Making your old furniture new; don’t toss it, reupholster it

From valuable antiques and flea market finds to modern classics, we all have that one furniture piece that is like a mainstay and has been with us for eons, our ‘old faithful’. Some of us actually had them handed down to us from family and/or friends and as much as we love our pieces, they age from years of use. We care for them and clean them as much as we can but their colours fade, the foams become flattened and the fabrics fray. Adding a new cushion and fresh fabric to a chair can bring it back to life like little else.

Upholstery can be challenging. Michael Haly, a design resource specialist, master upholsterer, and owner of The Furniture Joint said “A lot of people think reupholstery is just changing the fabric, but it’s everything.” Reupholstering can be seen as a way to ”put your fingerprint” on a quality vintage piece, to outfit ”granny” chairs and camelback sofas in bold designer fabrics — the back panel in a different colour than the front or the silhouette outlined in mismatched piping — sometimes for not much money. Upholstered in a fresh material, the most old-fashioned chairs can feel totally current. Try covering a new one- or transforming a hand-me-down or a vintage find. Most wood-frame options can easily be unscrewed, replaced and recovered with any non-stretch, heavyweight fabric of your choice.

Taking on an upholstery project takes some serious DIY skills — but if you are patient and willing to learn, it can be done but it is recommended that potential DIYers read an upholstery book.

Tips: a great tip if you are doing anything like this is to take photos at every step as you take apart your chair. Get your camera out even if it’s on your phone and snap away. The more detail of how it came apart will help you put it all back together. Or at least give you any idea where to put the tucks and pleats. Another tip is to keep the pieces of material you pull off of your piece, save the original fabric pieces to use as a pattern. 

To re-cover a seat cushion; unlike a full reupholstery job, re-covering a seat cushion is a relatively simple and satisfying project. Whether you’re starting with a thrift store find or something you’ve had lying around for years, there are limitless makeover possibilities. It’s amazing what a little imagination can do to tired furniture. However, if/when your piece has structural issues or uncomfortable springs; it’s time to see a professional. A pro can completely rebuild your chair…..not something the average person should try at home. You should be aware that skilled reupholstery work is not cheap.

If you are thinking of or are definitely going to breathe some new life into some old furniture, come and browse our array of rich textures, colours and patterns at Metro Home City, until you find the ideal fabrics to bring new life to your favourite pieces.

Don’t toss it, reupholster it!