Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Great Cover-Up: Deciding on Reupholstering–8 Reasons to “Yes”

Who hasn’t inherited the occasional family piece?  A chair from your great-grandmother has been handed down and it’s just feeling a bit dowdy?  (Of course, with the upcoming season of “Downton Abbey” just around the corner, you may be in full-on Victorian mode!)


If deciding on how to either gracefully decline it, without breaking your mother’s heart, or thinking of which spare bedroom corner it could be hidden is stressing you beyond taking a pill . . . Well, let’s turn your thinking into some other options . . . a new finish and new upholstery! 

I’ve certainly specified for many a piece of furniture to be reupholstered, in my day.  I’ll have to say, one of my favorite sites to share lovely before and after shots is Chairloom.  They are constantly giving the consumer an education on how to transform dowdy to delightful!

I wonder how many chairs, such as this, have been sent out to the junk pile?  What a fantastic re-do!  (Courtesy of Chairloom – Photo by:  Rachel McGinn & Steve Belkowitz)

Perhaps you’re not a fan of tufting?  There is no rule which says you have to duplicate what once was.  Also, keep in mind, many upholsters charge a “per button and tuft” fee.  If you’ve ever had to cover a button form and pull it through fabric, while hand tufting the folds, you would understand why.  I like the clean, new finish on this chair, too.  (Courtesy of Chairloom)

Chic in Chevron!  Mid-Century frump goes to fabulous.  A little trade secret?  If you need for a smaller chair to make more of a visual impact, cover it in a large scale pattern . . . especially one that won’t box it in.  Going big and bold was the right choice for this pair.  (Courtesy of Chairloom)

Fancy footstools!  I love how the complimentary patterns, in a monochromatic blend, visually clean up the clutter.  (And I’ve got a real penchant for footstools!)  (Courtesy of Chairloom)

Doesn’t this make you just want to go out and rescue some sad, kicked-to-the curb sofa?  (Courtesy of Chairloom)

Before you get too excited, please understand taking in one of these pieces doesn’t mean the investment is next to none.  Quite often, there are some needed repairs, such as renewing or changing the finish on exposed wood.  You may also need to consider replacing some “innards”, like cushion fillers, springs, webbing, and padding.  If you’re a non-smoker, and the piece came from a relative who smoked like a chimney stack, you’ve got a lot of gutting and sealing to do.  And if it was literally a barn sale . . .

(Sometimes odors can’t be removed without a total gutting of the upholstery.)

This definitely brings to mind the old adage, “You can’t put lipstick on a pig.”  If the inside isn’t pretty, neither will the outside be.  Lumpy cushions will be, well, lumpy cushions - unless they’re replaced. 

In the meanwhile – IF: 

  1. The piece just oozes a charm and personality which totally speaks to you.
  2. You like the idea of tweaking said piece to add a little more “ooze/charm” factor.
  3. It will keep you out of therapy due to the guilt of displeasing your mother.
  4. You fit in the seat like a hand in a glove.
  5. The thought of searching for a replacement would put you into a second session of therapy.
  6. You totally get that some labor and fabric may cost as much, if not more than buying new.
  7. The quality of the sofa is worth making that investment.  (As in Pearson pieces my clients have had for 30+ years.)
  8. You like keeping one more thing out of our landfills and are making another “mother” happy – Ma Earth.

Well, (deep breath), you absolutely should consider having custom upholstery done! 

Thanks to the good folks at Chairloom for providing inspiration!  You can follow them on Facebook at:

Design - where perfection is an ideal, tempered with reality, and my team strives to find the balance.  If this post resonated with you, drop me a line to find out more about my design services.  Believe it or not, it’s time to plan for holiday deadlines!

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