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Don’t Replace Your Furniture. Update It Instead! ORC Bonus Room Makeover Week Five


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Today, I’m showing you a few handy tricks I’m using to pull this room together without spending much money. A little ingenuity goes a long way.

It’s Week 4 of the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge™ and our bonus room-turned family media room is just about complete …

This week has been all about little tweaks and hacks I can make to my existing furniture to give it a fresh look. The biggest project I tackled was updating our existing Pottery Barn PB Grande sofa to look a little newer. This sofa is 15 years old and it’s showing its age, despite still being a super sound and comfortable piece of furniture.


Inn the 15 years that she’s owned it, Christine has already replaced the slipcover once. That replacement cost about $2500. That’s the price of a new sofa! The difference is that this piece is seriously still as comfortable and stable as Day One. It just looks kind of .. worn. (Story of my life)

Our bonus room gets a lot of sunlight and we began to notice the cover was fading under the harsh UVs about six months ago. Those pink splotches you see are indicators that the dye is fading in the sunlight.

old sofa cover revamp

Initially, we’d planned to just buy a new sofa cover. Then we realized that the Grand Collection seems to have been replaced by the Big Sur Collection. While we love the look of the Big Sur sofa, it’s not exactly identical to the one we have. As a result, we weren’t sure that we could even purchase a new slipcover for our sofa.

That’s when I started to consider options to make our existing slipcover look a little newer. I’m no stranger to dyeing fabric. I’ve been dyeing my dark cloths and upholstery since I was a kid. My mother taught me how to extend the life of my faded black fashion by throwing a pack of Rit Dye in the drum of the top-loading washing machine when I was very young and I’ve been using that method most of my life.

Only now I’m older and I don’t have a top-loading washing machine. Mine is a front-loader. The main difference is that front loader washing machines use a lot less water. Plus, they don’t fill entirely until after the load has started and the basin is locked (to keep you from opening the door and causing leaks).

Since I can’t add a pack of powder to the water BEFORE I put the fabric in the drum (as you would with the traditional dye method), I’d always assumed it was impossible to use the washing machine method to dye my clothes and upholstery. For years, I’ve been dyeing fabric with the old school method – a plastic tub of dye in my garage, stirring constantly. That method works for smaller items like shirts and pillow covers, but I’d need a massive dye tub for a slipcover.

I knew there had to be a better way to dye a slipcover in my home. So I researched dyeing methods and came up with this super simple strategy to dye a sofa slipcover (or any larger item) in my front loader washing machine.

How To Dye A Sofa Slipcover

Dyeing a sofa cover in a front load washing machine. Previously considered impossible, I figured out a way to dye large, heavy fabrics in water efficient front loaders without blotching. This method keeps the dye consistent.

How To Dye A Sofa Slipcover | Dyeing a sofa cover in a front load washing machine. Previously considered impossible,  I figured out a way to dye large, heavy fabrics in water efficient front loaders without blotching. This method keeps the dye consi…

fabric dye
very hot water
4 cups salt (for cotton, 4 cups vinegar for synthetics)
1 tsp dish detergent
dye gloves
glass measuring cups (one 4 cup and one 2 cup will work)metal whisk (don’t use silicone as it will stain) tea kettlebaking soda and white vinegar (for fabric prep)

Here’s the recipe I used to achieve the dark grey dye for my sofa slipcover. I wanted a color with some depth, so I used two different types of fabric dye and colors.

1 bottle charcoal grey
2 boxes pearl grey


Step One – Prepare your slipcover (fabric) to accept the dye.
Since the sofa slipcover is pretty large and bulky, I decided to create two dye baths so the fabric has room to circulate through the dye. I recommend you do this too.

Start by washing the body of the slipcover on a cold water cycle. Don’t use detergent on this round. The point of this preparation is to remove all leftover chemicals from the fabric so that the dye can penetrate. Instead, use just 2 cups baking soda, poured directly into the drum of the machine, prior to load sensing. Then add 1 cup white vinegar to your detergent cup.

It may be tempting to skip this step but don’t. If you want a consistent fabric color, this step is necessary. This will release all leftover detergents and caked-in dirt so your dye will be able to fully move into each thread.
Once the load is complete, don’t dry your slipcover. Pull it out of the washing machine to release any water puddles. You want the slipcover to be fully wet when you move on to your dye bath. Water is attracted to water. With a wet fabric, your dye will be more likely to penetrate every nook and crevice of your slipcover.

dyeing fabric in a front loader washing machine

Step Two – Prepare your dye mixture.
Unlike the pour and go dyeing methods of the past (with top loading machines), this method will require a little more preparation of the dye. But don’t worry. It’s super easy.

Bring a tea kettle of water to a near boil. Pour your dye into a glass measuring cup. Use a separate glass measuring cup to measure out two cups of your very hot water. Then add them to the dye and stir with a metal whisk until the dye has fully dissolved. Measure two more cups of very hot water and add that to the dye mixture and stir again.

using Fit fabric dye to update your sofa cover

Step Three – Prepare your salt mixture.
In a separate glass pouring vessel (I used this glass juice pitcher), pour two cups salt and two cups very hot water. Then stir until the salt has fully dissolved. Repeat by adding an additional 2 cups salt and 2 cups very hot water.

Then add 1 tsp dish detergent to your salt mixture and stir thoroughly.

the right way to dye fabric in a front load washer

Step Four – Start your wash cycle.
Before adding any of your salt or dye mixture to the washing machine, you want to begin your cycle. Don’t worry that you won’t be able to open your tub door once the cycle begins. You won’t need to.

Choose the hottest and longest possible cycle. For my washing machine (an older model of this one), I used the Sanitary cycle and chose heavy soil level.

front loading washer dye method

Step Five – Add your dye and salt mixtures to the washing machine.
Rather than adding the mixture directly to your tub, you’re going to add it into the soap dispenser.

You can do this by opening the drawer for your dispenser, after the wash cycle has begun, and removing the plastic cup. Set the cup aside and pour the dye mixture directly into the dispenser area where it says “Main Wash”.

Immediately after adding the dye, follow up by adding the salt mixture. This will help flush the dye from your components and will assist the dye in thoroughly penetrating the fabric.

Close the door and wipe down any areas that may have been splashed with dye using a wet paper towel.

recipe for dyeing fabric in a washer

Once your cycle has ended, you can remove your slipcover and allow to dry. Then repeat this entire process on the cushion covers. You don’t need to dye them all individually. You can just add them all to one dye bath.

While I still need to steam the sofa cover to remove the wrinkles, I’m really impressed by how well the dye took to the cotton twill fabric!

dyeing a sofa cover

My sofa cover looks much more modern and new than it did before and I spent less than $50 to get this look. Considering a sofa cover replacement would’ve cost around $2500, I consider this a major victory.

You’ve maybe noticed something else I did to update the look of my dated sofa: I replaced the old legs with new modern pegs!

dyeing a sofa slipcover

I found these replacement legs for just $3.50 each and the process was simple. I unscrewed my sofa’s existing legs and simply screwed these in right in their place. It was a major update that took less than 15 minutes and just $15!

I actually loved the look so much that I decided to purchase an additional six legs to tie our new modern chaise and old sofa together. That update was simple as well because I was able to just use these legs instead of the legs that came with the chaise while I was assembling it. This is what the original legs on the chaise looked like:


chaise lounge | replacement legs | keith haring dog pillow cover

You can stain the replacement legs, (which are available in all sorts of sizes and styles, by the way), but I chose to keep them natural so they would match the birchwood accents we’re bringing into the space.

Accents like this awesome Birch Plywood Art Station I built for my daughter:

DIY Kid's Art Supplies Storage | An easy, wall-mounted crayon and marker organizer for kids. Renter friendly!

It’s actually not even birch at all! It’s a sheet of unstained pine plywood that mimics the look of birch but for less than $10! To create the storage vessels, I used a set of inexpensive clear file holders that I spray painted white on the interior (to maintain the glossy look on the outside and 4” PVC piping, cut to a 15 degree angle and glued to the plywood with construction adhesive.

Then I added a little birch shelf at the top to display some fun artwork by a local Nashville artist.

Everything is adhered to the plywood, so this is renter-friendly storage. I even attached the plywood to the wall using these velcro strips, which means this will come down easily and no repairs will be necessary when we move. So we can take this cute art storage station with us!

organizing coloring supplies in a kid's room

She loves it so much that I woke up yesterday to the sound of her in the bonus room (which is nowhere near completion, mind you), already drawing up a storm!

kid's craft supplies storage

My plan is to build a small desk for her to work on her artwork in front of the 3D wall mural we installed last week (more on that process here). For now, it seems she’s happy to color on an old table in the middle of the room.

I’m just happy that it looks cute and it’s tying in the wood accents we’re implementing to update this space for a modern appeal:

organizing kid's coloring supplies

Our last little furniture hack of the week involves this Ikea Hemnes Media Center that we’ve owned for six years. It’s been with us in 3 different homes now and has taken a bit of a beating. But, hey! It’s still sturdy and the white wood finish matches basically everything.

So to modernize it, I created these simple drawer pulls by cutting an extra large dowel down to 1” pieces and using a drill bit to create a pilot hole in which the existing hardware’s screws would fit right into.

Updating Ikea Furniture

They work really well, I’m pleased to report, and they look so fresh!

Ikea Hack | Updating drawer pulls for $1 total!

dowel | media unit | cabinet screws

They’ve given us the perfect birch accent we needed to tie this media unit into the new modern vibe of this new bonus room. And the project was less than $5!

The room is finally starting to shape up. There’s still a ton of styling to do, which can be overwhelming. I’ve got to find a place for all of our family’s sentimental items.

But I’m also not forgetting the fun! I’ve already added desperately needed storage by filling this Ikea PS cabinet with our games.


And finally, Christine’s record player is getting a permanent home in this room as we shift this space from a playroom to a full-service media room for our whole family to enjoy.


There’s still a lot of work to do, so I’m releasing you to go check out the other One Room Challenge™ spaces that are oh-so-close to completion this week: ORC Blog


I’ve been a long-time follower of the ORC™ and I’m always a little humbled and sentimental that it’s still around for me to participate in. So if you’re looking to kickstart a DIY home project or you just want to take a peek into the reality of renovating spaces, I highly encourage you to check it out.

Thanks, as always, to Linda Holt for bringing this event back every season! We love it as much as you do. And a super huge thanks to Better Home and Gardens and all of the amazing sponsors who keep this event going! You can see the full list of official sponsors here.

This time around, I’ve even got my own list of sponsors to show off. I can’t wait to tell you about each of these brands that has made my participation in this event possible. So stay tuned! That is, after you go check out all the other spaces.





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