Why, How and When To Reupholster Furniture?
Decide Whether To Redo or Buy New Using Claudia’s Tried-and-True Reupholstery Checklist
Reupholstering furniture can work miracles, making something old, new, or something drab, fab. But removing and replacing the fabric on a piece of furniture can be complicated and expensive. Between fabric and labor prices, reupholstering a chair will save you—at most—15 to 20 percent off the price of buying new. That’s why it’s important to make sure the choice to reupholster a piece is the right one. When a client comes to us with a couch, chair or ottoman that needs some love, we follow this checklist to decide if they should fix it or ditch it.
Why Should You Reupholster?
Reupholstery is like hitting the “reset” button on a piece of furniture you may like, but that just isn’t perfect. Maybe the fabric is dated, it doesn’t match the room, or it has seen better days. Over time, it may have become uncomfortable to sit on. Reupholstering isn’t just swapping out the top layer of fabric: it involves stripping your furniture down to its original frame and rebuilding it nearly from scratch. The piece’s webbing, springs and stuffing will be inspected, repaired and, if needed, replaced. Most noticeably, the fabric will be swapped with a new pattern and material of your choosing. The shape and style can also be customized with the addition of buttons, tufting and new finishing.
When Should You Reupholster?
There is only one circumstance where we advise a client to reupholster, no matter what: if the piece has sentimental value and you love it for its history or emotional significance. If it was your grandfather’s armchair, or the rocker where your mother cradled you and where you plan to nurse your baby, no replacement will ever suffice. Beyond that, there are two other factors to consider when deciding whether it’s better to reupholster or replace.
Does the piece have good bones?
- When you first glance at a piece of furniture, the fabric is often all you notice. But when you’re considering reupholstery, the material hardly matters: what’s important is the quality and character of the components that are under and around the upholstery. Consider the visible parts of the furniture’s frame and its structure. Do you like the legs? The arms? The overall shape and size of the chair, couch or ottoman? If everything is right except the fabric, reupholstery may be the right choice.
Does the piece fit the room well?
The most beautiful couch in the world isn’t right if it doesn’t fit the layout of the room where it will live. The process of choosing furniture to fill a space can be especially painstaking because the size and shape of a room is unchangeable, no matter how many times you shake up the style. If you’ve already found the perfect L-shaped or U-shaped couch for your the unique layout of your family room, but you’ve fallen out of love with its pattern or color, you don’t have to start at square one: reupholstery will allow you to keep that perfect fit while getting an otherwise new piece of furniture.
How Should You Reupholster?
There are very few circumstances where reupholstery is a job you can or should tackle yourself. Any piece of high-quality furniture has more going on beneath the surface than you’d expect, and the chances of making an irreparable mistake are too high to be worth the risk. If you’re swapping the fabric around a simple foam cushion on an Ikea bench — have at it. Otherwise, seek a professional’s help. At bb interiors, we work with a dedicated team of experts on reupholstery projects, and our Geneva showroom offers a selection of over 2,700 swatch books so you can see, touch and compare a selection of fabrics to find the right pattern and material for your new favorite furniture. We’ll help you make that piece you like into something you love! Let bb interiors help you start your redecorating journey today.