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Details Determine Upholstery Price

Posted on April 20, 2015 at 10:10 PM

Details that Determine Furniture Upholstery Prices

A popular article published on HomeAdvisor titled "Furniture Upholstery Costs | Average Price to Upholster" has a graph showing that homeowners have paid a low of $207 to have furniture reupholstered. An average of $311 to $800. And a high cost of $1235.


That is useful information - to someone, but nobody I know.


As an upholsterer I immediately think that the low price is too high. And the high price is too low - especially in New Jersey. Maybe they got their upholstery averages from Kansas or South Dakota. Truthfully though, upholstery prices vary by region - cost of living, taxes, wage trends and all that (sigh - New Jersey, right?). So that is part of this article - where you live is a detail affecting part of the cost of re-upholstering your furniture.


But the idea of the average price to reupholster furniture is about as useless as the average cost of a four-wheeled vehicle. The meaningful part is "what vehicle." A garden tractor or a Land Rover?


Some Basic Details of Upholstery Prices


Type of furniture

The cost to upholster furniture will depend on the kind of furniture - a chair seat or a couch. Generally bigger pieces of furniture cost more to upholster than smaller ones. Beyond that, exposed wood frames generally cost more than fully upholstered furniture.



The fabric you choose will impact the cost to upholster furniture. Fabric prices vary by durability, stain resistance, pattern, compostion and country of origin - to start.


Existing condition

The amount of damage or wear affects the cost to upholster furniture. The more work that needs to be done to restore it to reliable condition, the more it may cost.


Folks often view our Upholstery Price Guide, and then comment that their project cost was different from what was listed. Details matter. The cost guide shows prices of typical reupholstery of some typical pieces of furniture.

Typical reupholstery assumes that the piece is in good condition - not requiring work on the underlying foundation (springs and padding) and not displaying special upholstery techniques or finishing procedures. For us, 'typical' means removal of the existing outer fabric. Some budget 'reupholstery' jobs merely re-cover over the existing outer fabric. Take note.


Deeper Details Affecting Furniture Upholstery Prices


Foundation Rebuild

Where the springs and supporting foundation have worn out and sagged, rebuilding them provides a smooth, sturdy base for the padding and outer fabric. Lumps, hollow spots and a 'caved-in' feeling are indicators.  Rebuilding and re-webbing the foundation upholstery is usually an additional cost.


Frame Repair

Wobbly legs, loose arms and visible cracks are symptoms of a damaged frame. Sometimes, the fix is as simple as tightening a screw or replacing a cracked dowel. In severe situations the frame may need to be taken apart and repaired - which means the foundation must be dismantled as well.

Padding Replacement


Compressed or worn padding makes for an uneven and uncomfortable piece of upholstered furniture. Elbows thunk into the wood of arms and fabric pulls unevenly across seats and backs. A typical re-upholstery job includes applying light layers of batting to ensure loft and plush. Heavy wear, requiring the padding to be completely replaced - versus merely supplemented - adds to the upholstery cost.


Tufts and Channels

Furniture with tufts and channels tends to cost more. The fabric application and layout is more involved - sometimes requiring rather involved cutting and sewing. Tufts and channels also use additional fabric.


Decorative Edge Treatments

Fringe, braid and decorative nails are a few finishing treatments for upholstered furniture. They are generally applied after the large scale upholstery work is completed and are usually considered upgrades or options to the basic edge treatments.


Flat or Fossilized Cushions

Feathers or dust puffing out of a cushion is not normal. And cushions that crunch when you squeeze them are not comfortable. Where needed, replacement cushion and pillow forms are generally additional. They can be of various types - from simple foam to a foam core wrapped with down quilting to pure down.



Upholstery work is done in a shop and the furniture needs to be transported to and from your home. Usually this will be included in the cost to upholster your furniture, but check - it can make a difference.


Generally, other upholsterers I've met are eager to show value at the prices they charge. Most will not upcharge for a minor circumstance they encounter regularly. Rates vary somewhat based upon the level of service they support. A topic for a future article.

Thanks for reading, I hope this was helpful.

Related articles:

Is Re-upholstering My Furniture Worth It?




Categories: Furniture Upholstery, What Does It Cost?