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.