Upholsterers specialise in updating your favourite furniture pieces, replacing springs, filling, cushions and covering fabric to make it feel brand new again.
If you have some old or antique pieces lying around the house and you think they could do with a little revamp, there are a few things you need to consider before you decide on how, when and where to do it.
If you have a furry friend around the house, you're definitely no stranger to the struggles of removing pet fur from every nook and cranny of your home!
Auctions are a great place for finding good value, unique furniture. But before you head off, you need to make sure you know how it works, as it has its own rapid pace and the pressure of making split-second decisions can initially seem overwhelming.
Buying furniture is an investment, so it’s only right that you’d want to look after your most valuable and loved pieces. After all, many of them can last a lifetime when cared for correctly!
While most quality items sold today will come with a set of care instructions, many of us may have inherited or acquired our most treasured antiques and heirlooms sans guidebook, and we’re left unsure about how to give them the care they deserve.
By following a few simple instructions, however, you can give your items the TLC it deserves without the risk of damaging it. Here’s how to ensure a happy, prolonged life for your most treasured items.
Upholding Your Upholstery
Over time fabrics will wear, fade and lose their charming looks, but follow these tips to keep it looking as good for as long as possible…
- Gently vacuum your upholstery regularly using a brush attachment, as accumulated dirt will accelerate fabric wear. Vacuuming Chenille and Velvet fabrics in the same way also helps to avoid it from looking ‘flat’.
- Hard as it may be, keeping pets off your furniture will keep it looking better for longer. (Why not get your kitty or pooch their own pet furniture, instead?!)
- Plump up feather, soft back, and seat cushions regularly to rid them of dust and keep them plush.
- Keep all furniture out of direct sunlight to minimise fading to the fabric.
- Clean up any accidental spills as soon as possible – the sooner you do so, the less likely it is to stain. When spot cleaning a cleaner or stain remover, always test in a small area, which isn’t visible, to avoid damage.
Keeping Your Woodwork Worthy
It’s important with intricate woodwork to follow some simple pointers and to use the correct products to maintain its beauty.
- Keep your furniture away from heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces, and direct sunlight - these can all affect the colour and dry out the wood.
- Dust once a week with a soft cloth.
- To clean more thoroughly: use slightly damp paper towels, being careful not to wet the wood too much. Dry using a soft cloth or paper towels.
- Avoid using silicone based polishes as they can damage the surface over time. Instead, try using more natural options such as beeswax, and keep in mind that it’s always best to use a small amount. This only needs to be done maybe once or twice a year.
Looking After Loose Covers
If you have a sofa or chair with a loose cover, cleaning and drying them may seem a little daunting. No need to fret -
- Look for the care instruction label (it’s most likely sewn into your loose covers) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- As a rough guide: most loose cover fabrics can be machine or hand washed at 30 degrees.
- If there are no care instruction labels, or you’re unsure of what to do, we would suggest contacting a dry cleaners who should be able to advise.
- If you feel that the time has come to replace your loose covers, we’d suggest contacting an experienced company such as Plumbs. We can advise on the type of fabric and design that would best suit your piece of furniture.
Taking the time and care to maintain your furniture can pay off as the life of your items are prolonged. If you’re unsure of how best to look after aspects of your furniture, especially if it’s worth sentimental or monetary value, it’s always best to contact an expert for advice.
Just like family and friends, our pets are a very important part of our lives. We nurture them from babies into loving and loyal companions, so it’s no surprise that many of us wish to spoil our furry friends as much as we can.
Pampered or not, every pet needs a comfortable place to sit and sleep, and so the market for personalised and extravagant beds pet has grown. Think diamanté, designer fabrics and out the box designs…
The bright fuchsia fabric gives this doggy day bed a fun and feminine feel. The bolster cushions with contrast piping add a touch of sophistication and comfort.
Bold lime green and aubergine colours create a real statement with this four-poster cat bed. This design can be recreated by simply turning an old side table upside down and adding a piece of upholstered foam to the centre. Turning the draw upside down means you can store any toys out of view.
Grey velvet and chevron pattern gives this pet sofa a modern and luxurious look. This simple style and classic shape of this piece of furniture means it won’t stick out next to most suites. By using scatter cushions on the sofa in a matching fabric, you can really co-ordinate the whole look.
This fuzzy ‘cat bun’ is great fun and any cat is sure to enjoy sleeping the hours away in this warm and cosy design. Felines love to snuggle and burrow so the cocoon shape of this bed makes it also great for play.
This upcycling project is a great way of reusing old suitcases. However, if your DIY skills aren’t great we’d suggest not stacking the beds on top of each other!
When we think about how much time we spend carefully choosing wallpapers, fabrics and furniture for our homes, it’s understandable that many people also want their pets’ furniture to match their individual tastes. Your pet may not notice that the pink piping on its bed matches the scatter cushions on your sofa, but if it’s comfortable that’s all that matters.
We’ve scoured Pinterest for some of the most unique and different furniture designs we could find…
These chunky knit designs will create a very plush stool to sit on. We love the bight primary colours contrasted with simple wooden legs in a natural finish.
This organic shaped wire creates a very pretty base for this table, making it the centre piece of any dining room.
These wooden semi-circular seats look very comfortable, although we can’t help thinking they might not the easiest to get up from!
This vanity area is a great way to use an old bike that would otherwise go to the tip. The monochrome colour scheme, soft lighting, flowers and artwork gives this look a slight Parisian theme.
This chair seat is made up from fine pieces of wire which gives the illusion of no seat or back
From looking at sites such as Pinterest it’s easy to get your creativity flowing and hopefully inspire you to look for other interesting and unique furniture designs!
In the UK we're now fairly good at recycling everyday items like cereal boxes, glass jars and plastic bottles, but it seems we could all work a bit harder when it comes to furniture.
Research from Kantar paints a really positive picture for general recycling in UK households:
- Only 3.7% of people would throw something away instead of recycling it
- A positive 50.2% of people would always recycle something instead of throwing it away
So over half of us try to recycle instead of heading straight for the bin – that’s great news. But things don’t look quite as rosy when we see that of the 50.2% of us who always recycle, just a lowly 2.5% of us have refurbished or renovated old furniture. Looking deeper into the research, we see that people in the UK love to do indoor DIY, they’re always looking to improve their homes and most think they’re good at fixing things.
But, the amount of people refurbishing or renovating furniture is low within those groups too:
- 46.3% of people have done some kind of DIY inside their home
- But only 4.7% of those people have refurbished or renovated old furniture
- 47.9% of people consider themselves “good at fixing things”
- Despite that, only 3.4% of these ‘fixers’ have attempted to refurbish or renovate old furniture
- 31.1% of people are always looking for new ideas to improve their home
- Just 0.5% of the people who ‘are always looking for new ideas to improve their home’ have refurbished or renovated old furniture.
So why are these numbers so low?
We know people in the UK love DIY – there are countless TV shows and magazines dedicated to the topic – so why do we seem to steer clear of reusing or renovating older furniture? Maybe it’s seen as a bigger job than wallpapering or painting? Something that requires a specialist set of skills or tools? That can certainly be the case with some of the reupholstery work we undertake – deep buttoning and rebuilding springs in an old sofa can be a lengthy job, but just like building a piece of new furniture, you can do it with the right instruction.
Refurbish and renovate more = throw away less
At Plumbs, we’d like to see more people have a go at skills like reupholstery and refurbishment; it means we can put less old furniture in landfill and make some really great pieces at the same time. Our team are putting a video together to show you the reupholstery process from start to finish and you can expect to see this live on our site very soon. We’ll link to it from this post as soon as it’s complete.
Together we can try and improve these figures, perhaps even taking the low, single figure percentages into double figures!