DIY Furniture Upholstery

What You Need to Know Before Beginning Your DIY Furniture Upholstery Project

At Trefler’s, we have met a lot of people who began DIY furniture restoration projects over the years, only to run into various challenges — some of which cannot be entirely fixed. This is particularly true when aiming to reupholster antique furniture.

In order to prevent such issues and damages, you need to take a proactive approach. Educating yourself now could make all the difference in terms of the final upholstery outcome. Whether you would like to upholster a chair or sofa, we have created a list of top tips to assist your efforts.

Why Reupholster Old Furniture?

There are many reasons why you may want to reupholster old pieces of furniture, especially if it looks overly dirty or dated. Best of all, reupholstering old furniture ensures that pieces are unnecessarily kept out of landfills. Just some of the main reasons why you may want to reupholster furniture include:

  • Cost-effectiveness

    Instead of purchasing new furniture, you can often upcycle old pieces, especially when reupholstering furniture that features a solid wooden frame. Please note: Although you will pay more to work with a professional, in many cases, this can save you money in the long-run. This is especially true if you have little experience and waste a significant amount of fabric.

  • Quality

    Older furniture was often handcrafted and well-built. For example, if you are debating on reupholstering furniture that has a solid frame, comfortable feel, or strong springs, it may be worth the investment. In this case, professional antique furniture restoration can go a long way.

  • Emotional value

    In other cases, furniture is passed down from one generation to the next, offering high levels of sentimental value. Although reupholstering furniture is common practice, especially when it means something to one of our customers, a DIY approach can end badly if the right steps aren’t taken. Once again, when dealing with heirloom pieces, seeking a professional opinion is recommended.


6 DIY Furniture Restoration Tips to Help Guide You Along Your Reupholstery Journey

With the rise of the Internet, more and more people are attempting a wide range of DIY projects. While it may be fun to try and make your own headboard or garden planter, reupholstering is a whole other beast — one that takes patience, care, and expertise.

If you are interested in reupholstering special pieces or would like to restore furniture by using DIY techniques in general, here’s what you need to know.

Tip #1: Cheaper isn’t always better

Many take a DIY approach because it’s cheaper — or they invest in those who offer the cheapest quote. Although it’s important to set a budget and stick to it, you need to be mindful of the quality of work. For example, if you plan to reupholster a sofa and keep it for another fifty years, a small difference in savings is not worth a poorly finished job.

Tip #2: Understand that not all furniture fabrics are equal

When it comes to the quality of furniture fabrics, as well as how they behave, not all are created equal. For example, canvas behaves much differently than leather, so each variable needs to be considered in terms of the piece’s overall look and longevity — especially when considering how the new fabric is applied. We often see people upholster fabric on top of pre-existing fabric (inserting a layer of cotton between). Although this can look great at first, it’s not functional across time and bunching may occur.

Tip #3: Know that reupholstering can take more time than anticipated

While reupholstering seems as though it’s a straightforward process, it requires time and skill. For example, don’t be surprised if one chair takes 3-4 hours after the fabric is removed. In some cases, this timeframe may be even longer — especially if there are a lot of corners.

Tip #4: Do your research

Before you begin, make sure you have everything you need and that you are confident in regards to the required techniques. For example, does your pattern call for pleats? Perhaps you are in need of a box-pleated skirt? In most cases, you’ll also require specialized tools. If you do decide to invest in professional reupholstery services, it’s important that you research the company as well, particularly in terms of their reputation and capabilities.

Tip #5: If in doubt, call furniture restoration professionals

If you have any doubt in terms of what to do, how to do it, or even what fabric to use, it’s best that you call a professional furniture restoration company. The last thing we suggest is attempting a DIY furniture upholstery project when you do not have the right tools or skills. While you may save money at first, if damage occurs in the process, you may pay a lot more in the long-term to restore that issue in addition to a reupholstering service.

Professional reupholstery in Newton, MA is just one phone call away. If you require the type of specialized skills that will ensure quality work, we’re here to help. Owned and operated by the Trefler family since 1921, we continue to be one of the largest and oldest restoration companies in the United States.

We’re in the “fine art of restoring your favorite things” — so be sure to contact us today with any questions, we’re here to help!

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