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  • Tips for reupholstering
  • reupholstering tips you need

4 things to know before you reupholster your furniture

So you are torn, should you keep and refresh or toss? Reupholstery is major surgery: the furniture is stripped down to the raw frame and then rebuilt all the way back up again, which explains the high price tag. It’s going to be comparable to a new piece of furniture because let’s face it, you are essentially getting a new piece of furniture.

Let’s say your furniture has a good solid structure, or you have sentimental attachment to it, like if it was passed down through your family or you won it in the divorce, then, yes, re-upholster. If you are looking to simply change the fabric of a piece you bought from a popular Swedish furniture company that you paid $40 for and it's made out of paper clips and bubble gum, then, no, do not re-upholster. Invest your money on something new that will last longer and be with you through many relationships.

Give the chair a lift! 

A lightweight chair is most often the "throw-a-way" type. Soft woods are not as dense as hard woods and steel springs weigh more than rubber. Generally the heavier of two comparable items has the better frame and construction. If you can pick up a sofa super easily, it’s probably not made of a good quality wood frame.

Tips for a successful reupholster 

Turn the chair over and remove the dust cover (if it’s still even there). Have a poke about underneath. Coil springs and solid wood are good indications of something well made.

To check for coil springs, remove the seat cushions and press your hand down on the seat. Check for strong, intact corner braces and stable construction. Test the furniture to make sure it doesn't rock during use and look for a recognizable brand name.

Know the history of the piece if you can. 

If you know it's been well cared for, it's probably in good shape. On the other hand, if you know it's been abused and had a few handyman repairs done to it, then it might be time to retire the piece.

Even if the structure is not super strong and a bit on the wobbly side, you can have it repaired, but will add to the overall final cost. It’s tricky to be sure on the soundness of the structure until it has been torn down to the bare bones, but a good company (like ours) will take it apart for you and let you know if it is worth the investment before you lay down your credit card. In a nutshell, we advise our clients if the item is a really cool and quality-made unique piece or has great sentimental value, then, yes, go for the gusto. Otherwise, go ahead and buy something new that you will love for years to come.


Typical costs will vary according to region, fabric choice and project details. Note that when you receive estimates, they are for your custom labour only, not fabric.

Standard wing chair: $450-$700 

Sofa with three cushion: $850 to $1,250 

Club chair: $550 to $700 (one seat and one back cushion)

Terry Edward Briceland is the creative dictator of teb Interiors. Terry is best known from his many appearances on HGTV and W Network television programs. teb Interiors offers complete interior design services and they specialize in custom sewing and upholstery. The firm is known for its edgy designs and for creating truly one-of-a-kind show pieces that are guaranteed to get the conversation going. @tebinteriors ``we make awesome crap for your home”

-by Terry Edward Briceland