When to Reupholster

If I had a £1 for every time someone asked me ‘is it worth reupholstering?’ I would be a very rich woman indeed. 

A good upholsterer can give furniture a fresh look, take out dated details, and give an heirloom piece new life – updating the fabric, renewing fillings, replacing cushions, and repair wobbly arms.  But it is a labour intensive and skilled job and it surprises a lot of people when the cost of reupholstering comes close to the price of new furniture. 

So here’s my opinion on when it’s worthwhile…

When you Love It

Your furniture has a history that can’t be bought. Perhaps it’s a piece of furniture you bought for your first ever home, or a wing chair that belonged to your grandmother. Maybe you just adore the shape of it? If a piece has sentimental value, or means something special to you, it’s worth recovering.

When it has a Good Frame.

If your furniture has a sturdy hardwood frame and quality construction, it’s worth reupholstering. They most certainly don’t make them like they used to, which is why antiques and vintage furniture may have been re-upholstered dozens of times. However, a cheap sofa ( ahem .. say from a major chain, with just 3 letters as its name and a permanent SALE) is just not worth it.

Trust me, in my early days I took on such work and was horrified to find the frames were made of cheap wood and cardboard.  Honestly, I have seen better made pallets!

When it can be Updated to Your Taste

If you re-upholster you get to choose EXACTLY what you want, plus you are not restricted by current trends or fashionable colour options.

Good upholsterers can also update dated stylistic features of your furniture. For example, they can remove frilled flounces and old fashioned trims, remove dated buttoning, plump up and soften a piece that is too hard-edged, all according to your very own taste.

So, if you want a purple and orange tartan fabric on your wingback chair with lime green zebra print piping, then that’s fine by me.

When you are Concerned About the Environment.

Reupholstery is a way to rescue an outdated or well-used piece of quality furniture that would otherwise be taken to the tip.  Unlike lots of modern furniture, this stuff was built to last. 

So if sustainability and reducing land fill is important to you, then reupholstery is a good option.  I tell my clients when I hand over their recovered chair – ‘that should last you another 50 years or so’ and I mean it.

‘Some furniture is for the here and now, and some is built to last’.

There’s Always a Catch…

Sometimes, but not always, it costs as much to reupholster a piece of furniture as it is to buy new.  Sad but true.  As I have already said, it is skilled and labour intensive work. Please don’t be fooled by those TV shows were they take an old wingback chair from a local tip and re-cover it in 30 minutes for £30.  That’s not real life and not how proper upholsterers work. So please bear this in mind when making your decision.

How to Get Your Quote

Most upholsters, myself included, are happy to provide quotes free of charge. 

Simply email me: hello@ellajenkinsdesigns.co.uk  To help make the quote process easier, please include as much of the following information as possible.

  • Pictures of your piece
  • Provide basic width, length and height measurements
  • Let me know the general condition of the piece (does the seat sag, are the cushions flat, does it have wobbly arms?)
  • Let me know what kind of fabric you are thinking about.

I hope you found this post useful. Feel free to get in touch for a quote or ask any further questions.

Ella Jenkins Designs

p.s Here’s that sad, little footstool again after it has been reupholstered. It had very special childhood memories for my client and she was delighted with how it turned out. It’s now a treasured piece of furniture.

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