Specialty Spotlight: Furniture Reupholstering

by James Florence


Reupholstering old furniture can give your living room a fresh look. Photo: Master's Touch Upholstery ©2022

Whether you want to bring new life to a treasured family heirloom or just freshen up the look of your living room, reupholstering your furniture might be the answer. Here are some answers to common questions about furniture reupholstering:

When does it make sense to reupholster?

Reupholstering a piece of furniture isn’t about trying to get the cheapest deal; it’s about bringing new life to your favorite pieces. “If a piece of furniture is well-made and isn’t too damaged, it can usually be restored to ‘good as new’ condition,” says Dan Skiles Jr., owner of Master’s Touch Upholstery in Santa Rosa. “However, restoring a piece is usually more expensive than simply buying a new one, so if your piece isn’t special in some way, it might not make sense to pay the extra cost.”

Office Manager Shannon Cronan adds, “I ask my clients, ‘How old is the piece?’ If it’s over 10 to 15 years old, it was probably made better than furniture that’s made now.” Reupholstering old, well-made furniture can result in a nearly new piece that lasts longer than a newly bought piece.

How much will reupholstering cost?

A quick Google search will tell you broadly how much it might cost to reupholster a chair or a couch. But in reality, there are too many variables for Google to give you an accurate estimate. Is your sofa six feet long with a tufted back? Is it eight feet long with four cushions? All of these differences and more will influence the reupholstering cost. Ms. Cronan recommends emailing your potential upholsterer with a photo and measurements to get a ballpark estimate.

What’s the best fabric for reupholstering?

In order to determine the best fabric for reupholstering, Ms. Cronan asks her clients about their priorities. What is most important to you? Is it durability? Is it the way it looks or feels? She also asks about lifestyle. Do you have children or pets? Is this piece purely decorative? In general, furniture in high-traffic areas needs more durable fabric. If it’s an occasional chair, you can select fabric based solely on appearance.

Can I reupholster the seats of my car?

If you want to have the interior of a car reupholstered, it may be best to turn to a shop that specializes in auto reupholstery, although some furniture upholsterers (and some auto body shops) will accept these projects. The cost will be similar to that of furniture reupholstery, so it may only be worthwhile to reupholster the interior of cars that are otherwise valuable.

Can I reupholster a leather sofa?

Reupholstering a piece of furniture involves stripping that piece to the bones. Consequently, the process of reupholstering a leather chair or sofa is no different from the standard reupholstering process. Do note, however, that leather costs four times as much as most fabrics. As a result, the project could be costly.

Can I reupholster without sewing?

Many DIYers have the patience, time and skills required to reupholster their own furniture. However, reupholstering isn’t for novices—with a few exceptions, it involves having good sewing skills and proper tools. If you can’t (or don’t want to) sew and aren’t ready to take your piece to be reupholstered, you have options. You can always use slipcovers or even just throw a bedspread over that beloved couch. Then, when you have the time and funds, take your piece to an expert who will make it as good as new.

Use Diamond Certified Resource to find top rated companies.

Local, Top Rated Diamond Certified Companies Related to Your Topic
Sonoma County Upholstery Companies
Contra Costa County Upholstery Cleaners
Solano County Upholstery Cleaners
Alameda County Upholstery Cleaners
Sonoma County Furniture Repair Companies 

Related Articles
The Homeowner's Guide to Furniture & Upholstery Care
Get Expert Advice From Owners of Top Rated Local Companies
Become a Diamond Certified Preferred Member (Always Free)