Is Reupholstering Your Piece Worth It?

Throwing some new fabric onto an old couch for a facelift sounds easy enough, right? Well, before you pick up that seen-better-days couch on the side of the road that you swear could look just like that couch from Anthropologie, here are some things you should know about getting a piece of furniture reupholstered.

Furniture upholstery is an art.

Yes, straightforward dining chairs are a cinch if you have an electric staple gun. I would encourage anyone to try this simple DIY to update the look of some old chairs. But anything past that, and I would suggest passing it on to a professional. Trust me, as an avid DIYer I have tried my hand at pieces that were just one step up in difficulty from easy dining chairs, and after it was all said and done, I would’ve paid a professional upholsterer double just to save myself the frustration.

The upholsterer that I work with has 20+ years of experience and has a turnaround time like no one I’ve ever heard of in our area. Plus, you are supporting a local man with a fam. Even better!

Furniture upholstery is an investment.

It takes years and years of experience to be able to nip and tuck fabric in just the right ways to make stripes and patterns line up or to make sure the nap of the fabric lays in the same direction. It is very detailed and time-consuming work not very suitable for anyone who isn’t a perfectionist. In addition, upholstery materials such as foam, nail head trim and piping are quite expensive. I was (and still am) shocked at how much these things can cost if you’re not a huge corporation buying the cheapest stuff available in bulk to mass produce a crappy quality piece of furniture.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you’re contemplating getting a piece reupholstered…

Does it have good bones?

I personally only reupholster vintage pieces. Why? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that pretty much no matter where you buy furniture from today, the quality won’t come close to what they used to make back in the day when they built things to last. Even the more expensive contemporary couches have structures made of pressed wood and in some cases cardboard. No, seriously! Can you believe that? Cardboard!!!

You wouldn’t invest in building a house on top of a shoddy foundation, would you? Same with reupholstering a piece of furniture. Check to make sure that the base is made of solid wood which can be repaired whereas cardboard and press board cannot.

Is it an heirloom or nostalgic piece or do you just plain LOVE it?

Like I said before, reupholstery is an investment. Our prices and turnaround time are the best in town, but with how cheaply and shoddily things are made nowadays, you can buy a piece of new furniture at Wal-Mart for the same amount as it will cost you to reupholster something. The Wal-Mart piece probably won’t last you more than a year or two, but if you’re just looking to get the cheapest available without regards to quality, then reupholstery may not be for you.

Do you want something utterly unique?

The beauty of reupholstering a piece is that depending on your choice of piece and fabric, you can have something that NO ONE else will have. I myself absolutely love coming up with unexpected fabric pairings to create statement pieces for your home.

Yes, reupholstery is for me!

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, first and foremost I’m going to sing my praises to you for being in the minority of people who care about good quality, being unique, supporting local and saving the environment by upcycling.

Next, if you’re ready to proceed, email me (tessa@thenestreno.com) a photo of your piece along with any pertinent information (if it needs new foam, if anything is broken, if you’d like for any exposed wood to be stained, painted, etc.) so that I can get you a quote.

If you love the idea of reupholstering but you don’t have a piece yet, stop by the shop to peruse our selection of couches and chairs with a fresh set of eyes, imagining each piece in a fabric of your choice. Same if you find a piece that fits the bill in grandma’s storage unit, at a local thrift store or heck, even on the side of the road! All it takes is a little imagination. And if you have any reservations about the imagination part, just let me know! I love to help people choose fabrics and help with the design process.