If you have an ongoing love affair with an old, unsightly couch, stop hiding it in the basement. All you need are a few buttons, some fabric spray paint and a nice neon-colored bolster or two to give the object of your affection a modern makeover that even a professional designer would appreciate.
If your couch has beautiful bones that are hidden beneath a hideous color, enliven it with a few coats of fabric spray paint. Painted couches are catching on in the design world, and paint manufacturers are feeding this eclectic fire. Fabric spray paint, which goes on just like any other paint, seals to a secure and transfer-free finish. Just don't expect this recycling method to come cheaply; most sofas need several coats, and at around $12 per can, it adds up quickly. If you like the whole spray-painted couch idea, but lack the nerve to go all-in, try painting just the top or bottom cushions, or even some throw pillows to layer on top of your old behemoth. You might even paint the wood or metal trim on your couch, using the appropriate paint, of course.
If you have just the opposite problem -- beautiful cushions on a couch that lacks a good skeletal frame -- send the frame to the landfill and build a simple platform to take its place. Position it against a wall and decorate it with your existing cushions for an instant contemporary couch. Or, make a few ultra-modern throw pillows by covering squares of foam in solid-colored fabrics and displaying them on your old couch. Try adding or removing legs on an old couch to give it a new, trendier feel.
Stiffen up those saggy-baggy back cushions by tufting them with upholstered buttons. Use an ordinary upholstery needle and thread to attach pretty store-bought buttons to couch cushions. Pay attention to the measuring and placement of each button to get the most professional look. Metallic beads serve the same purpose -- to give sagging couch cushions a fabric facelift -- but they add a little modern zing at the same time. Alternatively, lean a little on the vintage side by running a bead of nailhead trim along the bottom of your recycled treasure.
Make It Look Shabby
Probably the easiest, most cost-effective method of recycling an old couch is simply to cover it shabby-chic style. If you're going the white sheet route, use a luxurious sheet that drapes softly around the curves and contours of your couch -- Egyptian cotton or a similar high-thread count sheet. It not only looks divine, but encases you in warm, creamy comfort as you recline. If you have a white quilt that you're willing to sacrifice, consider using it. Expect a couch cover to receive moderate wear and tear, however. Using Great-Grandma's heirloom wedding quilt is not recommended. A simple white chenille bedspread also gives your old couch a new shabby-chic identity. Add a few throw pillows made from vintage doilies and eyelet lace to make it truly shabby.