Upholstery Prices - Check the Details

Details Determine Furniture Upholstery Costs

A popular article published on HomeAdvisor is titled "Furniture Upholstery Costs | Average Price to Upholster".  It has a graph of average upholstery prices.  It shows that homeowners have paid a low of $207 to have furniture reupholstered.  An average of $311 to $800.  And a high cost of $1235.

That is useful information.  To someone, but nobody I know.

As an upholsterer, I immediately think that the low price is too high.  And the high price is too low - especially in New Jersey.  Maybe they got their upholstery averages from Kansas or South Dakota.

Upholstery prices vary by region.  Absorbing the cost of living, taxes and wage trends. (Sigh - New Jersey, right?).  So that is part of this article.  Location influences furniture re-upholstery costs.

The notion of an average price to reupholster furniture is as useless as the average cost of a four wheeled vehicle.  The meaningful part is "what vehicle."  Is it a garden tractor or a Land Rover?  

Some Basic Details of Upholstery Prices

Type of Furniture

The cost to upholster furniture will depend on the kind of furniture - a chair seat or a couch. Generally bigger pieces of furniture cost more to upholster than smaller ones.  Beyond that, exposed wood frames generally cost more than fully upholstered furniture.


The fabric you choose will impact the cost to upholster furniture. Fabric prices vary by durability, stain resistance, pattern, composition and country of origin.  To start.

Existing Condition

The amount of damage or wear affects the cost to upholster furniture.  The more work required to restore it, the more it may cost.

People sometimes find their project cost was different from the costs shown in our Upholstery Price Guide.  Details matter. 

The cost guide shows prices of typical reupholstery of some typical pieces of furniture.  Typical reupholstery assumes that the piece is in good condition.  Not needing work on the underlying foundation (springs and padding).  And not displaying special upholstery techniques or finishing procedures. 

For us, 'typical' means removal of the existing outer fabric.  Some budget 'reupholstery' jobs merely re-cover over the existing outer fabric.  Take note.

Deeper Details Affecting Furniture Upholstery Prices

Foundation Rebuild

Sagging springs and a worn supporting foundation need extra work.  Lumps, hollow spots and a 'caved-in' feeling are indicators.  Rebuilding them provides a smooth, sturdy base for the padding and outer fabric.  That can add to the cost.

Frame Repair

Wobbly legs, loose arms and visible cracks are symptoms of a damaged frame.  Sometimes, the fix is as simple as tightening a screw or replacing a cracked dowel.  In severe situations the frame may need to be taken apart and repaired.  That means dismantling the foundation.

Padding Replacement

Worn upholstery padding is uneven and uncomfortable.  Elbows thunk into the wood of arms and fabric pulls unevenly across seats and backs.

A typical re-upholstery job includes applying light layers of batting to ensure loft and plush.  Replacement padding adds to the upholstery cost.

Tufts and Channels

Furniture with tufts and channels tends to cost more.  The fabric application and layout is more involved.  Sometimes requiring rather involved cutting and sewing.  Tufts and channels also use more fabric.

Decorative Edge Treatments

Fringe, braid and decorative nails are finishing treatments for upholstered furniture.  They are generally applied after the large scale upholstery work.  They are usually considered upgrades or options to the basic edge treatments.

Flat or Fossilized Cushions

Feathers or dust puffing out of a cushion is not normal.  And cushions that crunch when you squeeze them are not comfortable.  Where needed, replacement cushion and pillow forms are generally extra.  They can be simple foam, foam core wrapped with down quilting, or pure down.


Upholstery work happens in a workshop.  The furniture needs to travel to and from your home. Usually this is part of the cost to upholster your furniture.  But check.  Transportation costs might make a difference.

Generally, other upholsterers I've met are eager to show value at the prices they charge.  Most will not up-charge for minor routine circumstances.  Rates vary somewhat based upon the level of service they support.  A topic for a future article.

Reupholstery Cost Summary

Basic Reupholstery - $

  • Remove all existing fabric
  • Check structure of the frame springs, webbing, inside fill and cushion cores
  • Apply a layer of daccon over the existing structure where required
  • The upholstery fabric is matched, cut, sewn and attached to the frame

Additional Inside Work - Before Basic Upholstery - $$

  • Replace webbing to the bottom or back of furniture (webbing deteriorates and sags,  springs shift, ties break)
  • Secure and re-tie springs
  • Additional fill on inside arms, back or platform as needed
  • Replace cushion cores

Complete Restoration - $$$

  • Remove all existing fabric
  • Strip down to the bare frame (take out all fill, springs, webbing)
  • Secure and re-glue connecting frame joints as required
  • Refinish all exposed wood as required
  • Replace platform webbing (floor of the furniture to set the springs)
  • Replace springs
  • Replace upholstery foundation on inside back, arms and platform (webbing, springs, foam, batting and fill)
  • Replace cushion cores
  • The upholstery fabric is matched, cut, sewn and attached to the frame

Related Articles: Re-Upholster or Re-Cover?

Some Actual Upholstery Project Prices

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