Why Re-upholster vs. buy new?

Not all furniture is created equal.  To be frank, much of what is out there in the retail world is “disposable” furniture.  Designed and constructed cheaply, and unable to withstand the test of time and use.  This type of furniture is what you will see in the weekly ads for large retail stores…a sofa and chair for $899, matching recliners for $299 each…and so on.  Typically, these “deals” will not last you for more than 5 years, then you’re taking them to the landfill.  They are built in mass quantity, usually overseas, and made from cheap materials like plywood and staples instead of solid hardwood with glued and doweled joints.  Good quality furniture is not cheaply built, and is much more expensive.  The best quality high end sofas can retail for $10,000 these days!  When someone brings me a chair or sofa that in my professional opinion is not worth the investment of re-upholstery, I tell them so…every time.  You see, most people are looking for the most cost effective way to update their space or their furniture.  For instance, your typical living room recliner is very labor intensive to re-cover.  In most cases, the customer could by 2 new ones for less than what I would have to charge to re-cover their old one.  With that being said, there is a LOT of furniture out there that IS worth re-upholstering…and compared to buying something of the same quality new, you could SAVE MONEY by re-upholstering!  The trick is knowing what you have and if it’s quality.  For a sofa that cost $2500 brand new 25 years ago, for comparable brand new quality today you may expect to spend $4-$5000 retail.  To re-upholster, it could cost you $2-$3000 depending on the style and price of fabric, and because of the quality of construction, will last another lifetime!  In this case, you can see how re-upholstery can be much more cost effective than buying new.

Over the years, I’ve found that in addition to the “structural quality” factor there are several other reasons one would consider re-upholstery.

  • It fits just right in my space and I can’t find anything else out there that could replace it and fit just right.  Perhaps you have an apartment, or smaller living room and you know that new sofa just won’t fit right…but that one you have is perfect.
  • It’s SUPER COMFY!  Why do we even have furniture if it’s not comfortable?  Sometimes, a piece is more so than any other in your home…and you just can’t imagine not having it.  Those are hard to replace.
  • The family heirloom.  This was my grandpa’s reading chair.  This was my Aunt Margaret’s parlor room setti that we were never allowed to sit on…but we did anyway when she wasn’t looking!  My mom and dad bought these old vinyl covered dining chairs when I was a kid…can you match the color, Matt?  I’ve currently got my grandmother’s old recliner that I remember sitting on as a child.  This thing is OLD…so naturally, the quality is there as well as the sentimental factor.  I’m going to re-cover it for my folks.
  • The yard-sale treasure.  My wife is famous for finding great yard sale furniture for cheap or free…then conscripting me to spin it into gold!  I always oblige.  I had a friend bring me a great little love seat that she found at a thrift store for $20.  I was able to re-cover it for less than she would have paid retail for something of similar quality.

If your furniture meets one or a few of these criteria, chances are that you’ve got something worthy of the investment of re-covering.  I’m always happy to look at photos, or even in person if you want to bring it by the shop…just call first so I can make sure to be here for you.  You will always get my honest, professional assessment.

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