When to Reupholster Furniture

Quality furniture does not come cheap, so if you have a piece that has become a little thread bare and could do with some new material on it, do not simply throw it out, or give it away – consider reupholstering instead. The cost to reupholster furniture is certainly a lot  cheaper than replacing with a new piece. However, not all furniture should or can be reupholstered and you need to know when you should re-do your furniture with new material, and when replacement would be the best option.


There is certainly nothing wrong with be being thrifty, but make sure it makes financial sense to do so. If you have great Aunt Sally’s mother’s chair or couch, it is likely an antique and probably worth saving. On the other hand, furniture made within the last twenty years or so, which was not high quality construction in the beginning, is probably not worth saving. In fact, it would make financial sense for you to buy cheaper furniture now and replace it later, or if you have the cash to go ahead and buy quality furniture now.

It is true that you can substantially save if you reupholster furniture, for example, a durable couch begins around $2,000.00. The problem is that most folks do not know when to reupholster and when not to.

Deciding if the Furniture is Worth Saving

Before you give away the furniture, or decide to reupholster, take a good look at the quality of construction. Look to see if soft wood was used. You can press your fingernail into softer wood, and if there are lots of knots or dark spots, you know that it is made of cheaper materials. The way it is assembled gives another hint as to whether it is a valuable piece of furniture, and worth the cost to fix. High-grade items are pressure glued, and use a lot of hard wood in their support system. When you flip over your sofa or chair, look for cheap nylon used as filling. High quality furniture has durable padding, and is held together by twine that is coated with resin.

How to Reupholster Furniture

You can reupholster furniture yourself, but it does take time to learn how to do it properly. Professional reupholsters that have done that type of work can save you hours, and very costly mistakes in less than perfect work. They know the tricks and tips of the trade, and even though they are expensive, you will not regret having the job done. Not only will you have to buy the tools to work on your family heirloom, but you will to have somewhere to do it as well. Hiring a professional upholsterer makes a lot more sense since they know how much material to use, what type is the most durable, and designs styles.

Remember as well that there is more than just money, tools and time at stake, there are other aspects of the trade to learn. Repairing a damaged frame is vital to how your material will wear, and how it looks. In addition, if you do it yourself, you will need to know how to make exact cuts, so your fabric costs will not sharply increase. If you need to replace or want buttons on the piece, or removing staples from an already damaged frame, you will have to be exact, or your furniture will be ruined. Skirt webbing for couches and for the seat of chairs takes a few years of experience to know how to do it right as well.

As you can see, it might be in the best interests of your antique quality furniture to let a professional do the job. If you have the time and patience, and can do without or replace your furniture, then go ahead and try it, but make sure it is what you want.

Finally, before you allow just anybody to strip down your precious furniture, ask around for references, and look at samples in pictures of their work. Ask for an estimate on the costs to do the job, and shop around your area for at least four other estimates. It would be a sad thing to happen to a wonderful antique if it was messed up, and your hard earned cash out the door as well. Before you bring the piece home, sit in it, flip it upside down, and check that the quality of workmanship is exactly as you wanted. That way you will know that you got what you paid for.