To Re-upholster or not to Re-upholster? That is the Question.

Vintage chair - before reupholstery

If we’re talking about your favorite vintage chair or sofa, re-upholstery is the perfect choice to renew or refresh it, and probably the only choice. I’m guessing that throwing your love-story in the landfill is not an option (or you wouldn’t be reading this).

There’s a reason you’ve become attached to your particular piece of fabulous furnishing, so let’s get down to the bones about it.

Start by asking yourself three questions:

  1. Have the stuffing, springs & fabric ‘gone beyond’ functional use, but you still have sturdy bones underneath it all? A solid frame is an essential foundation for any upholstery renewal. Wiggly-woggly is okay, as long as it’s glue-able. As a rule, the old pieces have the best structural integrity, but there’s quality a-plenty in some newer pieces too.
  2. Is there sentimental value in the piece? As afore-mentioned, this is your personal love story. That familiar voice of a story time recalled, the curve of an arm, the tidy lines of your grandma’s living room – this is treasure to be preserved for future generations.
  3. Does your chair embody a style that strikes a creative chord or a vision in your imagination? This is the fun part – time to get inspired! There are infinite possibilities here – if you’re at a loss for ideas, start with my post about using Anthropologie window displays as inspiration for your fabric choice.

Your answers to these questions will inform your ultimate decision about whether to invest in upholstery work – done by yourself (DiY) or by a professional.

If you answered no to two out of three, and there is no other compelling reason to invest in this piece, you might opt to pass it on.

Note: If you’re replacing just the foam in your sofa or chair cushions, and looking for toxin-free replacement foam, check out this post about avoiding harmful flame-retardants in your furniture.

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