How to fix a sagging couch – an expert guide to giving an old sofa a second life

Here’s how to fix a sagging couch with an expert's six-step process to give your seating space an upgrade

a sofa in a country home
(Image credit: James Merrell)

Wondering how to fix a sagging couch? At the heart of any modern home sits a couch equally as comfortable as it is stylish. You only have to look at the best couches to know this. 

But unfortunately – like many of the other larger pieces of living room furniture you have in your home – these buy-it-now-and-love-it-forever couches can be pretty costly. This is why you’ll want to keep it looking its best year after year. However over time, no matter how much care and attention you give your seating space, couches can wear away causing the cushions to sag and the comfort levels in your sofa to diminish. 

If your couch cushions do start to sag, fortunately, it is repairable. But how, exactly?

A step by step guide to fixing a sagging couch

If your couch is past the point of plumping, stick right here. We spoke to a professional furniture assembler, Vanessa Garcia from Taskrabbit to find out how to fix a sagging couch. 

1. Firstly, make sure assembly is thorough

Did your couch need to be assembled? If so, double-check to make sure you did so thoroughly. A loose screw or uneven fitting could be the cause of a saggy seat in even the best sofa. And if this is the case, it's easy to fix. 

Vanessa says, ‘I’d say, don’t assume you know how to assemble the couch you have in front of you. Always read the directions it comes with as every step is there for a reason. 

'The amount of times I’ve had to rebuild one because homeowners or tenants didn’t read the instructions or just assumed they could do it with whatever screw they could find. So in essence, read the instructions and follow them thoroughly.’

2. Determine where your couch is sagging

Could it be your cushions? Could it be your springs? Or could it be the actual frame of the sofa that’s causing your sofa to sag? 

To check whether it’s the cushions that are causing your sofa to slump, feel and look inside the cushion covering to see whether they are in good, bad or just ok condition. 

To check whether it’s the springs, you will need to remove all the cushions from the sofa. Depending on what sofa you have, you may also need to carefully remove the dust cover at the bottom so you can see whether or not the springs are all uniform or out of place. 

To check whether it’s the frame of the sofa, remove all the sofa cushions and carefully turn the sofa on its side so you can see the bottom of it. If the frame needs replacing, you’ll be able to see a crack or bowing in the frame. 

3. Tackle the cushions

If you've discovered that the cushions are the root cause of the sagging, out of all of the problems to have, this is a quick problem to resolve. 

‘This is actually the easiest fix', Vanessa tells us. 'All that would need to happen is to get a new cushion and replace it with the new one by unzipping the cushion cover and placing new foam or any new material of your liking.’

4. Take on the springs

If you've found some misshaped springs, you'd need to replace them. But just note, as Vanessa tells us, this would be a more 'detailed job'. So if you'd rather call in the professionals, now is the time to do so. 

Vanessa says, 'The fabric would need to come off, then [you would need to use] pliers to see the damaged springs and replace them.

‘After fixing them, you’d need to reattach the fabric again carefully reviewing where it went before so the aesthetics are intact.’

5. Fix the wooden frame of your couch 

As its name suggests, a couch frame gives your seating space its shape. More often than not, sofa frames are made from wood, like kiln-dried hardwood which is a sturdy base from which to build a couch. Replacing areas and/or sections of your couch frame would require a lot of care and precision as you would need to carefully strip your sofa of its fabric and replace the areas of damaged wood. 

'This is the most time-consuming as this will involve removing most of the upholstery fabric to see the wood hidden beneath,' says Vanessa.

blue living room with spanish style door

(Image credit: Boz Gagovski)

How do I stop my couch from sinking in?

The best way to prevent your couch from sinking in is to pay attention to the assembly process.  

'While assembling, every single screw has to be tightened 100% unless instructed otherwise by the instruction packets,' Vanessa says.

So how can you prevent your couch from sinking in?

'Using a drill usually will help tighten the screws or bolts that human strength most likely will not. Of course, practice using a drill prior to assembling as you don’t want to wash out your screws, then you’ll be really screwed haha as it would be hard to tighten the screw.'

But along with this, you could also plump up your cushions to stop them from being weighed down and encourage them to hold their shape. You should also flip your cushions as regularly as possible. While another option could be to replace the foam insert in your cushion. 

Freelance writer

Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Homes, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's big on creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.