Is My Furniture Worth Re-Upholstering?

Is My Furniture Worth Re-Upholstering?

A Very Common Question

"Is re-upholstering my chair-couch-sofa worth it?"  People asking about upholstery prices are often struggling with this question.  We get asked it a lot.  We don't have a yes/no chart on the wall to give a short rule of thumb.

The Short Answer Is:  "It depends..."

Which is not a real answer - more like arriving at an answer by considering some things.  Using our past clients and projects as case studies to consider, we boiled down a few guidelines.

Furniture That Is NOT Worth Re-upholstering (sometimes)

Generally, re-covering upholstered furniture costs about the same as buying new mid-grade furniture.  There are two main reasons for that.  One is that removing the old upholstery is at least a third of the upholsterer's work.  The other is that we buy fabric by the yard rather than the trainload.

So, generally, some of the 'affordable' type furniture from popular chain stores is not worth reupholstering.  Although, sometimes, we've had folks go ahead anyway. 

5 Cases When Re-Upholstering Makes Sense

  1. The furniture was fairly expensive when purchased even though it is still available now.
  2. When it is part of a larger set and replacing the whole set is prohibitive.
  3. When the style or size is hard to replicate - vintage, custom or designer limited furniture.
  4. When people have a sentimental, heirloom, or comfort attachment  to the furniture.
  5. When there is a decorating theme that can't be readily fulfilled by showroom picks.  Particular fabric colors, textures or patterns.  Multiple fabrics on the same piece, special trimmings or durability issues.  (this is a sweet spot for custom re-upholstery)

Three Examples (and then a little)

This chair fulfills all 5 of the cases when people have re-upholstery work done. 

  1. It was better quality. 
  2. It was mated with other pieces. 
  3. It is a vintage style, hard to find. 
  4. It is moving into the 3rd generation.
  5. The fabric was part of a larger design theme that included paint, carpet and window treatments  and had to be just right.


This chair is NOT one that would normally be re-covered - commercial contract, widely available, affordable new. 

But what vivid fabric!  And that is why we upholstered it

(Case 5).  It had to be exactly that electric blue with a shimmery crushed velvet look.  It was worth it. 


And this sweeping sectional sofa (how many could sit in it?).  It was crafted for the space, fitting the perimeter of the room - hard to replace (Case 3).

I hope this article helps!  Oh!  That fractured, worn goose neck rocker in the picture?  We eventually did repair it, refinish it and completely re-upholster it.  It was the only bit of the grandparent's furniture remaining (Case 4)

The furniture workshop of JH Conklin & Co. upholsters furniture for people and businesses throughout Southern New Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia metro and the southern shore areas. The workshop also provides custom window treatment and fabric resources.

Our general service area includes: Gloucester County, Camden County, Burlington County, Cape May County, Atlantic County, Cumberland County, Salem County, NJ; Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia county in Pennsylvania; and New Castle County DE.  #NJupholstery