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Is Re-Upholstering My Furniture Worth It?

Posted on December 24, 2013 at 5:20 PM
Is Re-Upholstering My Furniture Worth It?

Some form of  "Is recovering my sofa, chair, couch worth it?"  is the most commonly asked question by folks considering reupholstery of their furniture.  Web searches for "upholstery price" or "upholstery cost" bring more visits to our website than any other - indicating that people are grappling with that question.  We published a thumbnail cost guide to help.

The short answer to "Is it worth it?" depends. 

So now you groan and roll your eyes and get ready to click away to some other article that will give you the short definitive answer.  Hang in there a few minutes while I try to make this as short and as definitive as you may find (I'll also throw in a few pictures to keep things lively.) 

Furniture That Is NOT Worth Re-Upholstering

Any 3 piece set bought for $799.  Generally, upholstered furniture sold by Raym*** Flanig** or America* Signatu*** and the like.  There, I said it (sort of).  Better to trot off and pick another one from the showroom.   Also generally, any comparison where you are fairly indifferent about which clean chair you might buy versus re-covering your ratty chair.  You can get inexpensive functional furniture in 16 different fabrics - hats off to those that make it possible. I think you get the drift here - an obstacle upholstery shops face is that half their work is in taking off the old fabric.  Another is that we get fabric by the yard rather than the trainload, so...we're a little behind the cost curve on throwaway furniture.

5 Situations When People Think Their Furniture IS Worth Upholstering.

The situations where people are having furniture reupholstered seems like a trusty guideline.  They are what we know without speculating.  Squeezing all our prior upholstery projects into categories we get:

  1. The furniture was fairly expensive when purchased even though it is still available now.  Etha* Alle* and Penn***vania Hous* come to mind as the lower tier.
  2. When it is part of a larger set and replacing the whole set is prohibitive.  Dining chairs for example.
  3. When the style or size is hard to replicate - vintage, custom or designer limited furniture.
  4. When people have a sentimental, heirloom, or comfort attachment  to the furniture
  5. When there is a decorating theme that can't be readily fulfilled by showroom picks.  Particular fabric colors, textures or patterns.  Multiple fabrics on the same piece, special trimmings or durability issues.  (this is a sweet spot for custom re-upholstery)

A quick scan of our upholstery project gallery will help indicate when folks are having furniture upholstered.  Keep these categories in mind.  Think of your furniture and what you want to do with it. 

Some Real World Examples

This chair fulfills all 5 of the reasons people have reupholstery work done.  1) It was better quality.  2) It was mated with other pieces.  3) It is a vintage style, hard to find.  4) It is moving into the 3rd generation.  5) The fabric was part of a larger design theme that included paint, carpet and window treatments  and had to be just right.

This chair is NOT one that would normally be re-covered - commercial contract, widely available, affordable new.  But what vivid fabric!  And that is why we upholstered it (Reason 5).  It had to be exactly that electric blue with a shimmery crushed velvet look.  It was worth it. 

Speaking of fabric, visit our Pinterest Fabric Board for some eye candy to make it worth your sticking around to the end of this article.  I hope it is useful.  Bang me a message with any questions.  Thanks for visiting.   - Jim

Another overview resource you might find interesting on How to Work With an Upholsterer.

Author: James Conklin


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Categories: Furniture Upholstery, What Does It Cost?, Resources