Make my red sofa “green” – transformed an indoor sectional to outdoor sensational

This is an Earth Day inspired project.

indoor sectional transformed into outdoor sensational

This project saved a giant sectional from a landfill & made my family happy.  Good for the earth ~ good for my family.  Win win!!

D&A pillows emmett2

Back story:

We had a big red couch with a chaise. The chaise was deemed “the spot”. Prime real estate for watching the tube.  One “spot” ~ two girls. That spells trouble…

The big red couch arrived in 2000 about the time of our first daughter.  By fall 2012 it had enough kid DNA on it to keep a CSI team busy for years.  It also had faded in the sunny family room.

Everyone loved the couch, but mean mommy deemed it time for a new one.  The new couch had to better than the beloved red one…but how could it compete in their eyes? …Make the chaise twice as big!  The new couch is white, slipcovered & has two “spots”.  Perfect!

The new couch arrived.  The red one went out to the adjacent patio awaiting a special trash pick up.  Sitting on the new couch I could see the old couch.  I felt badly for the couch that had served us so well. That is weird, but I did.  Moreover, I really liked the way it fit on the patio. Hmmm…an idea hatched!


Strip it down to the frame, cover it with wood, stain, varnish & add cushions.  So that is what I did…wanna see?


Ok, so tearing off the fabric, stuffing & lining wasn’t easy, but I got it all off using pliers, shears & a few colorful words I won’t include here.

Decided to cut off the rounded arms to allow for the wood to be attached in the simplest manner.




With the help of a handyman the old couch frame was covered in new wood. (hoping blogging leads me to my own saw someday!)  Did I just say that?


Then I stained it, gave it two coats of marine varnish & added cushions made out of drop cloth material.  Much less expensive than sunbrella, won’t fade & washable.

Tah dah!!



couch side

I hope this DIY, inspires you to reuse, repurpose, recycle, even things that might not be obvious choices for the three R’s.

Tell us about an earth friendly project you have done or seen.  Do share, I would love to hear your ideas!

** Kelly **

p.s. since naming this post, “Make my Red Couch Green”, I’ve been humming a song.  You know the one…by Crystal Gayle, ~ remember her?  “Make my Brown Eyes Blue”.  You doing it now too, or are you thinking who…?


Linking up at my Friends Just a girl & her blog, Rhoda and Beth’s 2013 parties. Come by both to see the best of 2013 in blogland!

Linking to Savvy Southern Style , Mod Vintage Life & Mom4Real
Mod Vintage Life

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  1. says

    Love all of the interesting and usable info!! Always looking forward to the next post! I vignette old antique furniture pieces that might need a little loving care and old hummels that were born in Germany, Love all the pics too!

  2. says

    What a great idea- I am so impressed. Your new outdoor furniture is just wonderful. I love drop clothes, we have everyday/working table clothes for each of my tables from them.


    Read an article on Margaret Thatcher today and it sure applies to your latest “POST”
    She noted that:

  4. cheryl siciliano says

    I love the repurpose, reuse, and recycle. I do a lot of that myself. I have not figured out the blog thing yet or I would share.
    I have to say, I read so many blogs and I have many favorites but this by far is the most creative and useful.. You are so talented and you just got a beautiful patio set . I have seen these sectionals in magazines for $2500.00 and up. I am truly amazed at the transformation. I am a fan for life…


    • says

      “a fan for life”! Wow ~ you made my day! Do stick with me there is a lot more to come… Many thanks for visiting My Soulful Home. Hope to see you here again & again.
      Have a great day,

  5. says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! Fantastic job!! I love that you used drop cloth as your fabric, I’m thinking of doing the same thing, I’m curious as to where or what you used for the cushion inserts? Do you mind commenting back or shooting me an e-mail, I’m in the process of constructing some ideas to make my own patio sofa 🙂

    • says

      Hi & thanks so much for your kind comment & for visiting My Soulful Home!! Now down to the details….I bought outdoor ( quick dry ) cushion foam. Then just cut the four rectangles to fit. I had been hoping to reuse the original couch cushions, but as the project continued I realized they would be way too thick & would not stand up to the weather. For a while my kids bounced around on them on the lawn, then I donated them to my local thrift. I am eager to hear about the project you have in mind. Feel free to contact me any time if you have any questions you think I may be able to help with during the process. As I am new to this I am wondering how you found me…any way you did I am sooo glad!
      Have a great day & do follow me I have a lot more up my sleeve to share…

    • neila hoffman says

      beautiful job! i too have just sewn some outdoor cushions using drop cloths; what are you doing to waterproof yours? i am thinking of painting mine also, before waterproofing. thanks for your response.

    • says

      Hi Nella…thank you for your kind comment & thanks for visiting My Soulful Home! I did not waterproof the fabric, but used the quick dry foam inserts. We live in Southern California. It does not rain often & the “rainy season” ( if you can call it that ) is very predictable. I will store them away when the rain comes. Hope that helps! Painting the drop cloth cushions is such a cool idea. Let me know how that turns out.
      Have a great weekend!

  6. says

    what a great idea! It looks great and was cheaper I’m sure than buying a set that large.

    • says

      Thank you so much! Oh my gosh, yes so much cheaper than the restoration hardware lounger I had my eye on. It did it all for about 1/4 of what the good ones on the market are selling for ~ awesome right?!
      Hope to see you at My Soulful Home again soon…

  7. says

    That is crazy!! Can’t believe you were able to create something so beautiful out of virtually nothing! Amazing work..

    • says

      Thanks Abbey…I thought I was “crazy” while I yanking off all the stuffing & fabric in the hot California sun! I might be a bit nutty, but I have a lot of great posts coming your way so stay tuned!
      Have a great day,

    • says

      Oh you are so talented! Hope you are having fun blogging! Almost 4 months for us…I am loving it!
      Have a great day,

  8. says

    You have got to be kidding. I cannot believe that! it looks fantastic. Congrats. That is quite an endeavor.
    have a good one

    • says

      I feel the same way about your cakes! Hope all is well with you. Thanks for stopping by My Soulful Home!

  9. says

    I’m beyond impressed at what you managed to do with that couch! It’s so fabulous!

    • says

      Oh my gosh Brynne can u believe we were featured!! Thank you for your nice comment!! …I have been jumping up & down and my kids don’t understand why I am so excited about mustard! They want dinner, but I want to check out your blog…will later. Yippee for us!!

  10. says

    When I read that you put your sectional in your patio I thought it was a redneck kinda wonderful idea but the end result is pretty spectacular! You totally transformed those two pieces and it’s unrecognizable except for the ‘good bones’ as they say…

  11. says

    LOVE this transformation. Wow! I’m so impressed with how you took something old and made it into something fabulous!

    Chaney @ May Richer Fuller Be 🙂

  12. Sara says

    I’d love an update on how the cushions held up. I have a free loveseat waiting in my in-laws storage building!

    • says

      The cushions have held up well! A few washings & still look great. Our weather is pretty mild & I do bring them into the garage when I know it is going to rain. Thanks so much for checking in to see. Go for it with the love seat! It was really fun to rip it all apart! Good luck & keep me posted!

  13. says

    Thank you for the great idea. I have been wanting some comfy seating on my back deck but cringe at the prices for outdoor furniture. At least the furniture I like. I have seen a few inexpensive (like $25) thrift store couches lately and they would work just fine if I tossed a drop cloth over them as a loose slipcover. Now to head back to that thrift store and pick one up.
    It won’t last thru the winter but I can always just take it back to the thrift store this Fall and begin again next Summer. 🙂

  14. says

    So excited we found this post and even more excited to try it ourselves! Do you mind sharing information about the wood? Is it plywood? Did you use a nail gun? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Marie & Amanda… I did not use plywood. Too thin to withstand the weight & weather. I suggest a thicker sheet of wood. I used screws to try to keep it all together and an electric screwdriver. Then finishing nails for the base trim. It is holding up really well. I definitely suggest a few coats of marine varnish after staining. Best of luck & feel free to comment back with any other questions.

    • says

      He can be very distracting & has me wrapped around his little paw! He loves the sectional too! Thanks Melissa!!

  15. says

    This is seriously an amazing transformation! Did you sew the cushions too? Wowza. It’s really amazing what you have created.

  16. Stephanie says

    Hi Kelly! Love your couch. Wondering if you’d share what kind of wood you used to cover the frame? It’s just beautiful – well done!

    • says

      Thanks for your comment & question Stephanie! I used just regular thick plywood from Home Depot. Our weather in California is very mild so I did go for teak or anything. I stained it all & finished with 2 coats of marine varnish. Hope you make one!