When your favorite sofa reminds you of your grandmother in all the nicest ways, you might be considering reupholstering. Embracing grandmillenial style aside, older furniture typically is very well-made, and who doesn’t want to help reduce the contribution to landfills whenever they can?

Faded fabric and flattened seat cushions, however, might have you second guessing your best options. Buying new can be tempting, but instant gratification just isn’t typically achievable with lengthy lead times and production delays. Reupholstering a well-loved piece might be the right solution for you. There are a few things for you to consider before you jump in.

Use our guide to determine when it’s time to say goodbye to and old piece and hello to a store-bought purchase, or if your current furniture deserves a second (or third) life.


Question 1: “Do I Love this Piece?”

Personal Meaning

Reupholstering a well-loved piece might be your best option if the piece has sentimental value or any personal attachment. If you have a family heirloom you can’t imagine parting with or want to save on costs by fixing up a piece that works in your space, this is a great option that you will feel good about. Be warned though, in some cases, it can be almost as expensive to reupholster as to replace. Still, the landfill argument stands!

Considerations to Reupholstering

You just can’t buy a piece that reminds you of a loved one or a special memory as well as the piece you may already have does. If you have a piece where your mother sat with you curled up in her lap reading bedtime stories, you may find yourself wanting to incorporate it in a child’s room or repurpose it for the living room. One of the best reasons to refinish and reupholster a well-loved piece is because it is irreplaceable.

There’s no way a new store-bought sofa can provide the meaning and personal significance you may already have in a piece you own.


Question 2: “Is the Frame Still in Good Condition?”

If your piece was bought decades ago and has stood up this long, chances are, it was made at a time when furniture was much better quality. Most of the furniture made then was not imported from off-shore and was made to North American standards. It was designed for our environment: to withstand the extremes of cold, dry winters and central heating, offset by hot humid summers and central air conditioning. 

If the frame is well-made, you are off to a good start. If seat cushions have flattened, they can be refilled. The suspension (or seat-bed) may need to be replaced or upgraded. Any other parts can be refurbished and reupholstered. The costs can add up, but you will end up with the piece you once loved looking beautiful again.

After careful consideration, if you find that buying a new piece is a better investment, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. There are many inexpensive sofas on the internet – very few are well-made. Before you purchase, be sure to take a look at our crash course on what to look for when buying a sofa.


Question 3: “Was this Piece Once Comfortable?”

One last consideration on whether to reupholster or buy new is how well the piece functioned. If it is the perfect fit for your room and for your body, then it might be worth it to reupholster. However, not all furniture fits you like a glove, so-to-speak. If it was never the most comfortable piece in the room, it may be time to buy new.

New Furniture May be Cheaper than Reupholstering

Read that heading once more carefully. New furniture can be cheaper than reupholstering depending on where you shop. But rest assured, it IS cheaper in quality. It may be less expensive, but it won’t last as long or stand up to kids and multiple moves as well as a heritage piece will. Go into a new purchase with the understanding that you get what you pay for! Once you factor the cost of replacing an inexpensive piece in a few short years, you will often see that you don’t really save money in the long run.

Some Assembly Required

Keep in mind that furniture that doesn’t come fully assembled will come disassembled easily (read: will wiggle and become loose again and again). Though reupholstering is DIYable, most people leave this task to the pros for a great result.


If you’re ready for an expert to give your well-loved piece some TLC, we’ve got your back! Contact us today.