I am often asked about reupholstering furniture. Especially in this time of budget-concious and green living, clients (and potential clients) are curious about having their existing furniture reupholstered, instead of replaced. But, does reupholstering always make sense?
I have found that reupholstery is not always the most cost effective option for redecorating a room. Labor costs and fabric quantities add up, and clients aren't always prepared for the final costs involved with reupholstery! For example, the "average" sofa costs about $2000 to reupholster. This price can vary dramatically, based on the style of the sofa, whether cushions need to be replaced, the repeat of the fabric, etc. Obviously, one can buy a new sofa for less than $2000. However, one can also find many sofas that cost well over $2000!
There are three main reasons I recommend reupholstery of furniture. First, if your furniture piece has sentimental value, or is a precious antique, it is almost always worth reupholstering the piece. These types of pieces cannot be easily replaced, so the costs are easily outweighed by the sentiment and memories attached to the piece.
Likewise, if your furniture piece is of amazing quality, it is almost always worth reupholstering. For example, a sofa which originally cost you $5000 15 years ago, is well worth reupholstering for $2000. To replace that $5000 sofa today with a piece of comparable value, would probably cost you more than 3 times the cost of reupholstering your existing piece!
Third, if your existing furniture fits just perfectly in your space, it often makes sense to reupholster the piece, rather than to find something new. If you have been furniture shopping recently, you have noticed that furniture has gotten really LARGE overall. Overstuffed sofas, chairs-and-a-half and ottomans are all huge, and often not scaled to most family homes. If you have a small-scale sofa that fits perfectly under your living room window, you may not be able to replace it easily with a new sofa that fits as well. So, even pieces of less quality may be worth reupholstering, rather than beating your head against the wall trying to find an equally perfect piece for your room!
If you are unsure about whether your particular furniture pieces are worth reupholstering, and you wonder about the costs involved, contact an interior designer. A designer can help you figure out the best options for you, help you select fabrics that will enhance your spaces, and arrange to have the entire project taken care of for you. The fun thing about reupholstery, is that you can select several fabrics to be used on one piece, add fringe or other trims, add nail heads - the options are endless. It's definitely worth the investment.