Of course, we weren't in the market for a new sofa. The sofa I reupholstered for our family room is still going strong in our new house and we had put furnishing the living room pretty far down on the priority list.
Then one day I was trolling Craigslist (probably for chairs since I am lately a hoarder of vintage chairs) and I somehow came across this Ballard Designs Griffin Sofa in navy blue twill with antique brass nailheads and legs with little brass wheels.
I mean...come on. The price was too good to pass up so I went to see it and while the lines and details were just gorgeous, I couldn't help but notice some major fading.
I took a leap of faith here, though, for two big reasons - the fabric was washable and all the cushion covers were removable, and I suspected navy blue would be an easy color to deepen with fabric dye.
I bought every box of Navy Blue Rit fabric dye my local store had, removed all the sofa's seat and back cushion covers, and washed them in my washing machine as the Rit box specified - I used three boxes total for all the covers.
This method required quite a lot of salt and made a bit of a mess of my washer, but I followed the washer cleaning instructions when I was finished and it looked good as new afterwards.
The results were absolutely everything I'd hoped for - the cushions now looked fresh and new and deeply saturated.
For the body of the sofa, I mixed up a diluted solution of the dye - about a tbsp. of powder to 3 cups of water, and used an old sponge to work the dye into all the parts of the sofa that couldn't be removed. I wore rubber gloves and lay towels down everywhere around where I was working because the dye will stain anything it touches!
This sofa has been playing musical rooms and is currently keeping the ivory reupholstered sofa company in the family room. As soon as I reupholster my chair hoard and we have some useable living room furniture, this sofa will move back to the living room.
So go forth and buy faded sofas with abandon! Or freshen up a tired one you have sitting around. You'll be amazed at the difference.