Reupholstery – is it worth it?

Your living area is an extension of your personal space – your late Grandmother’s chair is in the corner and the most comfy recliner sits next to it.  However, they look dated and could use a little make over.  What to do?  A common inquiry that Blind Infusion receives regarding upholstery services is, “How much does it cost to reupholster my chair, dining chairs or sofa?”  Unfortunately it is more than most consumers are ready to pay – it is often less to buy new.  So how does one decide if you are going to make the investment to reupholster?

Firstly, lets quickly consider why we are going to transform the furniture piece:

  1. It is the most comfortable chair / sofa you have ever sat in and it is sturdy enough to undergo reupholstering
  2. It has excellent structure that you cannot find anymore, however, the fabric is outdated (perhaps it was custom made). Is the frame solid hardwood and the joints attached with dowels and screws?  If it is made of soft wood, and possibly some particle board, it is not worth the task or financial investment.
  3. It is a sentimental piece – your Grandmother passed it along to you and it has become a family heirloom. you will want to reupholster no matter the cost to save the furniture.

It is not necessarily a good option to reupholster if you are just trying to save it from the landfill.  There are many labour and supply costs to consider and there may be some repairs to undertake as well once the padding is removed.  If you are going to invest in the job it is best to do a complete overhaul including the foam and strapping.  This requires taking the furniture right down to its bare structure and it is very labour intensive.  In addition there are substantial fabric and supply costs as well as transportation and possibly repairs.

So what can one consider for costs?  They do vary from piece to piece including size and detail in the structure.  If it is a dining room chair with just the seat to reupholster it may be an easier pill to swallow than doing the motorized recliner that you sit in every night.  One can expect a good quality upholstery fabric to range from $45 – $175 and then the labour costs will be additional.

For an average dining chair you can anticipate a total cost of approximately $125-$150 and for a wingback chair a rough estimate could be $900-$1,200.  If you have 6 dining room chairs, of course the investment just became more of a commitment due to the grand total of $800 – $2,000.  Sofas and larger pieces such as recliners will be upwards of $2,000- $3,500.

Other things to consider are if there are nail heads, buttons, tufting or pattern matching.  Is the fabric difficult to work with – that is, leathers or thicker chenilles or velvets may carry an additional labour and fabric cost. Do you require replacement of springs and repairing the structure underneath?   What about transportation costs?  If it is a larger piece such as a recliner or sofa there will be added delivery and pick up costs.

There is a lot to consider when you want to reupholster your furniture – the cost is often quite a bit higher than most anticipate and unfortunately most furniture pieces today are not worth the investment.  Family heirlooms and custom made pieces are definitely worth serious consideration and for more information you can contact Blind Infusion.