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

Refinishing

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.

Reupholstering

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.