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Should I Attempt Reupholstery Myself?

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Before you consider reupholstering furniture yourself however, there are a few things you need to know about.

Reupholstery is a highly skilled trade. To do it to a professional standard takes years of specialist training and experience and the best reupholsterers can also make any piece of furniture at least as good as new, if not better.

To properly reupholster a large piece of furniture like a chair or a sofa can take 8-12 weeks and generates a lot of mess, so it’s important to make sure you take relevant precautions to avoid breathing in dust and you have a way of responsibly disposing of the waste materials.  

We've compiled a list of the things you need to think about before you even think about starting a DIY reupholstery project...

A once-over of your furniture

Check the following:

  • Look at the bottom frame and make sure it’s hardwood and kiln-dried. Check for a stable construction and strong corner braces. Solid wood will maintain its value and last a long time, while veneers and plywood furniture aren’t high quality enough to last very long.
  • Test the furniture to make sure it doesn’t rock during use. Check that there isn’t any major damage and that no nails/screws are missing or sticking out.
  • Look for a recognisable brand name or make sure that it’s a quality piece of furniture worthy of reupholstering and using again. If you attempt to reupholster a piece of furniture that’s low quality, you’ll find it difficult to work with, and it won’t last long.

The fabric

If you decide to reupholster your furniture yourself, you need to think carefully about the type of fabric you’re going to select.

  • Take home a fabric sample and tuck it into the existing furniture to see if you like it and whether it complements the rest of the room. Live with the swatch for a few days before you make a decision – you might discover that it looks different in certain lights or that the pattern doesn’t fit the room well.
  • Consider the weight of the new fabric. Material for a bedroom chair doesn’t need to be heavy, for example, but for furniture in the living room that will be used much more, it’ll need to be hard-wearing.
  • Chose a fabric that will truly transform your furniture – you don’t have to copy the look it had before. Try a different pattern or a fresher colour.

How much will it cost to do the reupholstery myself?

Costs will vary, depending on the size, style and fabric of your furniture. For sofas, it could be anything from £200 to £1,000 – this includes fabric, fillings for the cushions and any replacement springs.

How does this compare to paying an expert?

Again, it’s entirely dependent on the style and type of furniture that you want to get reupholstered. It’s more than likely that paying someone else to do it for you will result in a little extra added cost – but it’s sure to be finished to the highest standard, and will last you several more years.

If you’re learning to reupholster from scratch then it can take up a lot of time, so factor this in before you decide whether to take on the task yourself. Are your days too busy to fit it in? Do you have all of the correct tools?

Find out what the reupholstery process looks like when your furniture is taken to a warehouse here.

Can you tell your budget high street furniture brands from your high-end designers? Test your knowledge in our quiz!

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