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Furniture: Part of the Family

Close-up of an engraved piece of wood furniture

What is the significance of a piece of furniture?

We use it every day, but we don’t often stop to contemplate its purpose unless it’s no longer serving it. A chair with a broken leg, for instance, will make itself noticed (probably with a fall to the floor) much faster than one with all legs intact.

But it’s high time that we give furniture its due, if only to better appreciate the subtle magic it holds in our homes.

Furniture’s Beginning

Humans started making and using furniture in the Neolithic period, when we transitioned from a nomadic society of hunters and gatherers to an agricultural one. No longer moving from one place to the next, people could make use of dressers, tables, shelves, and beds.

However, a more rudimentary form of furniture has likely been around since the beginning of human civilization, with early humans using natural objects as makeshift pieces. A large tree trunk or rock could have functioned as a table in the same way that boxes do now when people are moving and haven’t unpacked yet.

Furniture Today

If we’ve come to rely more and more on furniture in the last 10,000 years, it’s not for the convenience it provides alone. Now more than ever, furniture is what brings families together: You call your kids to the kitchen table for dinner, gather on the sofa in the living room, and tuck them into their beds at night.

Furniture provides the foundation — quite literally — for your time together, helping create memories that the furniture itself will remind you of for years to come.

In fact, you might even say that furniture is imbued with the energy of the family. The history your family makes surrounding each piece of furniture creates and grows its value, and it in turn helps shape your everyday lives.

Just as your relationships grow stronger over the years, your furniture’s significance to your family increases with time, to the point that it becomes, in its own way, a part of the family itself.

And you don’t dispose of family, the way people dispose of mass-produced made-to-be-thrown-away pieces of furniture. Instead, you invest in quality that will last, and you fix, refinish, and reupholster when necessary rather than buying new.

Give your furniture the same attention you would a family member in desperate need of a makeover, instilling them with newfound confidence, so they can look their best for all the memories yet to come.

To learn how we can give your furniture the makeover it deserves, contact Queen Anne Upholstery today.

Document Your Furniture’s Transformation With a Coffee Table Book

If you’ve ever gotten anything upholstered or refinished, you’re familiar with the process: You drop off your damaged, aged, or outdated furniture and return to find it repaired, renewed, or modernized. What you don’t see is the process between the “before” and the “after,” the transformation that takes place behind the scenes.

Coffee table book with text promoting a special offer

This winter, Queen Anne Upholstery is changing that with our coffee table book special. For every qualifying* order, we will create a personalized photo book documenting the alterations that transform your piece. When you come to pick up your furniture, you’ll also get a professional compilation of photos to keep on your coffee table.

A Link to Family History

Quality furniture has a life of its own. Furniture that gets passed down through generations witnesses some of your family’s most special landmarks; and the sight of a certain piece may even transport you to a certain period of your life. While upholstering and refinishing allow you to prolong furniture’s stay with your family and prepare it for future generations, you may also want to remember what came before. A specially crafted coffee table book could be an invaluable link to your family’s history, and make a beloved gift to the family member who passed the furniture down to you. In addition to photos of the piece, the book can include a biography of it, photos of the different houses it has inhabited, and even photos of and information about its past and current owners — whatever you want to remember and honor with this one-of-a-kind treasure.

A Record of Changing Styles

Furniture trends come and go. Although you may appreciate the 1970s floral print on your sofa, you probably recognize that it’s time for something new. And just as your old yearbooks chronicle the hairdos and clothing of your youth, a coffee table book made just for you can testify to the decades — and styles — that your furniture has passed through. You may not be inclined to pull out your yearbooks for all to see, but you’ll be showing off this before and after documentation to guests all the time, if only to prove that your furniture really has been around the block.

For more information about our promotion or to get your project started, contact us today.


*Orders must meet a $2,000 minimum in order to qualify.


Image via Unsplash

Four Interior Boat Improvements to Keep You Comfortable Onboard

It’s no secret that safety comes first aboard any boat (so be sure to invest in proper gear and accessories such as handrails, non-slip flooring or mats, and secure storage to keep belongings from shifting haphazardly while in motion!). But when it comes to getting the most out of your investment, superior onboard comfort is second to none. Whether refitting your entire vessel or making a few smaller upgrades, consider these improvements to ensure comfortable (and safe) boating for years to come.

Mind the ventilation

Without proper airflow, both while at port and at sea, a boat’s interior will quickly become an uncomfortable mixture of stale and clammy. Not only does this make it unpleasant to be on board — excess cabin moisture and poor air quality can also degrade wood surfaces, furnishings, and other fixtures over time. This is why you’ll want to make consistent efforts to keep fresh air moving into and through the cabin and allow any musty air to escape. To achieve this, use a combination of hatches, windows, ports, ventilators, and fans.

Start simple by opening windows for ventilation while stationary, if weather permits. From there, double-opening hatches can let in additional air while blocking precipitation and spraying seawater with a protective shield. Opening ports provide similar airflow while durable, heavy-duty sealant stops leaks. Cowl vents collect air and distribute it into the cabin, while similar dorade vents installed atop a high deck box platform allow excess water to drain out during bad weather, when hatches, windows, and opening ports must be shut.

Finally, fans and ventilation systems can provide additional assistance in preventing stale air. Try a mushroom vent with a solar-powered fan paired with electric fans placed inside the cabin to keep air moving internally.

Don’t skip the crucial finishing touch for any window, hatch, door, or other opening: marine-quality window treatments. Blinds or shades are essential to block harsh UV rays that fade and deteriorate interior surfaces and furniture over time, further regulate internal temperature, and tie together onboard decor. The best part? They are highly customizable and come in numerous specialty shapes and sizes to fit everything from hatches to windshields.

Of course, as that marine air is wafting through, your interior furnishings and fixtures will need to be able to withstand the corrosive salty environment — and not just any material will do.

Specialty marine furnishings

Even while at port, salty marine air will creep into a boat’s cabin. Exposure to airborne corrosives is unavoidable in any marine environment, so it’s especially important to make sure interior and exterior furnishings alike are constructed to withstand the elements.

Don’t make the mistake of simply bringing standard home furnishings into your boat. Seek out a reputable marine furniture manufacturer and distributor for custom pieces. If your current boat furnishings are showing early signs of wear and tear, there is often no need to replace them. Instead, talk to your local re-upholstery specialists to find out whether a fresh marine upholstery job will do the trick to revive your chair, couch, built-in, or other soft goods. Custom covers made of durable weatherproof textiles can also help to preserve your indoor or outdoor boat furniture and extend its life.

Comfortable sleeping quarters

No one wants to retreat to their sleeping quarters after a long afternoon on the water only to tuck into a dank, musty bed. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for standard mattresses and bedding to attract and retain humid air down below in the sleeping cabin. Make sure your R&R time is actually restful and relaxing by investing in a high-quality marine mattress.

What makes a specialty nautical mattress so worth it? First and foremost, the model of the mattress matters. Our first choice in marine mattresses is Flexima®, and it’s no surprise that it’s also an award-winner and top pick for many distinguished voices in the yacht community. Here is an excerpt translated from a five-star review published in the February 2018 issue of Yacht Magazine in Germany:

“The Austrian ‘Matratzen Manufaktur’ supplies mattresses with an integrated spring system, made from durable plastic, that also eliminates the need for slats. The cold-set foam mattress remains flexible and can be moved through narrow spaces and cabin doors without having to split the mattress into smaller parts.

We have tested a custom-made Flexima Comfort in medium firmness for a season (70 nights). The test was performed by several individuals. There was a remarkable improvement over the standard mattresses. Sleep was restful and no back pain issues were reported.

A 3D mesh is integrated in the mattress cover to improve ventilation and circulation. The cover can be taken off for washing. The 2-part mattress was re-joined with a zipper.”

Self-aeration is of utmost importance to maximize ventilation and minimize moisture. You should also look for a mattress that can be custom-made to fit any shape and size sleeping area; comes with a mattress cover that is easily removable and washable; and is constructed from durable, comfortable, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic materials for the best possible support and user experience. Finally, make sure your mattress is backed by a full warranty.

A Guide to Your Holiday Upholstery Needs

With the holidays closing in and family gatherings getting closer, seasonal decorations are not the only aesthetic upgrade to consider when readying your home for visitors. Repairing, refinishing, or replacing old furniture can do even more to make a home feel welcoming.

There’s no reason to wait until a piece of furniture is visibly decrepit and falling apart to give it a bit of TLC. Here’s what to look for when deciding exactly what your special piece needs.

It just needs a little love


If the wooden frame of a piece of upholstery has faded, it is a serious detriment to its appearance. This is when the wood simply shows too much wear, the stain has faded to a noticeable extent, or it just doesn’t match its new settings. Thankfully, this is an easy fix.

Refinishing is the process of replacing the existing finish on a piece of furniture. This involves completely stripping the existing finish from the furniture via hand-sanding to a smooth consistency, staining the wood with the oversight of a color match specialist, and applying a finish that will seal the new stain and prevent moisture from absorbing into the wood.

This doesn’t just bring the life back to your old furniture, but it actively protects the wood. In addition to the sealant keeping moisture out of the wood, it prevents damage from dirt and soil.

The biggest indicator that your wooden upholstery needs refinishing? Look for dark rings or spots on the wood’s surface.


If the fabric or cushions on your favorite couch are worn and faded, there are stains and rips in the upholstery of your dining room chairs, or your favorite recliner is more than a little beat up, it may be time to reupholster your furniture.

This is especially true if you have a guest bedroom with furniture that shows its age and wear. The same goes for those seasonal holiday pillows that make for easy and practical decorations.

There are a slew of benefits to reupholstering, including:

  • Making old furniture look like new
  • Customizing old furniture with new fabric for an updated look
  • Repairing and preserving antiques
  • Saving money by opting to reupholster instead of buying new furniture
  • Repairing the furniture itself in the upholstering process

The process we follow for our reupholstery projects includes nine steps:

  1. Remove all fabric and materials from the furniture, resulting in a bare frame
  2. Re-tighten the frame, making the furniture sturdy again
  3. Make any repairs to the frame, if they are needed
  4. Replace the furniture webbing while rebuilding the seat
  5. Replace the cotton padding and batting
  6. Replace the foam cushioning
  7. Apply the new fabric to the furniture
  8. Custom-fit the new fabric

Choosing the right new upholstery

If you are looking at new upholstery, though, there are virtually endless options to sort through when considering what works best for you. This is especially important for hosting parties, like discussed above. If you don’t already have furniture that just needs a bit of love to be fixed up, here’s what you need to know.

One of the best pieces of advice for large centerpiece furniture items like a living room sofa is to keep the color options limited to solid tones that you won’t get tired of. This provides an easy foundation to build the rest of the room around aesthetically. The balance of colors in a room will make it feel either warm and welcoming, or aloof and impersonal.

With a solid and flexible foundation you can still change styles in the future without having to reupholster, fight to work around, or replace, that retro neon upholstery job you thought was the best thing in town when you first brought it home.

One of the most important considerations to keep in mind is how the furniture will be used. Do you have kids? If so, there’s a good chance of at least a little roughhousing on the furniture that may break down more fragile items. Stains are a concern here, too. Can the fabric you use easily resist stains and hold up to cleaning?

Similarly, if you have pets, you should consider how that will play into your furniture needs. A rambunctious pup who hasn’t quite finished training won’t hesitate to jump on the couch to cuddle or play. This means softer fabric will be especially vulnerable to scratches and rips. An older dog that is calmer and knows where he or she is allowed wouldn’t be as much of a concern when picking out your sofa.

If you can, sit on it before you buy it. Make sure you really love it. There is no sense in buying a piece of furniture that you can’t stand to use. So, if it’s more than a decoration, and you know the whole family will be using it to sit down to catch up, make sure it’s as comfortable as your favorite tried-and-true recliner.

Your Guide to Purchasing Furniture

Living room

Before you go out and buy the best deal you can find at the local consignment shop, it’s important to take some time to consider your furniture needs to ensure you find the best match that you’ll love for years to come. While you’ll find plenty of helpful furniture purchase guides online, today we’re going to narrow down our focus to help you find the perfect couch when the time comes.

If you love your current couch but it’s in need of a facelift, you might first consider professional furniture restoration, refinishing, or reupholstery. But if you’re ready to replace an old couch or furniture set entirely, check out our residential showroom to browse customizable, made-to-order options for your living space.

Not sure where to start or what to ask? No problem. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the search.

What to Ask

Depending on who will be using the couch and how it will be used, there can be a huge difference between a swing and a miss and a home run. For example, you may want to avoid a leather couch if you anticipate the family dog may be on it. Will your couch need to hold upon against potential popcorn spills during family movie nights, or do you want a cozy personal fireside retreat to sip some whiskey while reading? What works for one may not work for all, so with that in mind, consider your specific needs and intended uses. Once you settle on a few critical points, it’s time to get to the fun part: picking out the style you want!

Couch Proportions

Though it may seem obvious, you’ll want to make sure that the couch will fit through your front door and that it doesn’t jut out into the walkway and block the entrance to the living room. More nuanced than that, however, are the size and “weight” of the couch, which can either give the impression of the room being much larger or much smaller than it really is.

What influences the perception of more “weight” to a couch? It all starts with the color scheme and thickness of its various parts. If your couch is a dark color, this can appear “heavy.” This is especially true if the couch is placed in a lighter setting, as the couch may be perceived as more imposing by contrast. The same effect happens with thicker legs and cushions.

A thick and heavy appearance in furniture can be fabulous when working together with other aspects of a room, but if all of the pieces don’t come together and balance one another, it can feel awkward and out of place. For a couch that gives the impression of a room being larger than it is, consider one that features lighter or neutral colors and thin, exposed legs.


In general, leather is a good investment for a couch (unless, for example, it’ll double as your dog’s nap spot!). There are a few variables to consider to make sure you are getting the best quality for your money.

The most important thing to consider with leather is the grade. This is a direct indicator of the leather’s durability. Top/higher grain leather is taken from the outside of the hide, while the lower layers originate from further inside the hide. The reason high grade is preferable is because of how much more likely low grade leathers are to result in split grains that are weaker and more susceptible to tears.

Other Fabric Choices

You’ll come across several options besides leather that are still great choices. As mentioned before, not everyone can or should go with leather — pets, kids, and other lifestyle factors can make all the difference. It’s all about what works best for you and your intended use.

With that said, a few other options to know about include:

  • Vinyl: Easy to clean, but also easily torn if anything sharp drags across the surface.
  • Cotton: Cotton couches are extremely comfortable and look fantastic, but they tend to wear down faster. If you won’t be using it in a high-traffic area, a cotton-based couch can make a good show piece.
  • Cotton/Polyester Blend: A solid middle ground for just about any need. Strong enough to withstand a bit of wear, but still visually appealing with the natural colors of the cotton.
  • Microfiber: As soft as suede or velvet, easy to clean, and generally less expensive than other options. Because it is tightly knit, it also lowers the accumulation of dust, making this a popular option for people with significant dust allergies.
  • Nylon: Rugged, but not as visually appealing. You may see furniture made from this material in a high-traffic yet casual setting such as a rec room lounge.


Image via Pixabay

How to Care for Antique Furniture Before and After Restoration

Detailed seattle table refinishing job

Owning a piece of antique furniture comes with a fair share of both responsibilities and rewards. Including a piece of antique furniture in your home or commercial space also means you’ll need to educate yourself about proper care methods to keep your investment in good shape.

Antique furniture care is not a matter of simply choosing a basic furniture cleaner from the local supermarket. Your piece will likely require specialized attention that is a bit more nuanced than modern day furniture upkeep. For example, if you do not use the appropriate polish, adhesive, or finish when you are maintaining antique furniture, you risk compromising its value.

Not only are the kinds of products you use to maintain antique furniture important — the way you use them is also key. Start with these basic tips and techniques to ensure you properly care for your newly refinished or restored antique furnishings.

Avoid Spray Products

When it comes to cleaning your antique furniture, the number one rule is to avoid spray cleaners at all costs. The goal in cleaning an antique is to preserve the patina, not the shine. Most spray products will only leave behind an oily residue that can do more harm than good.

No Rough Textures

Never use a cleaning tool that has a rough texture. Antique furniture can be delicate and scratch very easily. This means you should stay away from anything that might cause damage to the surface of the furniture, including feather dusters. While a feather duster may seem safe, it is important to remember that the feathers can break and scratch the surface of the piece you are cleaning.

Dusting Is Important

Before you apply a cleaning product to antique furniture, be sure the piece is dust-free. Take the time to make sure the dust is completely gone and you did not merely move it around the surface. This typically happens if you use a spray cleaner. Of course, avoid that feather duster if possible, and perhaps try a soft, clean, and dry microfiber cloth instead.

Choose the Right Wax

A high-quality paste wax or English beeswax are the best options for maintaining antique furniture. The wax will help to preserve and nurture the patina of the piece. Apply only a little at a time and rub it in softly along the grain of the wood. In order to properly care for antique furniture, you should do this at least once per year.

Use a Soft Cloth

When you are waxing a piece, you should do so with a soft cloth. Use the wax sparingly and only spread it in a thin and even layer. Gently buff with the soft cloth until you achieve a high polish. Be sure to build up a solid wax finish so that the wood surface is protected.

Gentleness Is Key

When you are working with antique furniture, always remember to use a gentle hand. If an inlay or piece of veneer comes off while you are moving or cleaning your furniture, keep in mind that the piece is irreplaceable. This means that you should not attempt to make the repair yourself. Instead, take the piece to a local furniture restoration expert who specializes in antique pieces.

Monitor the Environment

When arranging your furniture, try to keep antique pieces away from heating or cooling vents, radiators, fireplaces, and stoves. Consistent direct sunlight also causes severe damage to antique furniture. You will want to arrange your antique furniture in a location where you can control the humidity, temperature, and light exposure. You don’t want so little moisture in the air that the furniture dries out or cracks, but you also don’t want so much that mold begins to grow or the wood warps.

Taking care of your antique furniture the right way can make all the difference in its longevity, value, appearance, and functionality. If you own a cherished piece of antique furniture that is ready for restoration or in need of repair, contact us to handle your heirlooms and other special possessions with the TLC they demand.

When to Reupholster vs. When to Buy New

If you’re ready to makeover a room in your home, you may be considering a furniture shopping spree. In many cases, however, that’s neither necessary nor the best option. Even if your furniture looks dated, worn, or just wrong for the room’s aesthetic, you may not need to replace it entirely. Reupholstering and refinishing furniture can give it new life and a modern look. Instead of stressing about finding a new couch to fit in a tricky space or to finding a way to dispose of the old furniture, you could simply turn your dated piece into something fresh, eye-catching, and ready to be enjoyed for years to come.

A reupholstery professional will first help you select your preferred materials, including fabric (based on color, texture, pattern, and more), cushion density and support, and many more custom features (for instance, a chair can be fitted to meet specific mobility needs). They will then begin the reupholstery and refinishing process, starting with fabric and stuffing removal. Old springs and other interior materials will be repaired or replaced, the new fabric will be seamlessly applied, and wood components such as arms and legs can be refinished (or repaired to correct any structural or stability issues).

When done properly by experienced professionals, reupholstery and refinishing can turn a treasured old furniture item into one that looks and feels like new.

Is reupholstery right for your piece?

Not all couches, chairs, or plush furniture pieces must be replaced once they show signs of wear and tear. Consider whether reupholstering the piece in question might the better option. Generally speaking, the older the furniture, the better it can withstand aging. Decades ago, solid wood frames and legs were standard. Modern pieces built within the last ten years are more likely to be made of lower quality materials. Even with reinforcement and new foam, springs, stuffing, and fabric, a structurally unsound or flimsy piece may simply be nearing its expiration date.

Other factors to consider include exposure to smoke, water damage, or mold, as well as the item’s sentimental value. The armchair in your living room may not be a top-of-the-line luxury item, but perhaps if it was a wedding gift from a beloved family member, you may be attached to the memories it represents. Even mass-produced modern furniture pieces may benefit from the TLC that comes with professional reupholstering.

If an item’s fabric or interior stuffing were exposed to mold or water damage, or if there is a lingering odor due to smoke, reupholstering and refinishing can also solve those problems. Metal and wood components and legs can be treated and sealed against mold, if necessary. All potentially contaminated materials can be disposed of properly. The resulting piece of reupholstered furniture will be safer, cleaner, and more attractive than a piece that you steam-cleaned after smoke or water damage.

Buying new furniture isn’t always the best option

When years-old furniture shows its age, it’s natural to assume that buying new furniture is the only option. In reality, buying new furniture can sometimes make a room makeover more protracted and frustrating. If you aren’t buying custom pieces, your style and color options will be more limited. You may have to compromise on a piece you don’t really love. Then, you’ll still need to get rid of the old furniture — which often means hauling it to the dump or attempting to sell it.

By comparison, reupholstering is often simpler. A professional will carefully tend to your furniture, plus you’ll get to select the perfect fabric and other important details. The end product will look and feel the way you dictate. Reupholstering and refinishing furniture can give you beautiful (and more hassle-free) results.

A Guide to Your Summer Upholstery Needs

Warm summer days are a welcome refuge from cold winters and spring showers, and now that the seasons have changed, many of us are dreaming up ways to enjoy ourselves outdoors — and to stay cool inside our homes. Thankfully, select upholstery services can offer several practical and unique solutions to ensure your summer is comfortable and stylish.

With so many options available, your dream fabric awaits to add the perfect pattern, color scheme, or texture to your space. No matter your style preferences, the right upholstery can turn any indoor or outdoor area into a luxurious summertime escape. Here’s where to start to create your own.

Add (or replace) curtains or drapes

Investing in heavy, thick, or dark-toned drapery can help keep the glaring sun out of your home. The right drapes can inject a sense of drama or romance in a room while also helping to reduce your cooling costs. Old slat blinds can only do so much to shade your home from solar heat. They can also project bothersome glare lines onto walls and media screens, especially in direct sunlight.

On the other hand, drapes can easily be shut during times with direct sun exposure and opened when the light is soft. Replacing dated window treatments with drapes will make your space feel fresh, inviting and cool (in both senses of the word).

Invest in patio furniture upholstery for chic outdoor comfort

While sleek wood furniture may offer a clean and modern appeal, sitting or reclining on unpadded furniture is far less appealing. Outdoor furniture is typically constructed from treated wood, plastic, or PVC-based materials that are meant to withstand environmental conditions, and as such, your patio chairs, chaises, or loveseats may need some comfortable weatherproof cushioning.

Especially on clear summer days, you want to be able to sit back in that patio armchair with a good book. When entertaining guests at a backyard barbecue, you also want to ensure your furniture is inviting and comfortable for friends, family, and neighbors. Upholstered cushions are the finishing touch on any outdoor lounge area, as they offer a comfortable place to relax and a stylish addition to your patio furniture set.

Whether your patio furniture is fitted with old upholstery or no upholstery, upgrading with fresh upholstered features for this summer’s outdoor entertaining season will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.

Enter boating season in style

If you own a boat or yacht, don’t forget to update the upholstered touches on your home away from home. Going out for a day or weekend on the waves or lake is a great way to relax during the summer heat. Outdated or damaged seats and other furniture can be an eyesore at best or, at worst, can make your boat ride uncomfortable.

Outdoor and water-resistant upholstery fabric can refresh your yacht’s appearance. Yacht cushions, vinyl boat cushions, window treatments, and leather seats can elevate your style and comfort, while a custom Flexima mattress makes the perfect luxury upgrade for your sleeping quarters. 

With the right upholstery, you can turn your yacht into a summer escape that you and your guests never want to leave. Water and sun-resistant fabrics can be used to customize cushions, seats, mattresses, and other features that will last for many seasons while making you feel more at home.

New Pillows Make for Excellent Upholstery Project

A woman in Seattle wanted to revitalize her breakfast area by having some custom throw pillows made. One of her friends told her about the custom pillows that Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing created for her, so the woman contacted us, then came in to talk with us. The woman took some pictures of her breakfast area, so we could get an idea on what she was wanting done, and it didn’t take long for us to impress her. She went ahead with the Seattle upholstery project.

Seattle Upholstered Pillows by queen anne

Another shot of our awesome Seattle upholstery workThe Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing team showed the woman some of the work that we have done for our previous customers, which impressed the lady very much. Our knowledgeable staff showed her different custom fabrics and the lady fell in love with one. We measured the size of pillows that she wanted and when we had the pillows done for her we gave her a call and she immediately came to see the final product. The custom fabrics on the pillows are a top-notch material and the overall fi
nished pillows really added to the décor. The customer couldn’t be happier with her custom throw pillows that we created for her. The customer said that Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing in Seattle were the upholstery experts, because we exceeded her expectations and the custom throw pillows was exactly what she was wanting to revitalize her breakfast area. Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing provides quality upholstery Seattle homeowners would be proud to have in their homes.

Queen Anne made this Seattle Upholstery customer happy
Another Successful Queen Anne Seattle Upholstery project

3 GREENER Ways to be Environmentally Responsible

GREENER-Ways-to-be-Environmentally-Responsible-1According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), over 8.7 Million tons of furniture and home furnishings are dumped into municipal landfills annually. (Market Wire, June 2008) Re-using quality furniture pieces would save millions of tons of ‘waste’ that could be diverted from landfills.

In an era of responsibility to our planet, and for future generations, here are 3 ways to be GREENER when updating your furniture…


Reupholster and Repair vs. Buying New

GREENER-Ways-to-be-Environmentally-Responsible-2Naturally, we do not want to be wasteful, but we may have heard that reupholstering can be expensive. Some think they might be able to save some money by going to the nearest mass-producing furniture store and just buying new.

What can justify reupholstering? Here’s the answer…

As you know, buying new furniture these days is risky. Most furniture built even as recently as 10 years ago was built at a time when there was a higher standard for furniture construction. Even finer furniture manufacturers of late have had to lower their standards to keep up competition with the cut-throat, corner-cutting furniture manufacturers. What’s going on underneath the upholstery of newer furniture that makes it so much more inferior?

  1. In order to offer the consumer furniture at dramatically low prices, costs are being cut. Woods previously unsuitable for furniture frames are now being used. These frames are often shoddily “thrown” together as quickly as possible with staple guns and fast-drying glues.
  2. Coil springs and heavy-duty sinuous (no-sag) springs are being replaced with a lighter gauge of sinuous springs, and less of them per sea
  3. Reupholstering solid, well-built furniture using fabric purchased from a reputable source can be quite cost-effective. Furthermore, reupholstering is considered a contribution to recycling and aiding our GREEN movement in this country.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering reupholstering vs. buying new:

  • Do you like the shape and size of the piece? Upholsterers can replace cushions, remove a skirt and add new legs, alter styling details such as channeling or button tufting.  Although an upholsterer has to work with the structural frame of the furniture, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
  • Have your taste in color or style changed? A furniture piece can receive a complete makeover from an array of fabrics from an upholstery professional. This can include material with differing patterns, colors, thread count, etc. Your specific tastes and needs change over time, as well as needs when you have children or pets.
  • Is the frame hardwood with a good coil spring system? Check under the skirt or beneath the fabric dust cover on the bottom. If the piece has some weight, it’s probably hardwood and a better-quality frame. That may also indicate denser stuffing and a coil-spring foundation – these all make a piece heavier. Such features also make furniture worth reupholstering.


Use Organic Fabrics, Foams, and Padding options


GREENER-Ways-to-be-Environmentally-Responsible-3Bamboo, Soy, Organic cotton, Linen, Flax, Recycled Polyester and Hemp are increasingly popular with leading fabric mills, as eco-design is becoming well-recognized.

Natural latex and soy foams, organic cotton padding, jute webbing, hemp spring twine and “water-based” fabric stain protector are other examples of available materials used in “eco-conscious” workrooms.

The question is: Why? Many of us probably have never given the eco-friendliness of fabric a second thought. Here are some GREEN industry key words, and what they mean:

  • Sustainable: Fibers come from rapidly renewable resources with growth and harvest cycles of five years or less.
  • Organic: Fibers are grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.
  • Recycled: Fibers from post-consumer waste such as soda bottles. They also come from post-industrial waste by-products from the manufacturing process.


Make Eco-Friendly Purchasing Decisions


GREENER-Ways-to-be-Environmentally-Responsible-4First thing to do is to look for furniture that’s well-constructed and made to be reupholstered. One of the most important but often overlooked aspects of GREEN products (and this definitely goes for furniture) is durability.

If something is well-made and can be readily repaired, this lessens the chance that it’ll end up in the landfill, and could easily save you money in the long run, even if it’s initially more expensive.

Even recyclable materials if they break (and can’t be fixed) require energy and other resources to reprocess and then replace. If your style changes down the road, at least you’ll know that the upholstery can be updated to match you new taste. Also know that well-made furniture that will last a long time and can be passed on from person to person.

Buy vintage … With all the modern, “eco” brands jumping into the market it can be hard to keep in mind that pre-owned goods can be the Greenest purchase of all. Vintage and pre-owned furniture requires no additional resources to manufacture, is often locally sourced (cutting down on transportation), and eases the load on the landfill.

Quality vintage furniture will be durable and unique in character, and such furniture helps create a remarkable interior for any setting – whether that be your entire home, office, theater, hotel or restaurant.

Queen Anne Upholstery, named ‘ Seattle’s Best’ by Seattle Magazine, is an industry leader in customer service. Established on the top of Queen Anne Hill in 1936, Family owned and operated Queen Anne Upholstery is committed to the excellence of ‘old world’ craftsmanship.