Sep 16, 2011

Do you re-upholster or buy new?

This is an age-old argument. Your dated sofa is looking old and worn, the cushions are flat, and the wood on the legs is scratched. You love the style but hate the fabric. The ads for new sofas are seems as though you can get a new one and add a matching love seat for less than you paid for the original sofa! you dump your existing one and buy new?  NO. Here's why.

  • Older pieces generally have hardwood base construction free of knots and inferior wood. The springs are heavy gauge sinuous metal and may be 8-way hand tied.  The standards for construction were higher years ago and inexpensive new furniture will not be the same quality.  
  • You often cannot duplicate the style of a fabulous older piece and certainly not retain the value of an antique.
  • Furniture that is made abroad, especially when made with particle board, contains toxic chemicals that out-gas in your home for years.
  • Joinery is glued and doweled in older pieces versus stapled and epoxied in newer ones.
  • Jute and hand sewing edges in older pieces is far better than Styrofoam and glue used  in newer ones.
  • Superior foams and fills with high density are better in older pieces than low-density foam and batting that look nice initially but breakdown in just a few years.
  • With new foam and fabric, re-upholstering your piece should cost less than buying the new piece yet you retain its quality and longevity.
  • You can update the style with batting and even make small changes to the wood so a rolled arm sofa can become a sleek contemporary piece.
  • If your physical needs have changed simple modifications to seat height, firmness, back pitch and leg height can be made. Customization like that is priceless.
  • With so many fabric choices - including stain, abrasion, sun, and microbial resistance - you should be able to find the perfect pattern at the right price. Try off-priced outlets and on-line resources.
Depending upon the fabric you select, you might pay the same for re-upholstering your existing piece than you would to buy a brand new one, but the overall costs are lower.