If you want to upholster a piece of furniture, you should make sure that you acquire enough fabric to cover it without running into problems along the way. Misjudge your furniture’s requirements, and you may end up needing to start over. Even after buying more of the same fabric, you may be left with odd breaks in the upholstery where the pattern doesn’t align. Learn how to calculate upholstery fabric yardage here so that you don’t face these issues.

Measure the Cushions

Start by measuring the length and width of an individual cushion from the furniture piece. Multiply the length by two to account for both the cushion’s top and bottom faces, and add an inch to the length and width to account for the seams. If your cushion is shaped so that it has four sides in addition to the top and bottom faces, measure the height of its sides along with the length and width of the top and bottom faces as you do for a regular cushion. Multiply that height measurement by two and add the resulting number both to the total length and to the total width measurements. Give yourself two extra inches to the final measurements for the seams.

Since upholstery fabric is conventionally measured in yards, you can convert your dimensions into yards by dividing by 36 (the number of inches in one yard). Yardage reflects the length that you need, while you keep track of the width to make sure that the fabric you purchase is wide enough for your furniture piece’s various parts. If it isn’t, you will need to join more than one continuous piece of fabric together or find a fabric that is broader.

Measure the Frame

Your furniture piece probably has a backside that you want to cover as well. Measure the length and width of the back. Add an inch to each end where there will be a seam. After you find this measurement, change it into yards and keep it separate from the rest of the frame.

Do the same for the front of the backing. For the armrests, you can measure width normally and add enough inches to cover their front faces. To find the armrest length, you should measure from the point where they start (adjacent to the cushions) all the way around to the bottom of the armrest’s bottom edge on the outside. After finding the numbers for one armrest, double this data to account for the other one. Subsequently, you should find the length and width of the front section beneath the cushions as well, if applicable. Insert another inch to all these measurements wherever there will be a seam. With this done, add all the lengths you found for the front and armrests. Finish off by converting your measurements to yards and add this to the back length measurement to get the total yardage you’ll need for the frame.

Figuring out how to calculate upholstery fabric yardage can still be tricky, even with written direction. For more aid, you can refer to the upholstery measurements guide that appears in each of the home décor fabric product pages on the DecoratorsBest website for rough yardage estimates. We also recommend that you discuss the matter with an upholstery professional who can give you more targeted advice.