We see lots of people on HGTV and DIY shows talking about upholstering old furniture, but is it really an option worth considering?
Here’s four things to think about before you jump in:
Consider the cost
Upholstering furniture is not cheap. I’ll just put that on the table. If you’re thinking you’ll save money by upholstering an old chair vs buying a new one, in most cases you would be mistaken. Of course, it depends on the style of chair and the part of the country you live in etc., I’m sure I pay less where I am in West Texas than someone in Dallas or New York. Remember you’ll be paying for labor on top of the fabric of your choice. Two way to lower your costs are: 1. Getting your furniture free (on the side of the road/ friends giving it away) or at a fraction of the cost via estate sales and garage sales and 2. Shopping discount fabrics or buying vintage fabrics at estate sales.
We found this old chair at an estate sale for ten bucks. She reeked of cat pee and was threadbare, but she was a super stylish mid century piece that was comfortable and a rocker! I just had to take her home.
Don’t think about the cost
If you find a piece of furniture that you absolutely love, with “good bones”, it would be worth the expense to have a chair or piece of furniture that you love to look at and love to have in your home. It’s rare to find a piece that, for lack of a better term, you connect with. So when the magic happens, lol I would encourage you to run with it. Sell or trade whatever you have to, to make that new piece happen. It’s a rare treat to find a piece of furniture in the size and shape you want AND be able to choose the fabric that you want.
Plan your new piece carefully
Buy knickknacks or a plant on a whim but whatever you do, don’t jump into upholstering furniture on a whim. Poor, hasty decisions will end up costing you an arm and a leg. Take your time figuring out where your piece of furniture will go. Get large samples of a few fabrics to see how they will feel next to your other furniture, curtains and rugs. If you’re someone who has trouble making decisions, set a deadline for yourself on the fabric choice. If you’re someone who makes hasty decisions, make yourself take at least three days to think about it more thoroughly.
Most importantly, get recommendations and look at examples of finished work. Upholsterers are not created equally and you likely will get what you pay for. Don’t think you can go the cheap route and end up with a great result. There are many examples of upholstery jobs gone wrong. Make sure you go with experience and be clear on any special instructions.
Having said all that, “rescuing” beat up and rejected old furniture and giving it new life is something I really enjoy doing! It’s an expensive “habit” but a worthy investment when you follow the tips above.
Have you restored or upholstered an old piece of furniture? If yes, I would love to see your before and afters! Feel free to post your pics on my Facebook page: Catrina at Home.