Times are tough. Most Canadians don’t have a lot of money to invest in new furniture or other big expenses. One practical way to save money if a couch or chair looks shabby or out-of-date is to look into professional furniture reupholstery. This can save a bundle and result in a great piece of furniture that is actually better than new.
A piece of furniture inherited from parents or found at a garage sale can be a great bargain. Much of the furniture made in recent years has been assembled with staples, nails, screws or even glue instead of the carefully-crafted dovetail or tenon-and-mortise joints traditionally used in furniture construction. Those old joints are very sturdy and will last much longer than the strongest screws because they are part of the wood itself.
Most furniture is now made from either soft wood or particle board, which is more likely to break down. Old furniture was created from seasoned hardwood, built to last for many years. The combination of hardwood and traditionally built joints makes for sturdy frames that stand up to long-term wear and tear.
The upholstery may be shabby or out of date, but the frame can be in excellent condition. Instead of starting over with an expensive new piece of furniture that may not last as long, invest in furniture reupholstery at a fraction of the cost.
The process is simple and straightforward:
- Find a reupholsterer with a solid reputation and experience working with the type of furniture you have.
- Measure the piece in order to obtain an estimate from the dealer.
- Take in a cushion or two to show the upholsterer.
- Select some fabrics that may be suitable. Ask if it is possible to take home a sample to try with your other furnishings and wall coverings. This will help you make up your mind about the best choice.
- Keep in mind that an estimate is only an educated guess. The upholsterer may need to replace some springs or part of the stuffing if it has been damaged.
- Be sure to select a fabric that will wear well with expected usage.
- Ask whether the upholsterer can pick up and deliver the piece.
- Keep a record of all agreements. Make sure you get a contract that specifies the work that will be done, the fabric to be used, any trim that will be used and the cost estimate.
- Inquire about barriers for dirt and/or liquid that can be applied to the new fabric.
- Set a reasonable time frame for job completion.
Keeping down costs and re-using instead of replacing are two aspects of responsible home management. The lower cost will help your bank balance. Re-using helps to keep furniture in a home instead of a junk yard or dump. It also helps to preserve dwindling natural resources, an important step in protecting the environment. There are so many pluses to reupholstering, why would you buy new when you don’t have to?