Is it worth re-upholstering?

If you or a family member has a chair or sofa that you’d like to have reupholstered, read on. Perhaps the fabric is worn, dated, or it just doesn’t work with your decor. Perhaps, the chair wobbles, or the seat stuffings are deflated. Your first step is to ascertain whether your furniture piece has sufficient potential to be re-upholstered. Yes, reupholstery is an investment. You could probably purchase a replacement piece for the same price, but as I’ll explain in this blog: new is not better. Let’s start with reasons why people re-upholster:

  • You like the furniture and can’t replace it. I’ve had customers who have re-upholstered their favourite Ikea chair.  If you really love the piece, then re-upholster it rather than give it up.
  • The furniture has sentimental value.  It may be your Grandmother’s chair or a footstool made by an uncle.  These are irreplaceable, one of a kind, family keepsakes.  Keep in mind that you CAN make style changes to update a piece.  A knowledgeable upholsterer can explain your options.
  • If the furniture has any of the properties mentioned on the left-hand side of the chart below, these are telltale signs that the furniture is of superior quality and definitely worth keeping, selling, passing along to someone who will appreciate it, or donating it to your favourite second-hand shop or Sally Ann.

Quality Furniture –
Definitely Re-upholster it!

Substandard Furniture –
Think Twice

Hardwood frame, free of knots

Soft wood / plywood / press or particle board / MDF

Glued & dowelled joints

Joints stapled, fast-drying epoxy

Hand-tied coil springs (still done by upholsterers) or heavy-gauge sinuous springs spaced close together

Lightweight sinuous springs, and less of them per seat

Superior high-density foam or horsehair padding

Low density foam, looks nice at first, but breaks down quickly

Holds value as an antique or collectible

Little or no long-term value

Legs are built into the frame

Legs are separate from frame and  screwed in

Made in North America, South America or Europe

Shipped from China


3 thoughts on “Is it worth re-upholstering?

  1. Love this post!! I have two more reasons why you should think about re-upholstering

    1/ You may not have the money for a refit, but have all of the materials available at home….. Reuse and update = eco points

    2/ You may want a designer bespoke or unusual look that is not available in stores.

    As for me, I did this refurbish yesterday, mainly because I was bored and sick of looking at an ugly chair.

    We also saved this art deco tub chair from the rubbish dump and sent it to an upholsters for a new lease on life. It’ is now a prized possession in our household, and sure to last another 50 – 100 years if treated right.

    Thanks for your post I really enjoyed it.


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