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When to Reupholster Versus Buying New


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Based in McLean, VA

Creating inspired interiors for discerning clients since 2003. Accepting clients in DC, Virginia, Maryland, and select cities throughout the United States.

When to Reupholster Versus Buying New

When to Reupholster?One of the many things I love about designing spaces for my clients is the ability to transform a room with furniture. Often, we are asked to include a family heirloom or sentimental piece into a design project. Sometimes we are asked if it is worth reupholstering existing furniture versus purchasing a new piece. The answer to, “When to Reupholster?,” may be difficult to answer.

When to Reupholster: The Process

It is important to understand that reupholstering is a major undertaking – the furniture is stripped down to the frame and then rebuilt. Reupholstering could involve replacing the padding and springs, mending the frame, or re-staining wood. A complete reupholstery job is very labor intensive. Consider the following to evaluate if a piece is worth the investment:

  • Check whether the piece has springs or not. The best upholstered furniture has hand-tied springs beneath the seat cushions. Lower-quality furniture uses sinuous, or “S” shaped springs to support the cushions.
  • Check the solidity of construction by lifting one end of the piece (if you are able to do so safely). How heavy is it?
  • Consider whether your piece has been reupholstered in the past. If it has, chances are good that it has lasted many years already and may be worth investing in again.
  • Is the piece a family heirloom or an antique? If the piece has been in your family for generations and has sentimental value, it may be irreplaceable and worth the investment. The same holds true with a piece that dates back more than a century and cannot be replaced by new furniture.
  • Does it have “good bones?” It makes sense to invest in reupholstering if your piece is very high quality or has an unusual frame. In this case, the cost of reupholstering it may be less than buying a new piece of comparable quality.

When to Reupholster: Making a Decision

Overall, the decision of whether a piece is worth reupholstering needs to be made after considering cost, condition and, perhaps most importantly, what it is you are trying to accomplish by reupholstering the furniture. Please feel free to contact us today if have any questions or would like to discuss alternative to reupholstering your furniture.