Interior Decor and Styling, Vintage Style

Living Room Changes: Vintage Sofa Makeover Ideas

Spring has officially arrived and that means it’s time to start tackling all of the DIY projects I have been planning all winter. Right now we are right in the middle of installing a shiplap accent wall in the dining room and also doing little bits of tidying up to the basement and garage so we actually have room to work on some of the projects! I had an order and budget all organized and planned out, but I wasn’t expecting our sofa to start tearing up! We have a bonded leather sofa that has served us well for the past four years, but the faux leather is starting to crack and peel in some places and it won’t be long until we have a mess.

Last week I shared my Early Spring Home Tour with some full shots of our living room. While I was working on editing photos I started thinking that maybe a lighter couch would be better in the space to match all the other neutral pieces of furniture we have. In “real life” the sofa is dark brown, but it comes across as black in photos, and it actually seems to darken the space as the eye is drawn toward the center of the room.


A couple of days after posting the tour I noticed the peeling material, so my husband and I started discussing the idea of getting a new sofa. Although there are some DIY ways to repair peeling leather and faux leather, we both decided that we wanted a lighter color leather or possibly a linen sofa or slip covered sofa instead. I would love to just be able to use a slip cover, but the back cushions are actually sewn to the frame of the couch, so a slip cover won’t work. I know it can be chalk painted, but I have decided against that already.


chesterfield Mel & Liza: June 2012

Our dream sofa is a vintage Chesterfield in a light camel brown color, but we don’t want to pay the hefty price that goes along with it! There are some faux leather chesterfields that are affordable and look impressive, but after a few years we would probably be right back in the same situation with peeling material. This past weekend we hit some furniture stores in our area, but there was nothing we liked. We also spent some time looking online for Chesterfields in our price range, but no luck.


HERITAGE STYLE Fortunata Sofa, Oatmeal The cabriole legs, graceful silhouette, and padded arm manchettes of this sofa are exemplars of classic French elegance. The organic texture of the oak and the linen upholstery, however, update it with contemporary flair.


Next I headed to Pinterest to get some ideas for other types of couches and sofas that would match our decor and vintage style. I have always been in love with French Country, Queen Anne or camel back style sofas. Because we have another family room with comfy, family-friendly furniture to lounge in, having a more formal sofa in the living room is not out of the question, although it will still be used daily.


Grandover Camel Back Sofa with Exposed Wood Frame and Nailhead Trim by Hooker Furniture - Gill Brothers Furniture - Sofa Muncie, Anderson, Madison County, Delaware County, Indiana


When I was looking for inspiration, I came across some pictures of camel back, sometimes called “Chippendale” style sofas with beautiful wood details. Because of all of the dark woodwork that is in our home, I think this type of couch could be lovely, especially when upholstered in a neutral linen or ivory which would make the wood details stand out.

Love this look for front living room



amusing-camel-back-sofa-for-your-home-decor.jpg (1000×817)


Buy Antiques and Update Buy classic pieces with good bones and reupholster them. Rate My Space just-beachy purchased an antique Duncan Phyfe sofa on Craigslist and reupholstered it in an oyster chenille fabric.


The more I started thinking about how good this style of sofa would look along with all of my other shabby chic and French country farmhouse furnishings and decor, the more I liked the idea! But where to find one at an affordable price? I have extreme allergies to dust mites and molds, and quite honestly I don’t really trust buying used upholstered furniture.

Then, just like that, out of nowhere I remembered this…

Last year one of my very best friends had asked me if I would be interested in purchasing her vintage camel back sofa, and the asking price was super cheap! As soon as I remembered the sofa, the little wheels started turning in my head and I could barely contain my excitement!

Vintage Sofa Makeover chippendale camel back vintage sofa

Her house is super clean and mold free. The sofa has just been sitting in her formal living room for years, barely used and taking up space where she is wanting to put some built in bookshelves. I called her right away to see the sofa was still for sale, and she said I could have it as soon as I wanted it! She texted me a picture so I could show it to my husband, that way we could try to figure out if we could reupholster it ourselves. He agreed it was a great deal and we could make it work somehow, so I called her back and bought it! If by some chance we come across a steal on a leather chesterfield down the road, the camel back sofa style will work great in my music room too.

Now I am envisioning the sofa pictured above, looking like the sofa below!

Seersucker upholstered camelback sofa


Now we just have to decide on exactly what fabric to use and how to go about reupholstering it. The good news is that my husband’s grandparents had an upholstery shop, and he knows the basics and has recovered a few smaller pieces over the years. Between the two of us we should be able to figure it out! I had been thinking a solid color or drop cloth until I saw this photo, and now I am loving the idea of using a neutral ticking stripe or seersucker fabric. I also want the cushions to be individual, removable covers that will be machine washable. I could also use a slip cover similar to the one below until we get around to the makeover. What do you think friends?



I am so excited about the new look this couch will give our living room along with some other little refreshes I am doing with the decor. I am thinking of adding some well-made curtains like the ones from Deconovo to the long windows on each side of the fireplace too. I hope to be able to reveal the changes in an early summer home tour post, around the first of June.

Thanks so much for stopping by today! If you have ever reupholstered this type of sofa, I would love to hear any tips or suggestions you may have.

Wish us luck on the makeover!




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1 Comment

  • Reply Amanda

    Love these ideas! I really like the makeover of this vintage sofa. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks a lot for sharing the great article.

    August 7, 2018 at 3:18 am
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