5 Inexpensive Ways to Update an Old Couch – No Sewing Required

The couch is the centerpiece of the living room. Even if you don’t spent much time lounging around, the couch still has a big impact on the overall look and feel of the space.

Unfortunately, couches are expensive. Buying a new couch isn’t always an option, and most people don’t have the skills to re-upholster one themselves. Fortunately, the internet has answers! Give your old couch a fresh look with one of these no-sew DIY projects

1. Fabric Paint

Normally, paint and upholstery aren’t a good mix. But there are kinds of paint specially designed to adhere to fabric, and painting an old couch can completely transform its look.

You have three main choices for paint: fabric paint, chalk paint, or latex paint mixed with a fabric textile medium. Most of the above are available at large craft stores. It’s best to choose a matte paint (unless you want a shiny, faux-leather look).

Simply spray the sofa with a bit of water, let it soak in, and start painting! Paint with the grain of the fabric. You’ll likely need at least two coats of paint.

As long as you use the right kind of paint, the fabric shouldn’t become hard and crunchy. However, it may not be as soft as it was before. People often compare it to outdoor canvas or soft leather.

2. No-Sew Slipcover

Slipcovers have been around for a while, but they’re still a great solution if you just can’t stand the colour of your old couch. You can buy slipcovers at a home design store, but they can run up to a few hundred dollars. Instead, you can turn a large sheet of fabric, like a drop cloth, into a slipcover with little effort.

This tutorial uses an ordinary painter’s drop cloth to create a clean and refreshing appearance.

3. Nail head Trim

Leather and fabric couches often use decorative nail heads to help hold the upholstery in place. You can replicate this elegant look by adding nails to an old couch.

You have the choice of doing this the old-fashioned way, with a hammer and nails, or purchasing strips of decorative trim at a craft store.

4. New Legs

Couch skirts have (thankfully) gone out of style. Now, we like to show some leg. So why do most couches come with boring, rounded wooden legs? Swap them out for something more interesting, like a squared, tapered, or metal leg, to spice things up. Here’s a quick tutorial on replacing legs on a couch.

5. Accessoize

The simplest way to give an old couch new life is to add throw pillows or blankets. A splash of colour can change the whole look of a couch in seconds. Choose a constrasting colour that works well as an accent in the room.

You can mix and match different shapes and patterns so long as the accessories incorporate the accent colour.

How Home Design Helped People Survive Before Air Conditioning

Shotgun homes were designed to keep inhabitants cool in the Southern heat.

Back in 1979, former TIME magazine writer Frank Tripper wrote that people have become “all but addicted” to air conditioning. That’s a harsh way to put it, but some forty years later, Tripper’s observation is as true as it ever was. For those who live in hot climates (and even for many of us north of the US border) it’s hard to imagine life without the miracle of mechanical cooling.

Air conditioning has been around since 1902, but it’s only in the last 80 years or so that people have been accustomed to having it in their homes. So how did people survive the sweltering summer months before that?

There’s no one-stop solution to A/C-free cooling. In the years before air conditioning, people combined a variety of habits and routines to keep themselves going during the hottest days of the year: escaping to the outdoors, taking mid-day siestas, and getting creative.

But the coolest pre-AC cooling tricks were found in architecture.

Most modern homes are designed with central air conditioning in mind. They’re built to be as airtight and weatherproof as possible, hoarding cool air during the summer and keeping out cold winds in the winter. But if your A/C is on the fritz, it can be very difficult to keep your home from becoming stuffy, and humid.

Before 1902, builders in warm climates designed buildings that were meant to keep their inhabitants cool. As Apartment Therapy explains, they built higher ceilings to allow heat to rise and make the space below feel cooler. Some builders added deep eaves and porches to prevent sunlight from streaming in through the windows. Rooms had windows on opposite sides of the space for cross-ventilation, and people planted trees for additional shade.

Perhaps the best example of this technique is in shotgun-style homes. These homes were most iconic and prevalent in New Orleans, but you can find them in San Francisco and other American cities as well.

Shotgun houses had all the rooms lined up in a row to allow air to flow through them. High ceilings, covered porches, and window shutters kept the air circulating and the direct sun off interior rooms. Many windows had awnings and interior shades to provide additional UV-protection.

It’s a shame these ingeniously-designed homes gone out of vogue, but it’s not hard to see why: their unique layout is pretty far from what most modern buyers are looking for.

For one, they’re small. While the tiny house movement is bigger than ever, the mainstream thought still embraces the idea that more space = better. Typically, the front door in a shotgun home leads straight into the living room, and the kitchen is all the way in the back of the house to keep the heat from the stove and oven secluded. That made sense back in 1900, but now, we’re open-concept all the way.

Besides, the homes are an introvert’s nightmare – the bedrooms upstairs are often interconnected, with no hallway separating them! What you gain in cooling efficiency, you lose in privacy.

For now, I’ll stick with my air conditioner.