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!

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • Melissa
    November 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    This is a great book. Very detailed and easy to follow. Love it!

  • Bonnie Mieth
    November 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Adore Spruce – beautiful shop and lovely people! Hope to get my hands on their new book soon! I need the help… my upholstery skills consist of fabric glue with a knack for picking out pretty fabric. ;-)

    Love your fabric choices!!

  • Izzy
    November 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve been dying to try an upholstered headboard! This would be a big help :)

  • Caitlin
    November 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Sounds awesome! Upholstery has always been completely intimidating to me!

  • Karin
    November 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I bought a chair 2 years ago with the intent to upholster and keep chickening out! Would love to read this book and see how it’s done – the right way!

  • Dee
    November 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I just saw the trailer last month and recommended the book to our local library ! Can’t wait thread it , I have 2 wing back chairs to work on

  • Katharine
    November 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    One of my cats keeps peeing on my overstuffed chair. I’d love to know how to reupholster it myself!

  • Ryan
    November 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Pick meeeeeee! I love Amanda and all things Spruce.

  • Robin
    November 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I have so much old furniture I want to reupholster. I’d love this book!

  • Boni B
    November 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    So glad this book is out!! I have to reupholster my craigslist treasures and there are no upholstry classes in my area.

  • Mary
    November 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I have several sets of chairs that are crying out to be reupholstered. This book would be so helpful!!

  • sb
    November 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Needing to reupholster an ottoman.

  • afton
    November 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    this book looks amazing! good luck on the bed!

  • Patricia
    November 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I have a basement full of projects waiting for me to pay the big bucks for re-upholstery *or* for me to DIy. Yup, I would love this book. And my husband would too. Too many chairs in his man space.m

  • Mai-Brit
    November 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    I have a 14 foot sofa re-upholstery project I’ve been procrastinating on – my usual approach of winging it seems a little foolish for a job that big. This book might be all I need…and a little courage.

  • Jenny B
    November 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Oh my god! This could not have come at a better time! I have a 70’s ugly dusty polyester tweed sectional in my basement that I picked up at a thrift store for $40 because of it’s great lines (exactly the same as the red sofa pictured in the book, but with an additional love seat piece as well), and I’ve been getting up the nerve to try and figure out how to reupholster it! This book looks awesome. I guess if i don’t win I’ll have to buy it anyway…;)

  • Marcie
    November 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I NEED this book! I have a chair that I’ve been saving for reupholstery just as soon as I figure out what I’m doing. I know it can be beautiful, but my husband doesn’t have my vision. I’ve had to save it from the dumpster more than once. I hope I can prove him wrong.

  • Katie
    November 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Oh the things I could upholster. Oh the things.

  • Alison
    November 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I would love to learn more about reupholstering! There are too many sad couches out there.

  • Melissa
    November 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Perfect timing – I was just debating a pair of chairs on Craigslist but am intimidated by the reupholstery project.

  • Stephanie
    November 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I would love this book! Can’t wait to see your headboard project…I’d like to tackle an arm chair.

  • Linda R.
    November 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    This would be a great book for me – definitely need some confidence in this area!

  • Carlotta
    November 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Would love to win, I am dying to take on my dining room chairs

  • Lindsey
    November 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    YES! It’s on my 30 before 30 list (countdown to turning 30) of things to accomplish (by April!)

    I NEED to learn to reupholster something!

    Thanks for the tip about SPRUCE!

  • Lauren
    November 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I found a chair off the side of the road that I’m hoping to reupholster. This book would be a huge help!

  • sheema
    November 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    always was intrigued by the idea of giving furniture new life by upholstering

  • Jasmine
    November 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I’d love to learn how to upholster!

  • Katie Kimsey
    November 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I so need this book! I am the owner of one very ugly chair that I love despite its ugliness.

  • Clarisa Ramirez
    November 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Nicole, we can’t wait to see how you end up upholstering your bed! Is it just the headboard? Cute fabric! Thanks for writing about Spruce! It’s great to see so many people interested in upholstery!

  • christine
    November 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Upholstering can be a lot of fun if you have the time and patience as it requires a lot of work too.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Michelle
    November 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I think everyone has an item (or five) that is waiting around to be reupholstered. I know I do!!

  • Anne Marie
    November 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    How perfect, I’ve been wanting to reupholster my chair for months! I even have the fabric, just too intimidated to get started!

  • Erin @ house envy
    November 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I need this book! Thanks for sharing.

  • Karen
    November 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I have two chairs and a sofa hanging out in my attic waiting for me to get the nerve to reupholster them! Maybe this book could help me!

  • Annie
    November 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I’d love to have that book! I’ve long admired her work.

  • Katie
    November 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    What a great book! I tried to reupholster last year without any tutorial and it went ok – can’t wait to see what this book has to offer!

  • darah
    November 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I would love to redo two pieces of our furniture- but i’m just too nervous! Both pieces have been in our family for multiple generations and I would hate for it to not look amazing.

    awesome giveaway!

  • kate
    November 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Am planning on reupholstering an old chair for the first time…this book would really come in handy!!

  • Megan
    November 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Oh my!.. this would be so exciting to have!. After making a pretty great tuffted headboard for my bed (with individual buttons) and an ‘ok’ slip cover for a three seater lounge (made one afternoon in a mad rush ). I thought I could attempt to recover my collection of well loved chairs. I have a beautiful but threadbare club chair, two vintage tub chairs, an office chair and a mid-century timber/leather chair that I want to rejuvenate (can’t help collecting these things!!). I made a start on the club chair and got so confused with all the joints I packed it all up and tucked the fabric away. If you where so kind as to donate this book to me, I would: 1. promise to finish ALL my projects (including not chair related ones) and 2. promise to send you progress pics.
    Thank you thank you thank you!! (in advance :))

  • Rachel
    November 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I hope I win! But if I don’t, I’m definitely asking Santa for this book!

  • Mel
    November 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I would LOVE to win this book! I have tons of stuff I could reupholster if I had a but of a self-confidence booster!

  • Darcie
    November 12, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    This book looks amazing! Just what I need…

  • Christy Mandin
    November 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    OH man, do I ever need this!

  • C
    November 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I’ve been itching to try a reupholstery project. This would be perfect.

  • Jenn
    November 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Love the fabric you chose for your manly little man:) I need this book-ready to do my own guest room upholstered headboard project. Good luck to you, and me!

  • Elena
    November 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I have a much loved thrift store chair from college that I am DYING to reupholser! Fifteen years on, I think it’s time for a change.

  • Amy Hawkins
    November 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Would love to check out this book!

  • Katrina
    November 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I so need this book! I have so many chairs 6 to be exact that I need to recover for patio and this book would be the game changer I need! lol :)

  • Shannon
    November 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    OMG, i need this book! I keep biting off more than i can chew with my thrift store finds :)

  • Sally
    November 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Please let us see August’s headboard when you’re finished! And share how the process went!

  • megan
    November 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    We have two drab-y beige-y couches left over from my husband’s single days that I would love to recover!

  • Jennifer L
    November 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    What fun! Pick me! I am working to re-cover 4 matching chairs from the 1930’s.

  • Kristin
    November 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    This book looks amazing. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Laurel
    November 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Cool giveaway! Can’t wait to check out the book.

  • Kelsi
    November 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I would love this book!! I have a coupon projects I want to tackle as a first timer too!

  • Annie
    November 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I would love this book!

  • Vicky
    November 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Oooh, exciting! I have two Ikea Tullsta chairs in desperate need of some help!

  • Trish B
    November 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I need this book! We just got re-upholstery quotes for our super-comfy, 80’s-era round armchair and they are appallingly expensive!

  • Melissa
    November 12, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Love that fabric!
    These two tutorials are pretty good.

  • Whitney M
    November 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I haven’t tried upholstery but I would love too! Pick me!

  • elif
    November 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    My days of hacking upholstery jobs could be over? I need skills! Thanks!

  • Tena
    November 12, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    I got it in my head that I wanted to re-upholster a chair a few years ago. I bought a $25 thrift chair and got to work. IT WAS SO HARD! But, surprisingly, it looked good when I was done. I didn’t keep it because the fabric choice was bad, bad, bad. My next re-upholstery project was a little sofa for our bedroom. I took everything I had learned with the chair and applied it to my sofa project and IT WASN’T HARD AT ALL. We love having a little sofa in our bedroom and it only cost about $200.

    This book looks really great!

  • marly z.
    November 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    What a great book! And the fabric is amazing.

  • Nicole
    November 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I have so many projects in the works; this book sure would come in handy!

  • K athy
    November 12, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Super cute fabric! I have 4 dining room chairs that need work desperately.
    They go with a really cool lucite and glass table.

  • Sara
    November 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I’ve upholstered a headboard and chairs with webbing but I’d love to dig in to harder projects with this book.

  • Korin A.
    November 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Hip hip hooray. I would love to rock some upholstery skills.

  • Allison
    November 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I’ve always wanted to tackle some upholstery projects!

  • Tonya
    November 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Oooo, I hope I win. I have a vintage Paoli rocking chair that’s begging, and a professional job is outside my budget. I would totally rip into that myself!

  • Sarah J.
    November 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I’d love to try reupholstering a project! Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Stephanie O.
    November 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    I’m so excited about this book! Thanks for offering up the giveaway. I’ve done dining chairs before but I want to tackle a slipper or occasional chair – or a sofa!

  • Karen
    November 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    What a great book. My husband and I are building a bench that I’m going to attempt to upholster and tuft. This would be a great resource.

  • Elissa
    November 12, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Huh. I think this book may give me enough courage to finally reupholster the hideous (but super comfortable) floral couch I have.

  • LK
    November 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I love makeovers! I took an upholstery class last century, and was so proud of myself for reworking one of my Grandma’s chairs. Now if only I had continued to use that knowledge. I definitely need a refresh!

  • Elizabeth @ hobbylobbyist
    November 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I would love to take on an upholstery project. I hope I win.

  • Susie
    November 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Oh, goody – I have a window seat I need to reupholster and this would be tremendously helpful!

  • Lisa V
    November 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Love “The Captain’s Retreat”!
    I’ve got a chair that was in my Grandparent’s living room and I’ve been wanting to reupholster it for years. I’m kinda scared of doing it…this book would be so great to have during the process.

  • Sharon Flasche
    November 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I would love to learn how to re-cover a Victorian recliner, love the chair but hate the cover.

  • Sheila S
    November 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I picked a neutral fabric for the upholstered bed I bought a few years ago.
    But now, deep purple is calling my name – and this book, too!

  • Rebecca Howdeshell
    November 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Love, love this opportunity, thanks for offering it!

  • Christie
    November 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    The book looks great!

  • Kelly
    November 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    I always vastly over estimate my upholstering abilities when I take on projects. This is exactly what I need.

  • Tamsin
    November 12, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    What a great book! I hope I win, so I can start my projects….

  • April
    November 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    So excited! Must pick this up even if I don’t win!

  • Susan
    November 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I have tons of tutorials and examples pinned for a headboard for our bed, so this would be awesome!

  • Cara
    November 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I’ve been wanting to learn upholstery forever. I have lots of big ambitions for old chairs, but no skills to back it up (yet)!

  • Arli
    November 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I would love to be able to upholster my grandma’s chairs so I can then actually use them!

  • Karla
    November 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I have a whole list of upholstery projects I want to dive into, I just need to find the time…

  • Meredith K A
    November 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Ooooo would I love this! I have a chair I love that I will one day attempt to re-upholster, and this book would make that day come much sooner.

  • Jody
    November 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Great giveaway!! This would come in really handy for a few projects I have up my sleeve for our new home :)

  • Miya
    November 12, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Would love to try this!

  • Ella
    November 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I was just looking for upholstering resources. I was given an antique couch in very bad condition that I would love to recover.

  • Jennifer
    November 12, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Perfect timing.

    I have a foot stool and wingback arm chair that need reupholstering, as well as a daybed that has some funky spring mattress that makes it domed–not ideal if your hoping to nap.

    I will admit I’ve always been more wary of trying to choose the upholstery fabric than the actual reupholstering. Perhaps because in 5 years I’ve never gotten past the fabric choice.

  • Casa Hardin-Aleman
    November 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Good luck on your son’s bed. I’ve signed up for an upholstery class starting in January (unfortunately I live in a state that only offers 1 class every 3 months with 6 slots available, no joke!). I’m chomping at the bit to get started! Look forward to hearing what you thought of the process & the seeing the end project.

  • Annie
    November 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Pick me, please!!

  • Samae
    November 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I have wanted to learn for a while, but it always scared the shit out of me! I know its just fabric but the sewing part always intimidated me. But, I would love to learn and if Nicole says this book is legit it has to be. So pick me, please!! :)

    PS> That lamp is awesome!

  • Jamie Rowe
    November 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I have like 15 projects on deck but 0 experience. A book like that would come in handy.

  • Mary A
    November 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I would love to win!

  • Grace
    November 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    I have two chairs from the 40s that I have wanted to reupholster for years. This book would be perfect!

  • Ginny
    November 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I have a chair that was salvaged from my hometown high school’s band hall before it was torn down to make way for a new facility. It is probably from the 70’s – (torn) brown Naugahyde with wooden arms and legs – but it has good bones! I’ve had it for nearly 10 years and have been dying to do something with it, but am afraid to start. Help me!

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