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A Quick Guide for How to Remove Upholstery on Old Furniture

Antique Couch Upholstery

After long enough, even the most elegant, best loved upholstery can wear out. Whether years of heavy use, a change of aesthetics, or an unfortunate incident with the family pet have made removing upholstery a necessity, you’ll be glad to know the process is actually fairly simple.

First you’ll need the right tools. Ideally that’s a dedicated staple puller (tool inventors weren’t always the most creative namers). However, in a pinch, you could use really any thin metal piece, like an ice pick or flathead screwdriver.

Staple Puller

Pliers should come in handy as well – both for pulling out stubborn staples and for getting the job started. Use the pliers to rip up the trimming, and then keep going until you’ve got it all off and made a nice mess of things, possibly including your fingers.

From there, try pulling up the fabric in a continuous piece if the staples allow you to have your way with it. It’s a good idea to keep this to base new fabric on so you don’t have to make a load of measurements or over-purchase.

Reupholstered Couch

The staples are the tedious part. You might be able to alternate between ripping up the upholstery and plucking the metal out, or you may have to do one after the other. Either way, always be careful – you’re dealing with some old, sharp metal that could be rusted. Keep those eyes and hands safe!

Photo Credits (from top): RedsZone, my DIY adventures, and Ideal Upholstery