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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  • JoannC
    November 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    My couch can certainly use this book. Thanks!

  • michele double you
    November 12, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I can’t imagine how awesome it would be to have this. I have such ideas already!

  • Rachel
    November 13, 2013 at 12:02 am

    So many upholstery projects on the docket. I can think of 4 in the living room alone!

  • Carrie Lea
    November 13, 2013 at 12:18 am

    I bought an amazing 1950’s couch last year intending to have it reupholstered and my dog had to have surgery, so every spare dime went to that, and now it’s still sitting in my parents garage. :-(

  • Colleen
    November 13, 2013 at 12:19 am

    I have always dreamed of rescuing the world’s ugly chairs through reupholstery!

  • Malia
    November 13, 2013 at 12:24 am

    This looks great. Yes, please!

  • Annamarie H
    November 13, 2013 at 12:25 am

    I would love this, upholstery is a passion of mine.

  • jennymama
    November 13, 2013 at 4:41 am

    i have two chairs that would LOVE for me to get ahold of this book! ;)

  • Jennifer
    November 13, 2013 at 5:49 am

    I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of this book in order to reupholster a chair I received from Freecycle.

  • Colleen
    November 13, 2013 at 6:57 am

    I have a couple mid-century sofa’s that I’ve stripped to the springs, now I’m lost as to what to do! This book sounds like the tool I need to finally get those things useful again.

  • Aimee
    November 13, 2013 at 6:57 am

    The first project I’d like to tackle is the giant storage ottoman that is currently sucking the soul out of our living room. This book would be so helpful!!

  • Cristin
    November 13, 2013 at 7:11 am

    I would love a copy of this book! We have a chair that I would love to reupholster, and I’d love to try it out.

  • stephieZ
    November 13, 2013 at 7:14 am

    I have a lot of things that need reupholstering in my house, yet I have no clue how to do it.

  • Trish
    November 13, 2013 at 7:18 am

    I have couches in the wings waiting to be rescued!

  • Betty Behrens
    November 13, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Oh, this book has been on my wish list! I have a wing chair I bought through Craig’s List YEARS ago, that I want to reupholster. I even have the fabric. What I don’t have is experience or confidence. I could use this book!

  • Diana
    November 13, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Lots of good press for this book! Anxious to read it / use it myself. Have a great day

  • amyks
    November 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

    I have a chair that I am trying to figure out how to reupholster, this book would definitely be helpful!

  • erin
    November 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I have 2 wingback chairs that I want to tackle and I have no idea where to start. And my library doesn’t have this book so I would love to add it to my collection!

  • Julie
    November 13, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I’ve been looking for a comprehensive, easy to understand upholstery book, and this looks perfect!

  • Christina
    November 13, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Oooh, I’d love this book. I attempted to re-upholster an antique sofa and did a pretty bad job. It needs to be re-done properly.

  • maryna
    November 13, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Iam very excited about this book

  • Ann
    November 13, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I have this book on hold at at the library! Waiting for two more people to check it out first. I would love to own it as I am planning to tackle two chairs and a bench cushion.

  • Susan Hall
    November 13, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Oh, boy, could I use some help here. I dream of being able to do my own upholstery.

  • Hilty
    November 13, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I really want to learn how to do this!

  • Brianna
    November 13, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I have a couple of chairs that I would love to reupholster, as well as an ottoman. The book looks great!

  • Becky F
    November 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I love the fabric you chose. Great choice for a boy’s room.

  • Carey
    November 13, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to learn more about upholstry, and have been considering purchasing this book. Winning the book would make my day! :)

    Good luck with your bed project — I look forward to hearing how the process went for you.

  • ErinY
    November 13, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Trading spaces is how I learned all of my upholstery skills too! haha It also helped when I needed to stretch canvases in college-life skills I tell you!

  • Kate
    November 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Love the trading spaces reference! This book would be great for a couch project I’m undertaking.

  • tara // etsetara
    November 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

    i’d really love a copy of this book! upholstery intrigues me
    + i’d love to learn how to do it correctly!

  • Emma L
    November 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Wow! What an amazing book, and I am so happy to see you use that IKEA fabric that I have been eyeing ever since it appeared in the Swedish catalog (IKEA’s new things come out a month or two earlier in Sweden, so my mom sends me her catalog). Looking forward to seeing what the headboard will look like!

  • Chris N
    November 13, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I’ve always wanted to learn how to upholster. This book would be great.

  • Cathy
    November 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I would love to learn upholstery!

  • Evelyn W
    November 13, 2013 at 9:46 am


    I’ve been watching them for years now!!! This is the best team, ok, I’m done being overly excited. Why do you do this to me Nicole? Stop with the awesomeness.

    I wish this came out years ago when I tried to reupholster my wingback and made some tufted headboards.

    I’m loving the Young House Love direction it’s taking too, maybe more of this stuff as you tackle the house!

  • Britta
    November 13, 2013 at 10:19 am


  • Justina
    November 13, 2013 at 10:21 am


  • Bryan
    November 13, 2013 at 10:22 am

    The wifey wants this book to put me to work ;)

  • Jerica
    November 13, 2013 at 10:22 am

    What an awesome giveaway!

  • Brian
    November 13, 2013 at 10:23 am

    This would come in handy for some project around the house :)

  • Tracy
    November 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I love your blog! And this book :)

  • Stacie
    November 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

    What fun! I see new purpose in visiting garage sales :)

  • Kimberly @ Turning It Home
    November 13, 2013 at 10:49 am

    This book looks great!

  • Amber
    November 13, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I have a couch project that I am about to embark on and this book would be an awesome place for me to start! Thanks for the chance to win!

  • merlin513
    November 13, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I have several found curbside ‘ugly’ chairs that are awaiting upholstery, so this book would be an ‘excellent’ resource to start with!

  • Jaimie
    November 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I have 2 thrift store couches that I’d love to try my hand at. Love the shape and structure of them, would love a different fabric, though. Thanks for the chance! Love your blog :)

  • Angela N
    November 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Oh wow! I would love a copy of this book. I would love to try to reupholster something fun!!

  • LizlovesCam
    November 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Is there an uglist sofa contest? Cuz I’d win that by a landslide! Think 80s oversized floral on a cream background. It used to have a skirt around the bottom, but my then-puppy tore it off. I can’t say I disagree with him. The kicker is that we can’t get rid of it for “sentimental” reasons. Must.reupholster.

  • Lisa
    November 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Ohh-la-la! I have two hand-me-down grandma chairs from my mother (who got them from her mother) that are screaming for some assistance. Momma reupholstered them in the early 80’s…and boy, does it show! We’re talking scrolly powdery-blue damask here! They went with the candy striper pink love seat she used to have.


  • Molly
    November 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    This book looks AMAZING! Need it

  • Emy
    November 13, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I would love to win this book. It looks amazing!

  • Kelly P
    November 13, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Wow, I could really use that book! I have been hoarding craiglist and dumpster dive finds for about 4 years now, waiting for my extensive remodeling project to be done so I can finally decorate! The only thing is that I have a very rudimentary idea of how to reupholster. So…that could be a problem :)

  • michelle osborne
    November 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Wow! I would love this book. I have never reupholstered but would love to try it with my Grandpa’s old high-back chair. Thanks!

  • Camille
    November 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    That book looks amazing- I have several chairs to recover, and my Grandma’s wingback I would love love love to reupholster.

  • Becky
    November 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I need that book! I am in the process of my first reupholstering project and I am pretty sure there are a few…or lots of tips I could use.

  • Ali
    November 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    That book looks amazing. I have only done some basic slip covers. I am excited to see how the bed turns out!

  • babette
    November 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I have 20 yards of that Ikea fabric and a couch that wants to be a log jam.Spruce book could help.

  • Donna
    November 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Would love a copy of the book!

  • Megan CC
    November 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I would love this book! I have always thought about reupholstering a sette (sp?) I love but am not a huge fan of the fabric. Although my Aunt might kill me if she finds out I have changed it (it was hers). :)

  • Lydia
    November 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Oh my I need that book immediately. I have a pile of chairs that we have picked up from yard sales, craigslist and the side of the road. Putting this on my xmas list either way.

  • Theresa J
    November 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    We are moving in 3 weeks and I know I need some inspiration

  • Melissa de la Fuente
    November 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Awesome. Love that video ( can’t quite get over her adorable truck, it’s upholstery, her adorable dog and that whole first sequence. :) Love the fabric you chose for his headboard too….I have some things I need to redo, definitely adding this book to my collection!

  • Dee
    November 13, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I’d love a copy of that book – upholstery is something I’ve been so excited about, and so intimidated by. What a great way to learn a new skill!

  • Jenni
    November 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    This is awesome! YEARS ago, I bought this really cool MCM chair at a garage sale for $5, but haven’t been able to use it because I have NO IDEA how to reupholster the seat cushions, which are still rocking the original barf-orange scratchy tweed fabric and a thick layer of garage dust. Gross. Anyway, this would be the perfect motivation to actually do it! :)

  • Meagan
    November 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Woo hoo! I need this book! I would love to make my upholstery project look more professional!

  • Loryn
    November 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I have a chair that I’ve been carting around for 16 years, and I’m still optimistic that I will actually reupholster it! This book might actually make it happen!

  • Maggie
    November 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    My bed is in desperate need of an upholstered headboard, hopefully this could be a good jumping off point for me too!

  • Kathleen Stidham
    November 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I have upholstered seat cushions before, but never a whole chair. Now it’s time for my favorite armchair from childhood to receive a make-over, and I don’t have a whole lot of money to pay someone who knows what they’re doing! I have the fabric all picked out, but I am putting it off because I don’t want to make a mistake. So I could really use this book… :-)

  • Jessica
    November 13, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    The Spruce book is already on my amazon wishlist. I have some dumpster dive finds that desperately need to be reupholstered!

  • Holly Rice
    November 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I have always wanted to learn to upholster things…tried before and wasn’t a success. Hoping this book can help me out!

  • Natasha
    November 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Oooooh I have 2 vintage chairs to recover and have made a start by cutting the skirt off one to see how the legs look skirt free. I have no clue where to go from here, this book would perhaps steer me in the right direction.

  • lauren michele
    November 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    what a great giveaway!

  • Hayley
    November 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    The book looks amazing! And, I love the fabric for the bedroom. I think it’s going to all come together.

  • Rachel H.
    November 13, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    We bought a chair at an estate sale a few months back that is in dire need of a makeover. I would love to have a copy of this book and try to reupholster the chair on my own instead of paying big bucks for someone else to do it.

  • Rachael
    November 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I desperately need to re-upholster my couch. I thrifted it for $15, because it had a tear in the arm and the back, but in otherwise perfect condition, and when I looked up the brand, it’s a made in the USA, several thousand dollar couch. Score! Except…professional re-upholstery is SO not in the budget any time soon, so it’s got a terribly ill-fitting cover on it right now. I’m about to just start ripping in and figuring it out as I go, but I’m also fairly certain I’ll ruin it.

  • Carly
    November 13, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    We’re living on a budget and trying to use what we have but the print on our sofa is making me see spots. I’d love to try re-upholstering.

  • Sandra
    November 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    This book would be so timely!!!!

  • Erin
    November 13, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Great choice with the Ikea log fabric, I love it! I’m stuck on fabric selection and how to go about upholstering an old chair that was my great grandmothers. This book would be a wonderful help! Thank you!

  • Nichole
    November 13, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I have been seeing that book everywhere! I think it’s calling my name, or maybe that’s just the sound of the three stripped chairs in the basement that I have NO idea how to reupholster!

  • P maloney
    November 14, 2013 at 1:16 am

    This would be so helpful

  • Kim E
    November 14, 2013 at 1:30 am

    This book looks amazing! I’ve got 2 sofas that could use some love & have been feeling tentative about starting a project of that scale. Maybe this book will push me to get going! Thanks for the great updates – your home is lovely.

  • Cathy
    November 14, 2013 at 7:35 am

    I love trolling craigslist for unique furniture pieces that need a little bit of tlc and reupholstering is one of my favorite ways to breathe new life into old furniture. I would love to get a copy of this book to learn a few tricks on reupholstering.

  • sarah
    November 14, 2013 at 9:12 am

    i dream of reupholstering all sorts of lovely pieces, both new and old (currently i have a chair that needs a new cover on it’s seat cushion). however i’m right at about the same level of upholstering knowledge as you…probably lower, if i’m honest. this book looks fantastic–like it contains all kinds of motivation and confidence-building for me to take on some of these projects.

  • Colleen
    November 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I have a lazy boy recliner in my daughter’s nursery that desperately needs to be reupholstered. It currently has a store bought slip cover but needs proper attention. I have the fabric picked out and googled a few tutorials but nothing made me confident enough to actually take the time to rip off the fabric and give it a go. I think this book is exactly the key to making this chair in to a beautiful and functional piece.

  • Liz
    November 14, 2013 at 9:37 am

    This book looks amazing! I have two couches that need reupholstering-one is vintage and the other my cat took a liking to!

  • Michelle
    November 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I definitely want to add upholstery to my tool kit of skills – but like you right now I’m stuck at recover dining chair seats.

  • Wrenaria
    November 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Looks like a great book!

  • Charlotte
    November 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

    would love this book – lovely colours and good looking projects… fingers are already itching to get stared… :-)

  • Laci
    November 14, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Love the fabric for the headboard! And the book!

  • Jennifer
    November 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    This book looks amazing! I have a chair in my bedroom with a blanket thrown over it to hide the awful state it’s in. I would love to give it a new life.

  • Jessica
    November 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Me! Me! Me! I have so many projects waiting to be recovered! Oh, and I’m loving the manly polka dots, by the way!

  • Sasha
    November 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Oh, this would be sooo helpful! I have more than a few, uh hem, projects that need to be completed. I’d probably start with a few chairs, gain some confidence and finally tackle my aunt’s old settee. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Lara
    November 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    How cool! My mom and I plan on reupholstering her couch, this would really help!

  • Heather
    November 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    My house (in truth mostly my garage) is in desperate need of a Spruce intervention. I know under Amanda’s tutelage I have a chance of returning the car to its rightful place and filling my home with all the lovelies just waiting to be reupholstered!

  • Karen
    November 15, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Looks like a great book!! I’ve been wanting to learn for a while, in fact I have a chair waiting!

  • Sandra
    November 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I would love a copy of this book! I have a few upholstery projects I want to do but have been too nervous to start. I really think this book would help.

  • shermi
    November 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Ive always been interested and a little intimidated about learning to reupholster things. Haven’t been able to find local classes so I would love the book.

  • Megan S
    November 15, 2013 at 11:33 am

    This looks like a beautiful book full of valuable information regarding upholstery!

  • Hollie @ I'm Busy Procrastinating
    November 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Doing some serious upholstery is on my bucket list, I guess you could say. I would love to apprentice with an upholsterer, or even just volunteer my assistant services for a couple weeks to learn a little about the trade.

    I so agree with what Amanda says in the video. There are so many existing pieces of furniture that just need a refresh. Why not show them some love rather than buying junk from big box stores all the time?

    Would love to have this book. If I don’t win it, I think it will go on my holiday gift list!

  • Kate
    November 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Oh Hildi! It was after many Trading Spaces episodes that I decided I could reupholster our couch in college, in a tacky turquoise of course! I was marginally successful, and would love this book to help me try again :)

  • 11studio
    November 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I saw this book in The Strand bookstore in NYC last weekend, and was hoping to ask for a copy for Christmas…winning a copy would be super awesome! I would love to learn to reupholster, I have a chair in my garage just waiting for me to hone my skills! Thanks for the opportunity! Your new house is beautiful by the way!

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