Reupholster or Replace Your Sofa?


When redecorating a home, more often the question comes up to either reupholster a sofa or buy a new one.

Begin by answering the following questions: Does the size compliment your furniture plan and accommodate your seating needs? Is it structurally sound? Is it comfortable? Does it support your back? If you answer, “Yes!” to these questions, your sofa is salvageable.

If you plan to reupholster yourself, a DIY project will save you a lot of money versus buying new. If you need your sofa professionally reupholstered the price difference will not be as great. However, there are other considerations.

If your sofa was built at least 10 years ago you will find the quality of the structure is better than most newer furniture. For instance, older furniture was made with hardwood frames, free of knots; glued and dowelled joints; eight-way hand-tied coil springs or heavy gauge sinuous springs spaced close together; cotton or horsehair padding or superior high density foam.

Newer furniture is typically made with inferior knotty woods, plywood or particle board; joints stapled and sometimes fast-drying epoxy is used; light-weight sinuous springs and less of them per seat; low density foam which looks nice at first but breaks down after little use.

In my experience a new sofa covered in an average fabric costs about the same as a professionally reupholstered sofa covered in a superior quality fabric. Reupholstering is a great way to own a sofa in a luxurious, high-end fabric you’d love to live with.

In selecting a professional reupholsterer, always use a source whose work you have seen or visit the upholstery shop to see work in progress and completed.


About Karen Carpino

Karen Carpino is an interior designer and founder of Chicago-based Karen Carpino Design. A professionally registered interior designer with over 25 years of experience, Ms. Carpino's clientele includes both residential and commercial projects. She brings you techniques, trends and tips in “Style At Home.”