It’s Never a Bad Idea to Consult a Professional

Reupholstering furniture can be fun, but if you don’t purchase enough fabric for the job, the results could be disastrous--especially if the stock runs out while you’re mid-project. To ensure that doesn’t happen, it’s important that you know how to accurately calculate upholstery yardage to get just the right amount of yardage you need (with some to spare). Here we’re going to talk a little bit about how to do just. 

Before taking on any upholstery project, it’s a good idea to consult an upholstery professional. If you’ve mastered the art of upholstering, you can probably skip this step, but if you’re new to this, a professional opinion will help you get a better understanding of all you’ll need for your project to be a successful one.  

Tell them details such as where the piece of furniture will be placed and who will be using it--and then listen to their feedback with an open mind. They’ve been at this a while, so they’ll know what types of fabrics will serve you well for the long haul. 


Calculating upholstery yardage can get tricky since it varies based on the piece. A sofa, for example, is going to take a lot more yardage than a chair or an ottoman. One major step that can help is to take your measurements before removing the old fabric. If you don’t and only measure the dimensions of the frame, you’ll come up short. Another important thing to know is that the average width of the upholstery fabric starts at 54 inches. Remember this comes in handy when calculating your upholstery yardage. 

To measure cushions

Measure the width and the length of your cushions seam-to-seam. Don’t forget to calculate the measurements for the cushion side panels. One yard of fabric is equivalent to 36 inches. Generally, it takes about 2 yards for each cushion, with a 1-inch allowance for the seams. If your project is a couch has three cushions, for example, you’d need approximately 6 yards for the cushions alone. 

To measure the frame 

Run the tape measure along the back of the couch or chair from seam-to-seam to determine its width and length. Factor in an additional 1 inch for each seam. Divide your total length measurement by 36 inches to convert it to yards. Again, if your project is a couch that’s 110 inches long and 40 inches high, you’re looking at around 3 yards (round up to 4 yards for good measure). 

You would continue to repeat this process again for the front of the couch or chair back. Do this for the sides and arms (inside and out) as well as the seating area once the cushions are removed. 

As long as the width measurements don’t exceed 54 inches, all you need to do is add the length measurements together and then divide by 36. And don’t forget to calculate the length and width of the material for the remainder of the couch as well as beneath the cushions. These numbers will need to be added in order to get the correct total. 

Below is a handy little chart that can help make your calculations go a bit more smoothly. Keep in mind that these numbers are estimates. As mentioned earlier, it is always a good idea to consult a professional before making a final upholstery purchase. 

Ready to get your upholstery project started? Come see us at one of our showrooms near Katy, TX. We’ll be happy to guide you to some incredible fabrics that will help you achieve beautiful results!