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The Upholstery Equation: It Adds Up

 Upholstering furnitureBy Vickie Williamson
Custom Framer and Interior Designer

I’m often asked about reupholstering furniture. Many people think that it would be simpler and less expensive to re-cover their existing furnishings than to buy new. I think it’s time to share what I have learned when it comes to furniture and fabrics. Reupholstering is not inexpensive. In some cases it can actually cost more than the price originally paid for the item in need of change.

I always ask my clients if the furniture piece was expensive and of high quality. If you paid a small fortune for it and still feel the size and shape are meeting your needs, then reupholstering may be for you. If you only paid a few hundred dollars for a sofa and the cushions are sagging, then you’re better off replacing it. Reupholstering a sofa can add up when you consider that an average sofa will need between 15 and 20 yards of fabric and the fabric’s cost per yard, plus labor costs, which can also vary.

Another thing to consider is sentimental value. Did that tattered chair in the living room belong to your grandmother or did you just pick it up at a yard sale? If you wish to keep a furniture piece for many years and hand it down to future generations, then reupholstering is the way to go.

Slipcovers can be an affordable alternative if you find one that you like or can make one yourself. Custom slipcovers are not necessarily a low-cost option, however. A quality, custom-made slipcover can cost just as much as reupholstering, and many upholsterers won’t even consider making slipcovers.

So if you still want to reupholster, how do you do this and not break the bank?

Look for upholstery fabrics on sale and consider learning how to do it yourself. That is the way to save money when reupholstering furniture.

Prince William resident Vickie Williamson owns Fine Design Custom Framing & Interiors in Woodbridge. She has worked in the fine art, framing and decorating industry for more than 25 years and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. 

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