Easy Patio Makeover: “Helen” the up-cycled goodwill couch & a no-sew slipcover!

We’re excited to bring you a patio pick-me-up project to kick off the holiday, courtesy of guest blogger Kristen Forgione of The LifeStyled Company. Enjoy! -Meagan

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I started looking at my patio a few months ago and while I really love the space, it just started looking tired. Really tired. I love my house – every inch of it – but there are days that I LOATHE everything in it. Even as a professional stylist I sit there and think, “what were you thinking when you thought that brown couch was a good idea?”

I think this happens most of us, and in my opinion these little transitions are healthy. It’s important to embrace your evolving style and recognize when things don’t look the way you want them to. And part of “embracing” it is being able to act on the impulse to change it, right? 

So while I was there staring at my patio I decided I needed to do something about it, and quick! For these types of projects I don’t usually order from a catalog. One, they tend to be overpriced (I mean, it’s retail) and two, a catalogue purchase has no character. No story! No nothing! It’s brand new! I love me some brand new things, like bras, make-up, cereal… but for me, it’s not a requirement in furniture and accessories. So, with these thoughts in mind I set out to find the perfect piece to start transforming my patio.

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I walked into Goodwill on Sale Saturday and there she sat. My lady. I lovingly named her “Helen.” She just looks like a Helen. She’s part Helen Mirren part Helen Hunt with a twist of Kate Hudson (not a Helen but she just IS and we don’t argue with things that just “are”). The best part about Helen: she was $139.99, which I got for 50% off ($70). I was so proud – and determined to make Helen a beauty once again!

You might be thinking “Thanks but no thanks! I don’t know how to sew a button let alone reupholster a couch!” Neither do I. I also did it without sewing a thing. Yep, I did.

I took my favorite dark color flat paint and painted all of the rattan/wicker stuff on each side. It was super quick and easy – about a 25-minute job. Two coats and an hour dry time and the sides looked like one of those thousand dollar outdoor couches from those amazing catalog stores.

Then I guesstimated on the amount of fabric I would need to re-cover the couch. I measured the whole seat area and added a BUNCH for cutting and “oopsies”. The back of Helen was exposed press board and because I knew I wanted it to float in the space, I needed to cover that press board and extend the fabric up and around the top of the couch. I ordered 6 yards of navy and white cabana stripe outdoor fabric. Damage with coupon = $39.

I cleaned her up with a little soap, water and elbow grease and began draping the fabric over the back part of the couch. I basically used the old and very simple “lightly stretch and staple” technique. Just be sure if you use anything with a print or stripe that you keep the print straight.

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After wrapping around the back (to cover the press board) and over the cushion to lean on, I tucked the fabric into the cushions like you would for a slipcover making the fabric nice and taught. I then continued down to the seat stapling on the sides of the couch where I could get the staple gun into.

About half way down the seat the fabric ended, as it was only 54” wide (standard width for many home décor fabrics). At this point some people may be tempted to sew… but nope, not me! I grabbed my trusty fabric glue and began lining up the next piece of fabric. Again, with a stripe you have to make sure it is perfectly straight or it will stick out like a sore thumb. In my opinion, the stripe makes it easier! It’s a built in ruler! I folded the new piece of fabric about a quarter inch and glued the “seam” down. Once dry, I glued that crisp, clean edge to the couch, again continuing down the couch.

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Simple as that. Helen had brand new fabric in a perfectly on trend print, without sewing a thing or removing the old fabric. You’ll want to use common sense, of course, and make sure the old fabric doesn’t show through the new fabric. If there are any rips or tears it can become increasingly difficult to get an even lay of the new stuff. Don’t attempt to place your new fabric while your paint is still wet (hey, it happens to the best of us).

To finish my mini patio makeover I added a bunch of old pillows with new $7 outdoor pillow covers, placed an existing indoor/outdoor rug to serve as a colorful foundation for the new piece, and added a few more accent pieces such as a handmade state print, upcycled from an old oil canvas and an Asian-inspired gold coffee table. I also spray painted the other tired and dingy patio set that had seen many an Arizona summer a bright white and removed the sunburnt cushions. Turns out the back of the two accent chairs had this beautiful “X” back! Who knew?!

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Total spend for my new little patio: $169, supplies included!

Thanks, Kristen! Be sure to check out Kristen’s blog and styling company at www.thelifestyledco.com. Kristen is also up for Room of the Month over at Project Nursery – you can give her a vote by clicking here!

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Kristen F
About Kristen Forgione

You know when you are out and about and someone says, “and what do you do”? Well….. I pretty much DO everything color and design! My obsession with all things style led the way to discovering my truest passion: creating a styled life that screams sophistication and originality, in my boutique Styling business called, THE LifeStyled COMPANY. While I’m not in business mode, I spend as much time possible with the man of my dreams, the sweetest baby girl (and another on the way), and a plethora of supportive friends and family. I am a bargaining junkie, an avid home cook, a serial entertainer, a barre enthusiast, a diehard fashionista and a reality TV nut! ‘d love to connect with you on the blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram

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