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Mix and Match Fabric: A Cheaper Way to Upholster

Chair 1: This pretty chair has a blue and white print on front and solid colors on the back.

Chair 1: This pretty chair has a blue and white print on front and solid colors on the back.

Chair One: Mix-and-Match Upholstery Fabric.

In furniture upholstering, mixing-and-matching the fabric is the best way to go. Some people may not like the style, but I do, and I see it more and more. Just look in the decorating magazines or Country Living and you will see find excellent examples of mix-and-match upholstery.

I love the look. Here are some ideas of what can be done with your sofas, chairs, or footstools using different fabrics.

Chair 2

Chair 2

This is a cutter quilt I found at a yard sale. I happened to like the way it looked and picked it up for pennies.

This is a cutter quilt I found at a yard sale. I happened to like the way it looked and picked it up for pennies.

Chair Two: Cushions Covered in a Quilt

This chair's seat and back were covered in an old quilt. I think this is a good idea for old quilts you may have around—use them to cover a chair or footstool. Many times quilts are in such bad shape they're only good for cutting. You do have to remember quilts are not going to be as strong as upholstery fabric. You can also sew your own blocks together and use it to cover a chair.

Different sections of chairs and sofas can be upholstered in a different fabric; arms and front of arms can be done differently. Seats and back can be in different fabrics.

If it's just the cushions you want to be upholstered and don't want to do it yourself it's very cheap to have just this done, better than buying a new sofa. I once took in seat cushions which had been torn up by a dog. I found the fabric took the chairs in and had them upholstered, very cheap.


A cutter quilt can either be a vintage quilt or just a quilt has worn out and you only use it for cutting. Cutting quilts can't be fixed, but can be used for something else.I have an example of cutter pieces I bought at a yard sale.

Chair 3

Chair 3

Chair Three Quilt on top.

Here's another pretty chair with a quilt used to upholster it. On this chair, it looks like they just covered the top of the back cushion, the seat cushion and the top of the stool. Maybe it has been just sewn on by hand.

The yellow part of the chair looks like it could be the old upholstery, the chair may have come in.

Chair 4

Chair 4

Chair Four Is Shabby Chic.

This chair is a favorite of mine. It has been upholstered in scraps of fabric and a sampler used on the back of the chair. Samplers are pretty easy to find in yard sales or antique stores usually not real expensive. Ebay also has some good buys. Trim has also been added to the sampler. It's done in different fabrics for the arms and another fabric for the seat and back. Shabby chic look but could be done in any color.

Chair 5

Chair 5

Chair Five Is An Old Quilt.

This chair is done in old quilts but also can be done with remnants. This is my kind of chair I love all the bright colors. Any old chair you find anywhere can be done this way. Old pieces of quilts can be bought pretty cheaply if it is just a cutting quilt. You can also find lots of fabrics which look like quilts. Old bedspreads or comforters will also work. This chair looks to me like it might have some old velvet fabrics on it.

Chair 6

Chair 6

Chair Six this chair two different fabrics back and front.

Chair 6 is my chair. I wanted it done with roosters and I found a fabric which had small roosters on it then I also wanted a black plaid of some kind. I found the plaid fabric they are not coordinating fabric, but they do look good together.

This chair and its mate I saw on the side of the highway and yelled to my husband "STOP". We drove in the drive and they sold them to us for 2.00 each.

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I saw the fabric in JoAnn's and waited for them to go on sale before I bought them.

Right now I have two love seats which need to have the cushions covered. When I get them done I will be sure to put the pictures on.

Chair 7

Chair 7

Chair Seven Modern Look.

This chair was done in a plain fabric for the front and colorful stripe fabric for the back. It has a more of a modern look. Chairs don't always have to look country. You can use any fabric which has a modern look to it and make any chair look great. Fabric stores are always putting upholstery fabric on sale. The price is usually pretty good or if you find discontinued fabric in the store.

Chair 8

Chair 8

Chair Eight Plaids and Flowers

Another example of different fabrics on the chairs 8 and 9. Plaids work the best to add with a pattern. High back chairs seem easy to find at yard sales I just saw one this summer it looked like the two chairs pictured.The chair needed to be recovered. It was so pretty and had good bones, but I have to remember I live in a small house now and can't bring home everything I see. I don't want to become a hoarder.

Chair 9

Chair 9

Chair Nine Flowers, Stripes and Red Plaid.

I think chair 9 is beautiful. I love the colors. I'm a red person, anything has red in it makes me happy. They have mixed three fabric on this chair. The red and white plaid is down the front of the arms. Any kind of coordinated plaid mixed in with the flower fabric will always look nice.

Black and red always look nice together.

Chair 10

Chair 10

Chair Ten Quilt and Fabric Mix.

Another chair is done in a quilt. Yellow on the sides and quilt on the seats. This chair looks so homey and warm.

Use up any fabric you have. Why not? It's also a cheaper way of upholstery because if you have leftover fabric you can use it up.

Also, if you use a solid, say on the back of a chair solids are most of the time cheaper to buy than a printed fabric.

Gray and Red Fabric

Gray and Red Fabric

Pretty Fabric for Chair

Pretty Fabric for Chair

Coordinating fabrics.

Coordinating fabrics can be used, but it's also ok to use fabric which does not coordinate at all.

I really don't care if my fabric is coordinating I'm all for putting on any fabric you like.

You can also turn remnants of upholstery fabric into a quilt by cutting into blocks and sewing together then put on chair or footstool.

Chair 11 is a mixture of fabric added in blocks and in all colors.

Chair 11

Chair 11  Beautiful Patchwork Design by Kelly Swallow.

Chair 11 Beautiful Patchwork Design by Kelly Swallow.

You could make them look like chairs from McKenzies-Child. These chairs run up to $5,000.00.

The chair below looks like a man's chair or if you like rustic it will fit right in with this kind of decor.

Chair 12

Brown Chair

Brown Chair

Gorgeous designs by Mackenzie-Childs

Gorgeous designs by Mackenzie-Childs

Mix of Yellow Fabric On Sofa

Mix of Yellow Fabric On Sofa

Covering a sofa.

This sofa is covered in coordinating fabric. If you look at it close you will see a different fabric on the front, seats, back and arms. I count four different fabrics.

The best thing about this is if you have an old sofa or chair that wears out just on the cushions you can have just the cushions replaced with a fabric which coordinates with the rest of the sofa or chair.

You can also use leather and fabric for a sofa or chair.



Quilt Looking Footstool

Quilt Looking Footstool

Sofa in different fabric.

Another sample of sofas done in different fabrics. Solid color sofa works best then you can just do the cushions in a different fabric. Through the years, I have gotten rid of so many sofas I wish I still had and could cover them this way.

Don't forget paint cloths, they are so strong and come in big pieces they can be used to cover furniture. .

I once heard Suzanne Somers say she covered everything in her house in muslin because it was so neutral and it is one of the cheaper fabrics.

Also if you come across drapes that are cheap they can be used to cover furniture. Just think how cool old 50's fabric would look on a chair. Old drapes are often found in yard sales.

Stools covered in old tablecloths.

Covering stools, have an old vintage tablecloth, dresser runner or anything like old embroidered pieces that you aren't going to use for anything else, or parts of them have been ruined use them in your upholstery of stools.

I have also used place mats for covering a wood chair seat. You may have to add fabric to the place mat to make it big enough, but if you sew it's easy to put more than one placemat together.

Ottoman, Hassock or Footstool

This ottoman (hassock) (footstool) sales for $499. but the same type can easily be made from remnants of fabric you have or can be bought in any fabric store. Upholstery or regular fabric. Patchwork design is very popular. Remember if you have an old coffee table it can always be turned into a footstool. A little batting and fabric.

Check out some more upholstery ideas in Pinterest.

Babies in Papa's chair.

Babies in Papa's chair.

Our 14 year old dog in Papa's chair.

Our 14 year old dog in Papa's chair.

Story of the Ugly Chair.

This is the chair from he--!!

I have done everything to get rid of this chair. It looks terrible, it's dirty, it's ugly, it's falling apart, the frame is broken. My husband loves this chair. It's an old Lazy Boy chair, wall away rocker. The wall away part of it broke long ago. Lazy Boy replaced it with just a regular recliner mechanism. We bought it in about 1972. It was once gold. After they replaced it we had it upholstered in this blue. The blue doesn't go with anything in our living room now.

It was used to rock our youngest son.

The kids have piled on my husband in this chair. The dogs and cats did too.

I slept in it at night when my heart was giving me so much trouble.

Our oldest granddaughter use to sit in it with her papa when he had hair. She would put all her little girl hair barrettes and hair clips in his hair.

My husband broke his ribs when he fell on the ice. He slept in this chair for weeks.

He rocked our two youngest granddaughters in this chair when they were babies.

We finally put the chair down in the basement. My husband was so unhappy with the chair he was using I finally gave up and we hauled this old chair back up. As you can see all of our animals love it too.

I have never seen this chair anyplace else until I saw Matthew McConaughey bio on TV and he showed his Dad's old chair. It was the same chair my husband has and he had his reupholstered in leather. I would like to do also, but my husband does not like leather. It definitely has to be reupholstered but in what? The fabric will have to be strong and the frame will have to be fixed.

Everyone knows this is Papa's chair. When he goes out of the room everyone sits in it but when Papa walks in the room they all jump up and move to another chair.

This is our dog Reno (13) in the chair. Well, when I find the right fabric it will be covered again unless it really falls apart. I've tried to just get him a new recliner, but he can't find any he likes. It's the Archie Bunker chair.

The old chair is gone now. My husband has passed away. Both the dogs (Reno and Doc) have passed away. I miss the old chair, the dogs and most of all I miss my husband.

My Husband When The Old Chair Was Gold.

My Husband When The Old Chair Was Gold.

With Our Dog Doc and Our Cat Blackie.

With Our Dog Doc and Our Cat Blackie.

Our Loveseat Cushions Recovered Only.

Fabric Mixture on Loveseat

Fabric Mixture on Loveseat

© 2008 moonlake


moonlake (author) from America on October 20, 2013:

msorrell1022, You would have to buy old quilts, that's what is used on those chairs. Ebay may have some and the best to search for is what's called cutter quilts. If you want to pay the money for old full size quilts it will cost you more money. You could also make your own quilt top to use for upholsting a chair. That is about all I can tell you. You might find quilts in antique stores, yard sales and Goodwill. They are very pretty when used for chairs. Thank you so much for stopping by.

msorrell1022 on October 20, 2013:

wondering where to buy fabrics like in pic 3 and 10? I am looking for 8-10 yards for a chair. Thank you and chairs are awesome!

moonlake (author) from America on July 03, 2013:

CyberShelley, I just took my cushions to our sofa to have them covered in a different fabric. The cushion covers are wearing completely out but the fabric on the sofa is not. I tried to match the fabric up with the sofa fabric the best I could so we will see what they look like when all is finished. Thanks so much for stopping by and for vote and share.

moonlake (author) from America on July 03, 2013:

Jackie Lynnley, Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Shelley Watson on July 01, 2013:

What a fabulous hub filled with marvellous ideas to both use and build on. Perhaps you'll start a new trend! Up, interesting, beautiful and useful. Sharing too!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 29, 2013:

That is a good idea and sooo pretty! I love it. ^

moonlake (author) from America on June 15, 2013:

Victoria Lynn, The ones you picked out are also my favorites. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment I appreciate it.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on June 12, 2013:

This is so neat! I've never seen the patterns mixed like that. Where have I been? I especially like #s 9 and 10. I have covered stools before with fabric. You have some great ideas here! Many votes!

moonlake (author) from America on May 29, 2013:

Indian Chef, Thank you for the vote and thanks so much for the visit.

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on May 29, 2013:

A very informative hub plus a novel idea you presented here. giving it up vote and awesome, useful and interesting votes.

moonlake (author) from America on April 19, 2013:

RTalloni, Your right about that. I was looking at some old pictures today and ask my husband when did we own that old ugly vinyl recliner. He said he thought it was not ours but his parents. It was ugly and I couldn't tell what house it was in.

RTalloni on April 19, 2013:

I find that though leather can be cold in the first few minutes, unlike vinyl, it does not stay cold. It warms up and holds body heat rather than sapping it. I've actually thought of making a leather mattress pad!

moonlake (author) from America on April 19, 2013:

RTalloni, We live in very cold state and my husband stays cold, so he will have nothing to do with leather. He says it is cold and I have to agree though I think it would look so nice. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

RTalloni on April 18, 2013:

:) We all have one of those "special" chairs at some time or another, don't we?

Your first example is beautiful, but I think the yellow and red is my favorite. All of the photos are neat samples, actually.

I see your "problem" chair recovered in denim fabric made from up-cycled jeans, putting the pockets on the sides. Leather is sooo comfy, but the next best is denim! Hope we get to see the finished project. :)

moonlake (author) from America on April 15, 2013:

Nicole S, Thank you for stopping by. I know it's hard to reupholster yourself and maybe sometimes it's better to try and make a slipcover first and see how that turns out.

Nicole S Hanson from Minnesota on April 11, 2013:

Loved this hub! I really want to reupholster my couch but I don't want to mess it up!

moonlake (author) from America on March 27, 2013:

Kathleen Cochran, Thank you. I have two loveseat that I have been looking at. I really don't want to get rid of them but they are wearing out and I'm trying to figure out what to do with them. Mix and Match would be perfect if I can figure out how to make it work with my plaid sofa. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on March 27, 2013:

My mother-in-law (quite the decorating fashionista) has the yellow couch set you showed in one of your pictures. Her living room is now her favorite room and the first one she's gotten to furnish without having to please anyone but herself. God may have created in twos, but he decorates in threes. Everything all the same is sooo boring. This was a fun read.

moonlake (author) from America on March 25, 2013:

Deborah-Diane, Thank you for stopping by I appreciate your comment.

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on March 24, 2013:

The mix and match furniture you have featured here is delightful! They would look beautiful in many different styles of homes!

moonlake (author) from America on February 25, 2013:


There is and These are both websites with the colorful chairs.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

moonlake (author) from America on February 25, 2013:

Derdriu, Thanks so much for stopping by. The old chair is still in the living room I think we're not going to be able to fix even he is complaining now that it hurts his back. It really is just falling apart. I think time for a new one.

Jo on February 24, 2013:

I once saw a source for furniture upholstered with multiple patterns but cannot find it now. Any idea what that would have been ?

Thank you

Derdriu on February 24, 2013:

moonlake, The uncluttered sleekness of chairs 1, 6 and 12 appeals to me. But I also like the colorfulness of chairs 9 and 10.

Do you know yet what you're going to do with your husband's chair? Will he tolerate it looking any way other than it does now?


Respectfully, and with many thanks for the mix 'n adventures and tour, Derdriu

moonlake (author) from America on February 18, 2013:

ktrapp, The chair does seem like a member of the family. It's the first thing anyone sees when they walk into the living room. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment I appreciate it.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on February 16, 2013:

I love the look of the quilt on some of the chairs in the pictures. They look so inviting and comfortable. I would say you've got quite the dilemma on your hands with the "Archie Bunker" chair. You definitely need a sturdy fabric that can take a lot of wear and tear. That chair certainly is well-loved, sort of seems like a member of the family.

moonlake (author) from America on February 13, 2013:

kellyteam, Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment I appreciate it.

moonlake (author) from America on February 13, 2013:

Pamela Kinnaird W, My husband has finally said the chair hurts his back and he doesn't think it can be fixed. I can't buy him a chair because he would never be satisfied. He has to be with me and it’s not going to be an easy search. Thanks so much for the vote and sharing.

moonlake (author) from America on February 13, 2013:

tammyswallow, Thanks so much for stopping by. Your just going to have to get out there and find a chair so you can shabby chic it. Thanks again.

Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on February 12, 2013:

I had never seen such combinations until I stumbled upon your hub here. And I loved the part about 'Papa's chair.' What a great vantage point you've used to give a glimpse into your family's love for one another. Voting up, awesome and sharing.

Willette from Michigan on February 12, 2013:

This is great! You put a lot of work and detail into this hub. It was well worth it. I'm more the modern type and I like black and white so #7 is my pick. But I do like the 1st one, mix and match I think that looks great. Thanks for the wonderful hub. Keep on hubbing!!

Tammy from North Carolina on February 12, 2013:

This is fabulous! I love patchwork and shabby chic. Makes me want to go find a chair. Love it!

moonlake (author) from America on February 06, 2013:

DDE, Thank you and thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate it.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 06, 2013:

Most creative ideas here I am so glad I stopped by to read this hub now I know more about mix and matching terrific to go by.

moonlake (author) from America on February 05, 2013:

SallyTX, I think people are kind of going back to white my daughter has all white sheets and so does my aunt. So glad you stopped by and I appreciate the vote. Thank you.

Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on February 05, 2013:

Cute ideas! I don't know that I would upholster a piece of furniture in mix 'n' match fabric, but I do like to do coordinating fabrics in throws and pillows. Also, I just love to mix 'n' match sheets and pillowcases. When I was a girl, my parents had an "all linens must be white" rule! I have been rebelling against it all my adult life! Voted up & interesting! ;D

moonlake (author) from America on January 19, 2013:

Au fait, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, vote and share.

C E Clark from North Texas on January 18, 2013:

Mixing textures and prints can add a lot of interest to a room, but it's quite challenging for many people. Once you learn how it's a snap. Interesting and useful hub! Voted up and will share!

moonlake (author) from America on January 16, 2013:

Dolores Monet, It is different isn't it. I love it too. I have some needle point that my aunt did I would like to work it into a chair or even just the foot stool. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 16, 2013:

I love chair 5! Mixing and matching can almost be frightening - suppose you hate the outcome? But I do love mixing and matching, it adds so much interest to an ordinary chair. I have 2 chairs that really need work, maybe I'll go for it! Voted up for awesome!

moonlake (author) from America on January 15, 2013:

Eddy, Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment . Glad you liked the hub.

Eiddwen from Wales on January 15, 2013:

A wonderful hub which I know many will benefit from reading.

Have a wonderful day.


moonlake (author) from America on January 13, 2013:

KoffeeKlatch Gals, I love ten too. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on January 13, 2013:

moonlake, I love the looks of the mixed fabric. I think my favorite is chair ten. I think it adds a fun look to any room. Fantastic hub. Up, awesome, beautiful, useful, and interesting.

moonlake (author) from America on January 11, 2013:

vespawoolf, I remember that Frasier show. The kids call it Archie Bunker chair. Thanks for stopping in.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 11, 2013:

Have you ever seen the TV series Frasier? There was one where his father's chair got destroyed but then they found another one--the exact same chair. I hope you also find one for your husband. : )

moonlake (author) from America on January 10, 2013:

vespawoolf, I think we have to give up on my husband's chair it is really falling apart. Now we have to look for his perfect new chair and that will not be easy. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 10, 2013:

I'm really glad you shared this information. I love the mix and match look and it's ideal for me because we have a flea market where we can find bits of upholstery fabric, old quilts or duvet covers, etc. that could easily be used for this look. I need to be more creative with my décor and some up with some fun combo! I loved the story about your husband's favorite chair and hope you've found the perfect fabric to reupholster it in!

moonlake (author) from America on June 23, 2012:

Peggy W, I know with pets you always have to worry about the fabric being strong enough. We had to have our Reno put down last month. He was 14 and just could not get around anymore. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment and for the vote.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 23, 2012:

Your title caught my eye because we are right now in the process of deciding to have our living room sofa recovered. The fabric choices