Re-upholstering a well-constructed or an antique couch gives you a chance to add your personal touch to a family heirloom or thrift-store find. Apart from re-upholstering heirlooms, restoring furniture enables you to keep pieces of furniture whose design you like but it has become torn, worn, or stained. Reupholstering increases the couch’s lifespan.
What is couch reupholstering?
Rather than buying new furniture each time an existing piece appears tired, worn and aged, you can choose to reupholster it. This is the process of stripping off and replacing a couch’s upholstery. The upholsterer achieves this by completely dismantling the couch down to the frame. He could then inspect and repair any damage to the frame before restoring the couch’s padding. He finally applies a new fabric as well as the trim.
Some of the pieces of furniture that are commonly reupholstered include loveseats, couches, dining room seats, and so on. However, you would be better or replacing or repainting furniture pieces solely made of plastic or metal rather than reupholstering them.
Couch reupholstering costs
The total cost of reupholstering your furniture will depend on a number of factors including:-
- The furniture size
- The material that will be used
- The extent of the damage
- Whether you need any more details to be added
- Labor costs
- Transport costs
Minor repairs on your couch could cost as little as $150 while you could pay as much as $2000 for major reupholstering jobs. On average, most homeowners pay around $800 for a professional reupholstering of a piece of furniture.
Breaking down the costs involved in reupholstering
This is the primary factor that determines the overall cost of reupholstering your sofa as it dictates how much fabric and other materials will be used. The size also has a direct effect on how much time will be consumed to complete the task. The standard size of a couch is 6 ft to 8ft long and 32” to 40” deep while a loveseat is 4 ft to 6ft long and 28” to 40” deep. Upholstery costs around $10 to $75 per yard. Depending on the region you are in, the average cost of reupholstering a small two-seater sofa is around $1,200 which includes the fabric, labor, and other material costs. A large sofa could cost you $3,000 or even more.
The material you choose
There is quite a wide range of reupholstering fabrics in the market today. These are differentiated by their durability, color, pattern, and stain resistance. Have a predetermined budget when looking for the fabric to avoid inflating your reupholstering costs.
Should you choose leather over fabric, you will have to pay more as it is normally at least 25% more expensive and requires a leather expert. Other services such as replacing the couch’s stuffing or fixing its springs add to the total cost.
The extent of the damage
By reupholstering, you get a chance to repair the damage to a couch’s frame after stripping off its current upholstery. The professional performing the task will normally inspect the frame and advice you on such issues as which springs need to be replaced, whether the joints need reinforcement, and so on. The frame repair costs vary depending on the extent of repair work. The average hourly rates for repairing the frame could be anywhere from $45 to $150.
Do you need to update your cushions? Be prepared to incur more costs. If your sofa is in relatively good condition, you can bypass this cost, especially if you want to keep the reupholstering costs at a bare minimum. If they are completely worn, you will have to pay at least $300 and $500 for each back and seat cushion respectively.
Other reupholstering services could include adding throw pillows to match with the new fabric or addition of decorative tacks. Throw pillows cost $30 to $100 each.
Adding decorative tacks could add about two extra hours, thus increasing the labor cost. Therefore, adding decorative tacks to an 8tf long sofa could cost $90 to $200 more, excluding the cost of the tacks.
Other decorative details could include; the addition of ruffled patterns on the couch’s fabric in a process known as tufting, the use of decorative buttons, and so on. Apart from increasing the labor costs, such details also add to the fabric requirement by at least 2 yards. Typically, tufted couches cost around $100 to $300 more.
The labor costs will be largely influenced by your area’s cost of living, how heavily your couch is damaged, and the materials you want to use. For instance, expect to pay more for a patterned fabric as it requires more planning and attention. Addition of details such as a trim, hand-sewn seams, tufting details, skirts, and other touches also add to the total labor costs.
While some reupholsters will perform the on-site, most of them prefer to carry it out at their business premises. This will require you to either drop the furniture off at the shop by hiring a truck or incur the transport cost. Most companies charge a flat rate transport fee of about $150 or $1.50 per mile. Other companies offer pick-up and delivery services as part of their services.
Do I DIY or hire a reupholstering company?
Sofa reupholstering is a task that requires time and skill. Such a project also presents a challenge which some homeowners welcome. While you will be avoiding to pay more by carrying out the project yourself, enlisting the services of a professional assures you that the job will be done right.
Apart from that, reupholstering furniture could become quite complicated. For this reason, this work is best left to a professional, particularly if the piece of furniture is unique or antique. A professional is best placed to address details such as selecting the right kind of fabric, making use of the right adhesive to stick the fabric to the frame, use of the appropriate decorative tacks, and so on.
How do I choose the right reupholstering company?
Homeowners need to perform some due diligence before engaging a reupholstering company to ensure that they won’t be disappointed. Some of the factors that should influence your decision include:-
- Whether the company is licensed and insured
- For how long it has been operating
- The company’s reputation which can be viewed from customer reviews and the company’s references
- Whether the company provides a comprehensive and upfront project estimates without any hidden charges. If they provide a written contract, this is an added advantage.
- The services the company provides
- The expected payment terms
- Whether you can supply them with your own design elements or fabric in exchange for lowered reupholstering costs
- Whether they offer a guarantee for their work
Do I reupholster or replace my furniture?
Homeowners often struggle with the decision on whether to replace or reupholster worn pieces of furniture. Some of the factors that will help you include the couch’s age, quality of craftsmanship, its sentimental value to you, and its original cost.
Even the most quality couch will eventually wear off. If your couch has undergone several reupholstering projects, it is possible that it has come to the end of its lifespan. Therefore, it could be better to replace it rather than incurring deep cleaning, repair, refinishing, and repainting costs on top of the reupholstering costs. If the upholstering cost is much more than its original price, it makes no sense to restore it. This is often the case if you had bought a low-quality piece of furniture.
Keep in mind that buying new furniture could come with other hidden costs such as protection plans and delivery costs. When summed up, such costs could prove the total cost of purchasing new furniture prohibitive.