for.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        December 20, 2016 at 1:12 pm

        Have you met Kristi? Well, I haven’t in person but she’s a go to girl and builds her own chairs! I’d be gobsmacked if she didn’t do it herself.
        But no judgement if it’s too much to do with everything else going on!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Linda K
    December 20, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Awesome. I am not afraid to try to reupholster something with straight lines or a skirt, but I am scared to even attempt exposed wood. And curved exposed wood…no way! I’ll really be interested to see your process.
    I think it is going to look great.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      December 20, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Interestingly, exposed wood frames (whether curved or not) are the easiest to upholster. You just staple right on top of the fabric right along the edge of the wood frame, trim the excess fabric, and then cover the stapled edge of the fabric with something like a double welt trim. Very simple! 🙂

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Theresa P
        December 20, 2016 at 10:40 am

        I was wondering about the exposed wood curved edges! Can you post pictures when you do it? This is going to be a great project. Right now you definitely have an ugly duckling, but I can totally see the vision! Have fun with this one!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        December 20, 2016 at 12:36 pm

        Are you saying you don’t need to remove the old fabric before you start stapling on the new fabric? You attach it right over it? If that’s the case, what a huge time-saver.

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          Paula Runyan
          December 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm

          Never! As an upholster that is a nightmare to deal with. I have had to take apart pieces that had up to 5 layers. Took me that many times longer to take apart. Ruins the lines of the piece too.
          Never mind the nasty stuff that builds up.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rebecca B
    December 20, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Hope you are going to get rid of all the stuffing before you bring it in your house or garage. Bedbugs are a serious problem.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      December 20, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Yep. I’ll strip it on my back patio, and everything will be new. But you know bedbugs are visible, right? As in, they’re not so tiny that you can’t see them with the naked eye. If a piece of furniture has bedbugs, you can see them and their trails of nastiness they leave behind. I’d be more afraid of finding a hidden rat or mouse inside the upholstery than being surprised by bedbugs after inspecting a piece of used furniture before buying it.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      December 20, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      If your worried about bed bugs, termites, etc. in used upholstered furniture, you can put the piece in a large plastic bag such as the ones used for moving mattresses or sofas, toss in a Hot Shot No-Pest strip or other pest strip with dichlorvos (DDVP), seal the bag, and let it sit for a week. Do not do this inside your house. It needs to be in a garage, carport, or covered patio area. After a week, let it air out for at least a day though I prefer 2-3 days before bringing it in.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mrs Mike
    December 20, 2016 at 9:44 am

    I’ve never heard of this fabric, but it’s lovely! I love that with a neutral sofa, you can dress it up or down with pops of color just by adding pillows. Definitely a diamond in the ruff, but I’m sure you will make it look spectacular!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Great find!!! I love it and you are going to make it look gorgeous! Putting my two cents in……i love the painted wood on the couch. All antique white is gorgeous! Merry Christmas 💚

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 9:57 am

    This is the absolute best tutorial for reupholstering a sofa!
    We did ours twice. We actually redid it because we used a non breathable fabric and whenever you sat down it kind of ballooned up until the air escaped the vents. It would cause kind of a ripple across the cushion which was awful if you sat anything or anyone else on the couch. The fabric also doesn’t breathe so it was like sitting on a plastic sheet, no fun in the summer. It wasn’t for us at all! We used chenille the second time around.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I love this and you got a great deal! Can’t wait until it’s finished!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Ditto all the great comments and just hurry up… am anxious to see it!!!!! 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

    That upholstery qote is super reasonable. But as a DIYer i now its a hard bill to consider especially if you have a little bit of experience. Excited to see the results!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 10:49 am

    That fabric is pretty and seems very durable, too. A hard combo to find. I’m thinking a soft light gray might look good with the colors in your room if you decide to paint the wood. Happy holidays to you and your family Kristi.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marianne in Mo.
    December 20, 2016 at 10:50 am

    I’d heard of Crypton fabric a few years ago (used to work in a fabric/decor store) and at the time, I thought MIND BLOWING stuff! But we never sold it or even saw it in person. I wonder how it is to sew with? Probably just like leather I would guess.

    For venting on a sofa we bought once, they had the “fashion” fabric go under the seat about 6-8 inches on the front edge, where they seamed a breathable fabric to continue to the rest of the seat. This kept the underside from looking different if the cushion bottom were exposed a bit when sitting. They also had folded the “box” sides under with a long overlap at the point where they normally would be stitched together to allow air to escape. (Hope you get what I mean here.) I hated that I couldn’t flip the cushions (kids, dogs = messes!) and did not even know the sofa was constructed that way until they delivered it. Had never seen that before! Now we have a leather sofa and the cushions are all attached to the main parts, so again, no flipping of cushions. :-/
    Love your find, and fabric. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Anne Looby
    December 20, 2016 at 11:01 am

    950 is not a bad price. We would pay twice that plus the fabric. I would suggest you try to find a way to keep the down and feathers. Usually a really good sofa has down and feathers that are wrapped in Dacron. That is the way my sofa in the living room is and I got it as a floor sample 22 years ago for 1600. The regular price was 2800. It is was a really good brand, but I don’t think they are in business any longer. I am surprised that the brand name is not under the center cushion. That is usually where you find it on a good sofa. I like the lines and the wood. HOpe it all works out for you.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sue Schlange
    December 20, 2016 at 11:13 am

    First off, when I read the name of the fabric, Crypton, my immediate thought was Superman and all the Superheros could come over and sit on your newly upholstered sofa! Second thought was I will be paying close attention here as I just decided I’d like to re-do my sofa.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Just did a sofa with crypton Maxwell in Pewter and look almost exactly the same as your fabric. Love love love it. Your gonna be very happy. I did a grey velvet trim too! In love ! Great choice! You are AmazinG !

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    It’s a traditional size, has good bones is it’s going to look great. It’s horrifying how large furniture has gotten. I bought a sofa years ago that was covered with a hideous print. Using directions from a Time-Life book, I made a washable slipcover out of a heavy gray and white pinstriped twill. It still looks good, even though it’s getting faded and frayed. I just call it “shabby chic.”

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    WOW!!! You have hit the Daily Double! Beautiful lines on the sofa and the price of the Crypton is amazing. If you decide to keep and re-use the feathers & down you can wash them in very small batches using pillowcases sewn shut (using detergent made for “down”). It’s a tedious process if done correctly, but the payoff is huge as those products are super expensive.
    Just a thought…perhaps your upholsterer would trade their labor for the clean feathers and down?
    Looking forward to the transformation of your Ugly Duckling.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    I guess you don’t like the sofa you painted? Would you still recommend painting? Thanks, Ellen

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    I have a pair of chairs upholstered in Crypton. My upholsterer did not do any ‘venting’ fabric or holes and the seams are just fine after almost 7 years. The zipper is enough. It may depend on which Crypton you use (mine is faux suede), or how you sew the cushion cover.

    What I will say is that the fabric has no give, which means that the furniture can feel extremely firm, and not cushy at all. My cushions are down wrapped, and the foam was not replaced with the reupholstery, so I know how the cushions felt before, and they weren’t this firm. It’s not uncomfortable to me, but others find it dissatisfying to not ‘sink in’ a bit more than they do.

    It is amazing fabric in terms of stain resistance and easy clean up, even with pets. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Oh!!! It’s PERFECT!!!! I absolutely can not wait to see what you do with it!!! What a great find!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 20, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Will the back still have the 3-piece look or will you also make that look sleeker like the bottom cushion?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      December 20, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      I’m hoping to railroad the fabric on all of those long areas so that they’re all covered in just one piece rather than three.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 21, 2016 at 7:38 am

    I thought you wanted a green or purple sofa? Did you change your mind or does Crypton not have a color that appeals to you? Just curious.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 21, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Sounds awesome! Will definitely be following along. Here is a link to a method for making a long cushion and transferring the down feathers with a diy bazooka that you might find useful

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Love the style. It’s very similar to the love seat I have. Also a thrift store find.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Genelle McDaniel
    December 22, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    I’m drooling over that Clooney Bayleaf! That’s my color. I have two older couches, and one of them needs to be recovered. The bayleaf would go great with the new upholstry on the other one.