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Monday, 4 March 2013

Reupholster Existing Furniture or Buy New?

When a piece of furniture is no longer in fashion or shows signs of wear, a homeowner often wonders whether they should purchase a new piece of furniture or have the existing piece of furniture recovered.  There are pros and cons to each decision.


A new piece of furniture will have a set price plus tax and delivery.  The price should be straight forward and easy to calculate.  You can often shop and purchase online saving time and gas money.

To recover an old piece of furniture, you will need to consider the price of the fabric, the price of the labor, the price of the laborer's supplies (buttons, trim, cording, down, nail heads, etc.), the cost to rebuild parts that may be broken or need added support, the cost of refinishing any exposed wood, and the price of getting the piece of furniture to and from the reupholstered.  

To determine the price of the fabric you must first figure out how many yards are needed to reupholster your chair, sofa, couch, ottoman, or other piece of furniture (your reupholstered will calculate it for you).  If you select a solid piece of fabric, you will often need less fabric to recover your furniture than if you select a patterned piece of fabric.  Patterned fabrics have a repeat dimension, which is the distance down the fabric before the pattern starts over.  

The repeat could be less than an inch or several feet.  The larger the repeat, the more difficult it is for the reupholstered to line up the patterns for the best aesthetic, thus requiring more fabric.  If you want to recover in authentic leather, please note that leather is sold as hides, not by the yard.  Your upholsterer will have to guide you towards the correct amount of hides for your project.

Reupholster Existing Furniture or Buy New?

The Old Furniture

If you purchase a new piece of furniture, you will still have your old piece of furniture.  You can donate the old furniture for a tax credit, move it to another room in your home, or give it to a family member. 


If you recover a piece of furniture, you will be without that furniture for several weeks.  You will have to be home for the furniture to be picked up and dropped off instead of just dropped off if getting new furniture.  There may be some unexpected expenses or delays that arise after the upholsterer starts working on your project.


If you reupholster a piece of furniture, you have a 99.99% chance that nobody will have the same furniture.  You can select whatever fabric you want and maybe even use several different fabrics or other unique materials to create a truly one of a kind piece of furniture.  The fabric on the cushions, pillows, piping, trim, fringe, buttons, skirt, and other parts of your furniture can be selected by you to be exactly what you want.

New furniture showrooms will often have a semi-custom plan where you can choose from a limited selection of their fabrics for your new furniture.  You will often only get to select one fabric for the entire piece of furniture.

Environmental Impacts

Most people have heard the phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle".  By recovering your furniture, you will probably be saving your old furniture from being another item in a landfill and save a tree that would otherwise be used to make your new furniture.  


If you decide to reupholster your furniture yourself, you can save a large amount of money.  If you are reupholstering a dining chair seat, the process is rather straight forward and can be done professionally by most people.  If you are attempting to recover a sofa, make sure you know what you are doing so you don't waste hundreds of dollars’ worth of fabric and end up with a poor fitting messy looking sofa

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