Cost to Reupholster Outdoor Cushions (Cushion Recovery Tips)

Finding the labor to do this task is not the most difficult part of the process. Many people are willing to work for even a small amount of money. The difficult part is finding the person who has the skills and talent to reupholster outdoor cushions.

While you may find someone to do the job for cheap, you may not like the result. Professionally done jobs ranged in the thousands depending on the item of furniture you want to be reupholstered.

To learn more about the costs of reupholstering outdoor cushions just continue to read our article. It gives you the information you want for you to make the best decision concerning your outdoor furniture.

Can You Reupholster Outdoor Cushions?

Outdoor cushions are like any furniture cushion. That means that it is possible to reupholster them. The real question is if you really want to do it or not. The key comes in with the type of fabric you will use for the job.

If you pick a nice looking but cheap fabric, then it will probably fade in the sun and the seams will be too weak to stay together. Reupholstering outdoor cushions can be a lot of work and you do not want to waste your time and effort on cheap fabric.

If you are doing it yourself, then make sure to wash the fabric before you start sewing. Also, use the old cushion as your pattern. That way your task will be a lot easier and a little cheaper. When you cut the fabric for the welting cords, cut across the bias. This gives you a little give when going around corners.

How Much Does it Cost to Reupholster Outdoor Cushions?

How-Much-Does-it-Cost to-Reupholster-Outdoor-Cushions

Before anyone can tell you the cost of reupholstering outdoor cushions, there are a few questions that need to be answered first. One, what type of sofa or chair is it? Two, how many seat cushions on the outdoor furniture?

Three, what type of fabric do you want to use? Other questions should be asked but these three should get you a ballpark figure on the cost of labor and materials.

The cost of fabric ranges between $5 and $40 per yard and labor can run you about $500 to $900 just for a 2 seat couch. Then the term couch can be broken down into 11 different subcategories that add to the cost.

A chaise lounge can run you between $700 and $1500 depending on the fabric and other factors. The only way you can get a specific cost is if you call a reupholsterer and ask them to come out and give you an estimate.

Estimates can also change depending on the difficulty of getting the job completed.

Is it Worth it to Reupholster?

This is a very good question and it may depend on how attached you are to your outdoor furniture. There are some things to consider when thinking about which way to go on this issue.

First, how long have you owned the sofa or chair on your patio? The average lifespan is about 20 years give or take a few years. Will the framework last after you recover the cushions?

Second, how environmentally friendly are you? Buying new furniture may or may not contribute to the destruction of the planet. That is an extreme point but you get the idea.

Third, recovering a good outdoor chair or sofa will depend on the quality of the construction of the frame. If it is made of hardwood and other top quality materials it may be worth recovering. Those pieces of furniture can be very expensive to buy new.

Fourth, is a personal preference factor. Do you want to keep the same look or change it and make the room look different? The cost in this may help determine which way you go.

Fifth, ask yourself how much of a difference is there between the cost of recovering and buying new. If it is as little as a $100 gap then buying new may be the better way to go.

In the end, it will be your decision based upon your budget and savings. Recovering furniture is not cheap but it can be cheaper than buying new ones.

The Total Cost to Recover Outdoor Cushions


The average cost to reupholster outdoor cushions is not going to be a set figure. A lot depends on size, materials needed, special features and design of the couch or chair you want to be done.

Right now, the average cost ranges between $50 and $500. it is impossible to give an exact total cost because of the factors mentioned above. Now that is just the quote from one company. You can shop around and see if you get a cheaper price.

This company is quoting a fabric price of $50 to $70 per yard and labor costs between $40 and $100 per hour. So if you only have 2 cushions that need recovering you are looking at spending, at the low end of things, $180. The high end of the job would be $340 without other factors included.

To get a more exact figure for your project, ask several companies to provide you with an estimate. If you are going to do it yourself, then all you have to worry about is the cost of the fabric, thread and other sewing supplies like needles and zippers.

Your time is your own but you should determine how many hours you are going to need to do the job right and lay aside a good block of time to get the project completed.

How to Recover Outdoor Cushions Without Sewing

The first thing you need to do is gather the supplies you need and make sure you have all of them and enough of them. That way you do not have to stop your work to run off and find more supplies.

What you need

  • Fabric - large enough to do the job
  • Ruler or you can use a measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Iron - on Adhesive tape
  • Iron
  • Sticky back hook and loop fastener


  • First, pre-wash your fabric to make sure it won't shrink after you put it on your cushions.
  • Second, measure the depth of the cushions and mark your fabric in the correct spot with chalk.
  • Third, cut your fabric along the chalk line. If you put a folded edge on the fabric, do not cut that.
  • Fourth, fold the fabric over the cushion and make it tight against the folded edge.
  • Fifth, cut two strips of the iron-on adhesive tape. Lift the top of the fabric and place the adhesive strips right next to the cushion. Then on medium heat iron those strips into place.
  • Sixth, After letting the strips cool, pull the backing off of them and put the fabric back in place and iron the other side. You can remove the cushion if you want.
  • Seventh, let the adhesive cool for a few minutes and then get ready to seal the opening. If you removed the cushion for step six, you can return it to the inside of the fabric but be careful not to grab the sides when doing this.
  • Eighth, fold the raw edge in about 1/2 an inch and press with an iron.
  • Ninth, attach the sticky hook and loop fasteners to the opening, about 1/2 inch apart. Press firmly to make sure you have a secure fit.
  • Tenth, join the fasteners together and replace the cushions on your couch or chair.

How to Recover Outdoor Cushions With Piping

This is not a hard job to do, Mostly, it will just take time if you are an experienced sewer. Also, you have to be prepared for any unsightly mess the fabric has managed to accumulate over time.

Here are the steps needed to do this task:

  • First, you need to remove all the old exterior fabric from all the cushions you intend to recover.
  • Second, this is where you use those old cushions and make a pattern to follow. Any paper will do the trick for you and do not forget about including the edging.
  • Third, cut the fabric for your sides, piping, edging, ties, and buttons. Next, lay out your pattern and cut the main body of fabric for the cushion covers. Don’t forget any seam allowance or raw edge fold up.
  • Fourth, this is the time to make your piping and it is a bit time-consuming. Be patient and do the job correctly.
  • Fifth, Pin the front to the sides with piping. Make sure the piping matches the fabric front and do this with the fabric right side up. Next, layer the side panel with piping and pin together.

Use your fingers to hold everything tight as you stitch. Get as close to the piping as possible. A zipper foot may come in handy as will a slow sewing machine speed.

  • Sixth, The back is made into 2 separate pieces so you can slide the cushion in when the fabric cover is ready. Then sew the center seam by hand and add ties at this time.
  • Seventh, cover the buttons and add them in this step. Then hand sew the back seam and add the buttons and you are done.

Best Fabric to Recover Outdoor Cushions


There are a lot of fine fabric choices when you want to recover your outdoor cushions. But there are some factors you need to keep in mind when choosing the one you want to use.

First, you need to determine how much exposure to the elements those fabrics will have. Second, you need to make sure the fabric is at least water-resistant if not waterproof. Third, decide on how much you want to spend on the fabric.

The fabric you choose will depend a lot on your personal preferences but do not get too fancy as outdoor furniture is not the same as interior decorating. Sometimes the plain fabrics are the best for the former.

Here is a list of fabrics you have to choose from:

  • Canvas - it is a plain weave and often plain looking. But it is tough and can endure the different elements like a champ. It is also inexpensive and can be painted with fabric paint
  • Duck Cloth - has a tighter wave than canvas and can be a bit smoother than canvas. But it is harder to paint and make it fit your outdoor decor. This fabric is a bit more costly than canvas.
  • Textilene Fabric - is a synthetic fabric that comes with a PVC coating, The coating makes it waterproof, resistant to fading as well as being fire and mold resistant. While it is durable you get a plastic-like feel when sitting on it.
  • Olefin Fiber - this is also a synthetic fiber fabric and it is very versatile in its use., With its ability to resist sun, rain, mold, and heat. It is called plastic fabric. 
  • Vinyl - if you are environmentally friendly, this is the fabric you want to use. Vinyl is recyclable. It is also tough, easy to clean and should last you a long time. Its drawback is that it's more plastic-like and can be sticky when you sit on it.

There are other outdoor fabrics you can look at and use. But these are the top ones that will make your outdoor furniture look good and last a long time.

Some Final Words

Reupholstering your outdoor furniture may cost you an arm and a leg if you are not careful. Labor costs are high and the different companies rarely use cheap fabrics. Expect to pay almost as much for the cost of reupholstering as you did when you bought the furniture new.

If you have the time, the way to save money is to do it yourself. But that requires a little extra sewing talent and a lot of patience.

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