I know the question that’s on your mind. Sure, you’re here to see the pretty before and afters, but what you really want to know is: How much does reupholstery cost?
Truthfully, reupholstery is not necessarily always the cheapest venture – but it is less expensive than buying new QUALITY furniture. It really is an investment. You see, much of the furniture on the market today is little more than plywood wrapped with cheap foam. It’s not meant to last forever, so it doesn’t. Conversely, much of yesteryear’s furniture was built to last lifetimes. (I’m sure that’s not the first time you’ve heard this.) As such, sometimes the cost of reupholstering a piece of furniture from yesteryear can run around the same price (or even a bit more) than what you can purchase new.
So, why reupholster? Various reasons – you found a fantastic vintage midcentury modern piece with amazing lines for a steal at a thrift store, but the fabric’s torn or it’s dirty, and you’d really rather not know where it’s been; you got grandma’s chair that she used to read to you when you came to visit; you encountered an amazing oak dining set at an estate sale for much less than you could buy new, and it fits perfectly into your tiny dining area… Obviously, the reasons are endless. This is what you need to know: if the furniture you’re considering reupholstering is well-made, has sentimental significance, or is perfect for your space, reupholstering is definitely worth considering!
You’re probably wondering if I’ll ever get to the topic you really are reading for: So what’s my investment going to be? The answer is that it varies, sometimes greatly. Obviously something large like a sofa would be more of an investment than an accent chair. Ultimately, the amount of labor that will be involved to tear apart the piece and put it back together is what determines the investment. If something has a lot of fabric, it will be more than something that has less fabric.
I hate to try to put numbers out there for non-specific pieces. Every piece of furniture that I work on is basically a prototype. I’ll probably never work on another just like it. Maybe I’ve done some that are similar, but never the same. Each piece is like an archaeological expedition, and I’ve got to sift through everything (sometimes some pretty gross things, but that’s another post), and figure out how to put it all back together.
One of the factors I have to consider when I’m figuring out an estimate for your investment include not only the cost of basic labor and fabric, but the actual condition of the piece I’m presented. This includes the materials inside the furniture, like the springs and foam, if they can be used again, or if they need to be replaced. Does the piece has significant damage to the frame that needs special repair work? Are the springs sprung? All of this is very labor intensive, and will add to the amount of time I have to spend on the piece. After all, if you’re going to have it done, shouldn’t I do it right? Your furniture is important to you, so it’s important to me.
“But Lindsay, I don’t even have a piece of furniture I want to reupholster yet –
I just want to know how much it costs so I can see if it’s worth it!”
I understand. Believe me, I do! You want to know if you should even bother looking at old pieces at estate sales if you’re going to find out it would have been cheaper to just buy new. Bottom line is this: Yes, you can buy SOME new furniture for less than I will reupholster SOME old furniture. But what is the quality of the new furniture you’ll buy? If you want high quality, but don’t want to pay the high prices of new high-quality furniture, your best option is to buy old high-quality pieces and have me or a colleague reupholster them for you. You will save A LOT of money purchasing high-quality vintage pieces over high-quality new pieces.
If you really want numbers – specific numbers – the best thing you can do is send me a photo of the piece you’re considering, along with the dimensions. From there, I can give you a good estimate of what type of investment you’re looking at. Don’t be afraid to ask. You just may have found that diamond in the rough you’ve been looking for!