Custom upholstery is all about choosing details to create something that’s uniquely yours and is the easiest way to update your quality furniture. Maybe furniture hasn’t been an area of interest for you prior to now. If you’re new to furniture and the terms used to describe it, you may be a bit concerned about whether or not you’re making the right upholstery decisions for you. Maybe you’re not sure exactly what upholstery encompasses. No worries! We’re here to help you get a handle on things. Whether it’s a set of chairs or a settee you need upholstered, we’ll make sure you’re well-informed.
There are a couple things that almost everyone wants out of their furniture: high comfort and stylish appearance the furniture. Wool and leather were nailed to the framework by early Egyptian upholsterers. Eventually, padding became a common element of upholstered furniture, then springs. This type of upholstered furniture saw a surge of popularity during the industrial revolution, and was in full swing by the Victorian era (A-Brief-History-of-Victorian-Furniture). The improved quality and availability of springs allowed for more complex upholstery than previously possible, making way for the variety of furniture upholstery that exists today.
Upholstery commonly applied to seating. After all, it can make a massive difference in comfort. This includes everything from ubiquitous furniture like sofas and armchairs to charming daybeds and luxurious chaise lounges. Upholstery can add an additional function to furniture as well. An upholstered blanket chest can become another soft place to sit and relax. Not all furniture upholstery used for seating. Upholstered ottomans can function as a table or footrest, and upholstered headboards can make any bedroom look even cozier.
Unfortunately, upholstery won’t last forever. While a well-upholstered piece can last for many years, eventually, well-loved heirlooms will need fresh new fabric and padding. Reupholstering furniture is no small undertaking it involves stripping a piece of furniture down to just the frame. New fabric cut and sewn from scratch. This includes the more complicated techniques required for details like tufting. Is it worth the trouble, yes it is! The benefits of re-upholstery will not be enough to describe its importance. Reupholstering your furniture means preserving the art and craftsmanship of your furniture’s frame, keeping the memories attached to a piece alive, and preventing your furniture from ending up in a landfill. Considering the average sofa weighs between 280 and 350 pounds, that’s pretty substantial. Plus, we offer pick-up and delivery, so you won’t have to carry all of that weight yourself if you opt for refurbishment.
You’ve certainly heard the term “hardwood” before in reference to furniture, but what does it mean? Is it just an indicator of quality, or is there more to it? “Hardwood” versus “softwood” actually comes down to the species of tree. These arboreal distinctions ultimately have a notable impact on the attributes of your furniture’s frame.
Although you may not realize it, those of us in the Pacific Northwest will be closely familiar with the source of softwood. Washington is nicknamed “The Evergreen State,” softwood origin. While the name “softwood” may give the impression of weakness, it’s actually quite strong. Long, thick cells and a lower density, which is a result of the comparatively rapid growth that evergreen trees undergo. The long fibers make softwood resistant to breakage and the perfect wood for construction framing. All that said, there are exceptions to the rules. Balsa wood is famously soft and light. Despite that, balsa is a hardwood, not a softwood.
Furniture made of softwood has a tendency to dent and scratch. This damage present on your furniture is an indicator it is constructed out of softwood. Softwoods are commonly light in color but darken over time. Additionally, softwoods such as pine are popular for country and rustic furniture styles. Knots, which appear as dark round spots on the surface of wood, are often more prevalent in softwood.
By contrast, hardwood is generally dense and made up of smaller, shorter cells, with a more complex structure overall. It comes from the more slow-growing broadleaf trees. As a result of this slow growth, hardwood is more expensive to produce. This expense doesn’t come without significant benefit, however. Hardwood holds up much better under daily wear and tear, which makes it a favorite for high-quality furniture. In fact, hardwood is both more fire-resistant and less likely to soak up water, which means it’s more likely to survive the elements even if disaster strikes. The species of hardwood used for your antique furniture can identify the period it was built in (Determine-The-Age-of-Antique-Furniture)
If you can’t dent or scratch your wood furniture with your fingernail, it’s hardwood. That said, some hardwoods can also be scratched with a fingernail, these hardwoods aren’t necessarily lower quality. Alder is a soft hardwood that is nonetheless desirable for furniture frames due to its resistance to various climates and ease of use in woodworking. Danish Designer Hans Wegner, or the “King of Chairs”, constructed his Papa Bear Chair out of primarily alder, with a harder wood for the legs and arms.
While you may think of plywood as a low-quality material, found in even the finest furniture. In truth, there is a massive variety of plywood available, and many options can make for a piece worth reupholstering. Plywood is not to be mistaken for particle board. Plywood may vary in grade, wood type, and number of layers. In many ways, plywood is even more durable than solid hardwood. Most notably, it doesn’t expand and contract like natural woods. Used to both construct and reinforce wood furniture. Take the Eames lounge chair, for example. The Eames lounge chair is famous for its high quality and sleek design. (Eames-Lounge-Chair-Review) Made of seven layers of molded plywood underneath the hardwood veneer.
While softwood may be a less popular choice for high-quality furniture, that certainly doesn’t mean that your softwood piece is a lost cause. Softwood furniture can have benefits beyond just the lower price tag. The prevalence of knots in many softwoods can lend itself to a beautiful rustic charm, for example. Softwood great for low-traffic furniture that may not require the extra durability, and there are a number of options available for increasing its durability as well. We’re also aware that softwood furniture can hold personal value to our clients just as much as hardwood furniture. If you have a softwood piece that you’re considering for restoration, contact us for a free consultation! Our experts are able to advise whether or not your frame is worth restoring.
There are quite a few factors to think about when it comes time to select your fabric. Durability is the most important among them. Is your piece mostly decorative, or will it see regular use? Asking yourself this question will determine which kinds of fabric are practical. Fabric durability measured in a metric known as “double rub count” determined through the Wyzenbeek abrasion test. The more double rubs a fabric can endure, the more durable it is. Thankfully, you won’t have to perform this test yourself. If you have children or pets (Pet-Friendly-Fabrics) in your household (or if you’re just prone to spills; we get it) you may want to look into fabric that is stain-resistant or easy to clean.
Of course, durability isn’t the only factor. Upholstery can be just as beautiful as it is functional. Different fabrics pair well with different styles of interior décor. In addition, colors and patterns can make a substantial difference. Brightly colored accent piece adds a pop of color to your space, or more subtle piece that will complement a wide range of other décor.
Some fabrics are also more eco-friendly than others. If ensuring your fabrics are sustainable is important to you, consider looking into materials that are recyclable, biodegradable, and manufactured with sustainable practices. Set an appointment for complimentary consultation with in-house visit from our product design specialist. Your designer will bring fabric sample books to see how the materials will look in your space before ordering fabric for your project.
There are a few important factors to take into account when considering reupholstering a piece. First and foremost is the quality and craftsmanship of the original piece. Some of the work we do requires a fine eye for detail and a steady hand, like stitching, seaming, and corner detail. We can also completely redo your upholstery from the ground up with services like replacing fabric, adding new padding and cushions, rewebbing sagging springs (or replacing them altogether), and fixing any frame issues that may prevent your furniture from being the best it can be.
Of course, furniture often holds personal value beyond the monetary. If you have positive memories associated with a piece, that may be another point in its favor. As an upholstery and refinishing team, we prioritize building meaningful relationships with our clients and their favorite furniture pieces. Whether you are facing a completely new-build, revamping or even a refresh of the furnishings within your existing home we will design with awareness of market trends while maintaining a sense of timelessness that will help you to make an enriching and lasting investment in your furniture.