August's Room The Victorian House

The Spruce Upholstery Book, and Plans for August’s Bed

I know how to upholster a simple chair seat. Years of Trading Spaces viewings taught me to start with a staple in the center, pull the fabric taut to the opposite side, staple, and work out from there. Beyond that though? I don’t know. Stick some batting in there under the fabric if you’re feeling fancy, and call it a day? And forget about webbing and springs. That wasn’t covered by Hildi. Of course, my lack of knowledge in this area didn’t stop me from purchasing an inexpensive wooden framed bed for August’s room, with the intent to upholster it.

I waffled between several blue fabric choices, but I fell for a design with tree slices during a recent trip to IKEA. The color palette is neutral, and I’m thinking of it as a manly take on polka dots. You know, for my manly two-year-old.

Boy's Bed Upholstery Fabric

I felt like I could approach the project with my limited sewing skill set and do a decent job, but I wanted to do an amazing! job. I searched for tutorials online, but there are a lot of people out there putting out a lot of tutorials with questionable methods. Then I heard word that Spruce’s Amanda Brown was coming out with a book (Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design), so when I was asked to take part in her online book tour, I agreed.

The book is divided among five key projects, and from those, you can adapt the techniques to whichever piece you want to work on. It’s thorough and covers what I would consider to be complex reupholstering jobs, but everything feels doable rather than overwhelming. I’m paying close attention to the section on the frame of a three-seater sofa, as it’s pretty close to what I’ll be doing to the bed.

Upholstering a Sofa

Win a Copy of the Book!

Do you have any upholstering to do? The Spruce book tour and classes are about to start, and they’re also holding a giveaway with their “Ugliest Chair” contest on Facebook right now.

I received a copy of the book for review, but I’m also giving a copy away. Just leave a comment below to enter*, and I’ll choose a winner at random. Good luck! And be sure to visit the other blogs participating in the online book tour.
Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design

Open to US residents only, 18 and over. Ends Friday at midnight, CT.

*The giveaway has ended. Congratulations to the winner, Annie!

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  • Chelsea
    November 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Please please please pick me, random number generator. I have some pieces in desperate need of some love. and thanks for the chance to win!

  • Siera
    November 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I bought a few chairs to reupholster without knowing how to do it. What perfect timing!

  • Andrea
    November 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    YAY! I know it sounds simple, but I have an ottoman I would love to recover!

  • Katie
    November 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Ooo fun!! Thank you for the opportunity :) We are on the new-homeowner-budget at the moment, so this book could help transform our fugly chairs into something that isn’t so embarrassing!

  • Margaret
    November 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I just put this on my wishlist!!

  • jane
    November 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I have 4 pieces in line to reupholster~ I would love to reference this book and try to tackle one of them myself.

  • Lauren Longenecker
    November 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I would love to win! I’ve been dying to reupholster a few chairs but it seems daunting. This would be a great resource. Pick me!

  • sara
    November 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I would love to learn more. I have a chair, w/ a half completed slip cover that I put aside. And two squares / ottomans. (Boing! idea! – that Ikea wood fabric would look pretty cool on an ottoman beside the fireplace.)

  • Laurie
    November 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I inherited a couch and chair that are in bad need of work, looking forward to seeing this book!

  • Maggie
    November 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I’d love to learn how to do this! I have these gorgous cane-back louis chairs taht I want to put new seat cushions on, but they have very particular corners and the seats have piping so it’s a little more complicated than my standard chair recovering. Eventually I’d like to do a bigger project!

  • Kate
    November 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Ohhh this would be such a timely book to win! I have two retro chairs and two mid century sofas that all need to be reupholstered…and I planned on tackling it myself, but with the same amount of upholstery knowledge as you, I could also use a peek in this book! *fingers crossed* :)

  • Nikki
    November 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Oh this book looks wonderful! I have a horrible mauve chair that needs some love and I keep chickening out of reupholstering it!

  • Holly
    November 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I’d bookmarked that crewel chair in the trailer back when it was on Design Sponge. It’s gorgeous and I would love to experiment on a $10 vinyl wingback chair I have in an extra bedroom.

  • Laura @ Rather Square
    November 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    We have so many upholstery projects planned and not sure how to go about them. So we’d love this book!

  • Kate
    November 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I have always wanted to learn how to do upholstery! I got some fabric to do a simple stool, but hope to one day be able to do more complicated things.

  • Melissa
    November 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I have many upholstery projects and very little experience – this book would help!

  • Mari
    November 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Oh! This is one book I really would love to own! So many pieces, so many questions! I have my husbands grandmother’s two dining chairs I’d love to do in a royal velvety blue and a rocker from another grandmother I like to do in cowhide! Pleeeeaaase pick me!

  • kristi
    November 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Hey, I totally need that. If I don’t win ill put it on my christmas list.

  • Hilary
    November 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I have some seriously ugly sofas that could use the Spruce upholstery book! I’ve been keeping them in a far away storage unit–not thinking about them.

  • Elisabeth
    November 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Super great resource!! I need this book!!

  • Megan
    November 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I would love to start tackling some of my reupholstering projects, and this book would be SO helpful! Thanks for the chance to win.

  • jackie
    November 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve done a few beginner projects but could definitely use this book. Good luck with your project!

  • Chelsea T
    November 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    When my daughter was 3 weeks old, in the dead of winter, and while my husband was away for a month of work training, I reupholstered a 3-seater couch with sofa bed. Didn’t really know what I was doing, except to staple the hell out of it. I used foam from Hancock Fabrics, and it was the most uncomfortable, firm POS I ever sat on. But, I was determined to make it work, until I found another free couch. This one was comfy with down pillows, and I reupholstered that one too. You know, in the two weeks before Christmas when my in-laws were coming to stay.

    There’s now a wingback in my garage awaiting the same treatment, but I’m a bit worn out (and my Husband is tired of being poked with wayward staples!) This book would be the perfect thing to teach me how to actually do these things. Fingers crossed!

  • Michelle
    November 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I have a ridiculous amount of furniture projects collected in my basement. I could definitely use this book! :)

  • Mandi
    November 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    What a great looking book! I’d love to redo a second hand bench for my bedroom – I’d like to add pleated tufting, but that’s way outside my current skill set.

  • Brooke
    November 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Oh, I think this book was meant for me and an upholstered bench I salvaged from a hotel. It needs some serious love and I’ve been too intimidated to start.

  • kara
    November 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    love your treering polkadots! and would love to up my upholstering game from dining room chairs to something a little more advanced. thanks for sharing :)

  • carol
    November 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I have a few items i would like to recover. this book would certainly help!

  • Tiffany W,
    November 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Fingers crossed! I tried to upholster a glider once and it was a disaster. I’d love to learn how to fix it up proper!

  • Jessica
    November 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Wow, I would LOVE to win this book! I inherited some chairs from my mom that were my grandmother’s. They desperately need recovering. It’s something I’ve thought about doing myself, but I’ve been hesitant because I don’t want to screw it up so badly that it needs to be professionally fixed. That’s why I haven’t taken it to an upholsterer already, can’t afford it!

  • Jennifer
    November 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Upholstering is something that I’ve always wanted to approach (with pieces waiting, mind you). Thank you for the opportunity to win the book! I feel as though I may just conquer this…one day.

  • Stacia
    November 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I found some awesome antique chairs in the alley behind our apartment, and I am still trying to figure out how to reupholster those babies! This book looks great and thanks for sharing!

  • cathyv
    November 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Yep, I need this book. In all my years of “trying” to upholster, this would have helped.
    Thank you

  • Leah
    November 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    ooh man, this book looks beautiful and fantastically helpful!

  • MichelleB
    November 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I’d love the chance to learn something useful like this! Looking forward to your review and seeing the finished project! (LOVE the fabric)

  • Laurie
    November 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is such perfect timing! I have a darling arm chair that I ruined and really need to reupholster it. I even have cute upholstery fabric hanging around.

    If I luck out, this book may also help me repair and recover my little Duncan Phyfe chairs I’ve been holding onto for years because I love them but no one can safely sit on them.

    Also, I adore that wood slice fabric! Of course, I would though, I live in Oregon! The wood slice is a symbol for the Portland Timbers!

  • Elizabeth Speicher
    November 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    What a lovely give-away. This would be so helpful for the two chairs I acquired this summer by dumpster diving.
    Frames are in great shape, upholstery not so great and my upholstery skills are even worse.

  • Brandi G
    November 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I would love to have this book. I have several different projects that need upholstery and I’m just not sure where to begin.

  • Christine
    November 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I’m currently looking for fabric to reupholster a great chair from my grandmother for our nursery. This would be the perfect thing for me!

  • Jill
    November 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Ooh. Can’t wait to see what you do. I’ve been contemplating a headboard project, too.

  • Mandolin Lewis
    November 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I am planning in buying this book whether or not I win because I’ve been following spruce for quite some time now. I recently purchased a vintage sofa I plan on reupholstering so this book would certainly be welcome in my house!

  • Sarah A.
    November 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I have the ugliest chair, that desperately needs this book! Oh, I can’t wait to reupholster it. Love the Trading Spaces reference… I definitely think I can make a slip cover because of that show!

  • Jessica
    November 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Help…I desperately need this book! I have a couch that I love but my husband hates the fabric and I need this book to help me reupholster it….pleading…please! -thanks!

  • Jaclynn
    November 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Omg, you have no idea how many chairs I’ve bought with the idea of reupholstering them myself only to sell them a couple of months later instead!

  • Celeste
    November 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I have no less than five chairs, a settee, and a headboard/footboard combo that I’ve collected over the last three years, hoarding until I finally find the courage to tackle a REAL upholstery project. This book is already on my wish list, would love a copy!

    November 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I really want to reupholster some dinning chairs we bought from Craigslist but I don’t know where to begin. This book is what I need!!

  • Marina
    November 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Love Spruce! Been following their blog for awhile now. Wish they had a book stop in the Midwest!

  • Maggie
    November 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve had an upholstered headboard on my to-do list for years. This book may finally kick me into action.

  • Katie
    November 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I would love to own this book! I just tried my hand at my first upholstery project, with mixed results. I’d love more guidance!

  • pam grieco
    November 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    OH… I have a few chairs I would love to re-upholster, this would come in handy!

  • linda mcdonnell
    November 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Please pick me. I need to get over my re-upholstery paralysis.

  • Katie
    November 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Entering my name for the hope of winning the book also! :) I upholstered a small chair a few years back without bothering to redo the stained wood that would show (that wasn’t in very good condition). And since then, a spring has broken anyway, so it just needs to be totally redone. :)

  • Kat S
    November 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I reupholstered that same bed for my girl – it’s pretty easy! You can do it!

  • Thea
    November 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I have this book on my wishlist now!

  • Virginia (The Heartographer)
    November 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Oooh, pick me, Goddess of Random! Or not; I’m sure all of us would make good use of it. I’ve been slow to get into the DIY trend and I’ve always been afraid of sewing machines, but my desire to cheaply reupholster stuff is getting the better of me. (I keep getting quotes that are like six times the cost of the original piece so I’m coming around.) This sounds like an AWESOME tool to help us learn!

    My first project (winner or not) is a stupid unfinished Ikea bench and cheap pine chair, just so I can have a practice run before my first REAL project of these two great cane and wood wishbone chairs I got for $20.

  • Kelly
    November 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Would love to reupholster two chairs that I have been on my project list for 8 years!

  • Ellen
    November 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    The book looks beautiful! Last year, I upholstered my the headboard of my daughter’s bed, using foam, batting, muslin, and fabric.

  • JP
    November 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Love your fabric! Would love the book, too!

  • Nicole K
    November 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!! I hope to win :)

  • Katie
    November 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I’d love to tackle an upholstery project, but I’ve been a big chicken so far.

  • Lucia Moore
    November 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Love the tree slices fabric:)

  • Dana
    November 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Must have this book!!! :)

  • Linda
    November 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    OH OH I have an ugly chair that needs some love! I have had the chair for 2 years and keep staring at it wondering where to start…

  • jenn aka the picky girl
    November 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    This book is exactly what I’ve been looking for, exquisite and useful. Thanks!

  • Rebecca
    November 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I need this! I have actually spent the entire summer thinking about learning upholstery. I even have furniture in the garage to practice with I bought at estate sales.

  • Madeline
    November 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    It’s one of my unfulfilled ambitions in life to learn how to reupholster! Maybe winning this book would inspire me to tackle a project!

  • Libbey
    November 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Would love this book. Thanks for featuring!

  • mary
    November 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    i have done some minimal upholstery stuff but want to expand to bigger projects. please o please!

  • Joanne
    November 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    My name is Joanne, and I have a chair problem. I find them on the side of the road and take them home. With every intention of re-upholstering them. It’s just my fear of screwing it up gets in the way. I need this book.

  • Kelly
    November 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    All I’ve done are chair seats (with extra batting – I love that you call that “fancy!”) and I’m ready to move on to the next step!

  • Karen @sugarspicelivin
    November 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Pick me. Please. I need to do a headboard for our master bedroom!!

  • Krista
    November 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I’d love to win this book!! I have two particularly awesome chairs I inherited from my grandma, but the brown velvet fabric doesn’t quit “go” well in either our fancy parlor or our family parlor.

  • Sigita
    November 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I have an arm chair my dogs are using it at the moment, but I’d love to give it a second chance.

  • Jessica W.S.
    November 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I would love a copy of this! I have an adorable chair that needs to be reupholstered and this would help so much!

  • Meg
    November 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Would love to win the book! I’ve always wanted to learn how to upholster complicated pieces, it’s definitely an art form!

  • Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms
    November 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Wow! What an awesome book! I would love to learn how to upholster!

  • Amy S
    November 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I would love this!

  • Kristin Cronkright
    November 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Awesome! I’ve always wanted to learn the art of upholstery. Pick me, pick me!

  • Sara Anne
    November 12, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I have a beautiful 1950s chair from my great-grandma. My cats have decided to kill the mustard-yellow boucle upholstery, and it needs help!

  • April
    November 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I supa want this book, but the $35 is a little steep, especially for someone who is wanting to save money by self-reupholstering. I’d love to win it!!

  • alisa
    November 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    This is EXACTLY what I have been needing!!! Ever since having chair envy for your Anthro orange chair (if only we knew of Chairish then!), I have been wanting to reupholster my grandmother’s wing back chair using the same fabric. I found a guy via craigslist who sells the anthro fabrics, and I have just been freaked out about tackling it. Of course, ever since I have planned this, my palette has changed. Go figure.

  • Chloe R.
    November 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    My husband has banned any new projects from entering our house until I finish (well, start and then finish!) the motley collection of chairs that I already have. So I really need to get going with that. I made the mistake of stopping by Jubilee Furniture last week, and ended up wandering about wistfully gazing at chairs that just needed a bit of paint and new upholstery…

  • andee
    November 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I would love to win this book! It would let be much more adventurous on craiglist!

  • susan
    November 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    That book is awesome! If I don’t win it, I’m definitely going to go out hunting for it. I wish she was hosting classes in California :O(

  • Kelly
    November 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    The timing couldn’t be more perfect! I just picked up TWO vintage chairs upholstered in orange tweed. They are in desperate need of a make over and I don’t have a clue where to start!

  • Lauren
    November 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I’d love to win a copy of this book. I have a chair I don’t love, but could live with, if I could reupholster it myself. Winning the book would also make my husband happy that he doesn’t have to hear me complain about the chair anymore…

  • Johanna
    November 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I’d love this!

  • Colleen
    November 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Oh, I would LOVE this book. I have several chairs that are begging for new upholster, but I’m too chicken to try it.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Tara Jane
    November 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Awesome. I have 3 chairs in waiting for new upholstery! Bring it on.

  • Jen V.
    November 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I have a sofa that desperately needs to be reupholstered. I am scared, but honestly, how hard could it be? Maybe the book would be enough motivation for me to try?

  • Kelly
    November 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I picked up two vintage chairs upholstered in orange tweed. They are in desperate need of a make-over and I haven’t a clue how to do it!

  • Martha
    November 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I agree…there are so many conflicting sets of instructions out there…this book looks great!

  • Mleeka
    November 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Pick me! It’s already on my Christmas wish list, and I can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Andrea S
    November 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Would love this book. We have a habit of collecting furniture to recover one day…the whole basement is full of it……including an 8ft church pew that needs reupholstered.

  • Erin K.
    November 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I love that there is an online book tour for this – such a novel concept!

  • Kim
    November 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I would love to get this book for my mother for Christmas. She has been talking about learning to reupholster furniture for years!

  • BreAnne Neuman
    November 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Pick Me! I’ve destroyed a few upholstery jobs :)

  • Jen
    November 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Would love this!

  • Roxana
    November 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I would love to win this book. After watching every season of Sarah’s House, Sarah 101, etc…all I want to do is buy awesome thrift store furniture and reupholster it in my chicago loft!

  • Amanda
    November 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    i wonder if i could reupholster my whole sofa…

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