How can reupholstery help change the style of my old furniture?

A sample book of many vibrant colors of fabric.

Did you find some great thrift store pieces, but just don’t know what to do next? You want to keep that 70’s vibe, but with clean and durable materials that compliment your space.

Perhaps your favorite chair from college could now tell more secrets than you care to share, but you love the scale of it in your new place. Your significant other tells you it needs to be fixed up or it finally goes. Don’t despair!

There are many reasons to choose to reupholster. There are also a lot of things to consider while you are in the fabric selection phase, alongside your friendly reupholsterer. You will spend some hard-earned cash to get the project done, so with some foresight, you can make it what you will love for years to come!

First things first. Take a look at magazines, to see what calls to you. Do you want this to become a focal point in the room, or blend in with the other furniture? Are you willing to go with a different color, texture or pattern? Do you like bold, beige or somewhere in the middle? Are you expecting to transform Grandma’s 1980’s pink and blue floral lounger into a mid-century masterpiece? Will you keep it forever or sell it when you move? Figure out what you want from the piece first, then go from there.

Make it fabulous! Now that you have answered the big picture questions, here are some other design details to consider changing, beyond just the fabric selection:

  • Buttons may or may not be present in the current state, this is a design decision moving forward. They don’t need to stay if you don’t like them. Or if it lacks, ask about adding them in.
  • What about contrasting or fancy trim? It can take an ordinary piece to centerpiece status. You are spending money on a custom piece with reupholstery, so consider all the bells and whistles in advance, so you are sure to get what you want. Or do the reverse to tame a tacky old friend.
  • Sometimes the shape of cushions, arms and bottom edges can be changed during upholstery. Artful application of foam and padding can create better lines.
  • Skirt or no skirt, this is the question. Sometimes the removal of that floor-skimming skirt that just collects the pet fur at the bottom of a couch does wonders to update the piece. Show off those legs!
  • And then there is fabric – no one says one chair needs to be covered in just one fabric. Consider a different fabric on the back of dining chairs, or contrasting fabric on the inside wing on a wingback.
  • Last but not least, does it need more/better pillows? Consider adding bolsters or throw pillows, of multiple patterns and sizes.

As you can see, there are many options when considering reupholstery. Your upholsterer can provide feedback to help you make these decisions during the fabric selection process, after seeing your specific project. You want to get it right, and your significant other will thank you for it!