5 ways to determine if your furniture is worth reupholstering

Are you considering buying new furniture vs. reupholstering some pieces you already own? Do you know how to make the determination if your furniture is worth it or not?

Well, I’m here to help answer that with the help of an upholstery expert!

I’m sharing some tips from my designer friend, Richelle Plett, who formerly owned a shop that specialized in reupholstery. Her shop was a haven for salvaged, good quality furniture, ready to be reimagined and remade to work in today’s homes.

Richelle has so much hands on experience with upholstered goods, I know no one else in this industry who is better qualified to speak on this subject!

Richelle Plett in her shop working with customers to select a furniture piece to reupholster for their home. Image via: RLP Interiors
Richelle Plett in her shop working with customers to select a furniture piece to reupholster for their home.

You will love her top 5 tips on how to identify whether you should reupholster that piece of furniture you already own or not!

Before and After - Isn’t this just the best redo of a vintage chair you’ve ever seen? I love the simple fabric choice as it just makes that lovely shape of the chair stand out more. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors.
Before and After – Isn’t this just the best redo of a vintage chair you’ve ever seen? I love the simple fabric choice as it just makes that lovely shape of the chair stand out more.

Sometimes people are surprised to find that reupholstery is almost as expensive as buying new. Often, there’s not really a significant difference in cost, but there are other differences that might help you lean to the direction of reupholstery.

Here are her top 5 questions to ask yourself, when evaluating whether to reupholster a piece or buy new. After a long chat with her, I summarized a bit for you, under each main question.

1) DO YOU LOVE THE STYLE OF THE FURNITURE PIECE?

While cushions and skirts can be easily changed in reupholstery, the arms and overall lines of the piece are more difficult and expensive to change. Keeping the arm style, the pitch of the seat back, etc. is something more permanent and if you want to change something like that, it might be best to go with a new piece of furniture.

You might also consider the scale of the piece as it fits your body, etc. Sometimes vintage pieces are a better fit for people with smaller statures. If the scale of the piece works for you as is, that would be a good reason to consider reupholstery.

These tufted chairs look brand new in their new masculine look coverings! Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
These tufted chairs look brand new in their new masculine look coverings!


In this mini-project I worked on remotely for a client (pic below), I selected all new upholstery items. Although she had some good upholstered pieces, seen below, I didn’t really like the flaired lines of the furniture for the style she was working toward.

The flaired lines of these upholstered pieces dictated some new selections for this living room redo.
The flaired lines of these upholstered pieces dictated some new selections for this living room redo.

2) DOES THE PIECE FIT A SPECIFIC PLACE IN YOUR HOME?

Maybe you have something like a banquette that fits neatly in a bay window or a settee that is the perfect size and shape for the landing at the top of your stairs.

If everything about your piece is just right, but it is just tattered and worn, then reupholstery would be a good option.

If I had a perfect place for this fab piece in my house, there is no way I wouldn’t use it! Richelle did an awesome job with this.

This unusual mid-century modern settee looks so sleek reupholstered. The contrasting welt adds to the horizontal nature of the piece. So fab! Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
This unusual mid-century modern settee looks so sleek reupholstered. The contrasting welt adds to the horizontal nature of the piece. So fab!

By contrast, take a look at the lovely curves of this fabulous sofa. Imagine that silhouette in a beautiful window!

A reupholstered, vintage sofa by designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
A reupholstered, vintage sofa

3) DOES THE FURNITURE HAVE SENTIMENTAL VALUE?

Is this heirloom furniture? Did it come from your parents’ or grandparents’ homes?

Furniture made over 30 years ago had different manufacturing processes than they do today. Older upholstered pieces generally had solid wood frames and can be well worth the investment of reupholstery.

This mid-century modern style chair looks great reupholstered in a beautiful fabric! Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
This mid-century modern style chair looks great reupholstered in a beautiful fabric!

This pic below is a before and after of a grandmother’s sofa reupholstered for her granddaughter from Richelle’s portfolio. Not only is this a wonderful repurposing of a well-made frame, but a stylish and useful piece that will remain in the family.

Before and after of a reupholstered, vintage sofa with contrasting solid welting. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
Before and after of a reupholstered, vintage sofa with contrasting solid welting.

Here’s a slipper chair, below, that had been handed down in the family of one of my clients. They had memories associated with this chair and the loved one who owned it. They wanted to have it remade to keep for years to come.

We took a really different approach and did a more modern/masculine look with a houndstooth fabric and reduced the number of buttons. It served to move the chair into a more updated direction, while keeping the overall shape as a fond memory. 🙂

BEFORE - A client’s vintage chair was an heirloom that they wanted to keep and reupholster.
BEFORE – A client’s vintage chair was an heirloom that they wanted to keep and reupholster.
AFTER - It looks like a totally new chair reupholstered in this beautiful navy houndstooth fabric. Designer: Carla Aston
AFTER – It looks like a totally new chair reupholstered in this beautiful navy houndstooth fabric.

I recently consulted with a homeowner on this living room where she was keeping the upholstered pieces and reupholstering them in more updated fabrics. They were totally worth that investment.

These heirloom furnishings will get new life with reupholstery for this homeowner’s new living room.
These heirloom furnishings will get new life with reupholstery for this homeowner’s new living room.

Here is another chair, below, from a former client, that was passed down in the family. It was smallish in scale, but a nice size for an accent chair we could tuck into a corner. It was really old, but with a solid wood frame, was worth reworking it for their home. You can see, it even had horsehair stuffing for the seat cushion, so it had been around for many years. 🙂

BEFORE - This chair of my client’s had horsehair stuffing in the seat! It looked totally different when it was revamped for their home.
BEFORE – This chair of my client’s had horsehair stuffing in the seat! It looked totally different when it was revamped for their home.
BEFORE - This vintage chair, handed down in my client’s family received a whole new look when reupholstered.
BEFORE – This vintage chair, handed down in my client’s family received a whole new look when reupholstered.

We did a tight back instead of the loose cushion and refinished the exposed wood too. It looks brand new, doesn’t it? And that ikat fabric makes it so fun.

AFTER - Vintage chair reupholstered in ikat fabric for a more up to date look. Designer: Carla Aston
AFTER – Vintage chair reupholstered in ikat fabric for a more up to date look.
AFTER - My client’s reupholstered vintage chair looks so good, you wouldn’t even have a clue how old the frame was! Carla Aston, Designer
AFTER – My client’s reupholstered vintage chair looks so good, you wouldn’t even have a clue how old the frame was!
Here is the vintage chair pulled up next to the sofa in the living room corner. It was so cool to see how it looked with the other new furnishings. Designer: Carla Aston
Here is the vintage chair pulled up next to the sofa in the living room corner. It was so cool to see how it looked with the other new furnishings.

4) IS THE FURNITURE WELL BUILT?

Richelle was quite specific about this, a plywood frame is not worth the cost of reupholstering.

A solid wood frame and 8-way hand tied coil spring construction indicate a quality piece of furniture that would be a good candidate for reupholstery.

Here’s another tell-tale sign, integral legs. If the legs are part of the piece, going up through the seat, the back legs in particular, then it is a sturdier, better constructed design.

Richelle salvaged this Henredon sofa and the finished result is stunning! Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
Richelle salvaged this Henredon sofa and the finished result is stunning!

I actually have an old Pottery Barn leather chair. I can tell it is made from plywood because I can feel the thin layer of plywood in the arm, as I push up off the chair. All legs are screwed on to the base and often get twisted when I move the chair at all.

This sofa, below, had been in my client’s home for many years, and had a well-made, sturdy frame. Formerly in a damask fabric, we reupholstered it in a more solid look and the curvy shape really stood out and became the focus of the piece.

The curvy lines of this sturdy, well-made sofa really stood out once it was reupholstered in a more solid-look fabric. Designer: Carla Aston
The curvy lines of this sturdy, well-made sofa really stood out once it was reupholstered in a more solid-look fabric.

5) DO YOU WANT TO CREATE A TRULY CUSTOMIZED PIECE?

You will have greater design flexibility going with reupholstery. You can have all kinds of covering options, you can even do several different fabrics on one piece. Details like contrasting welts, unique nailheads, etc., can be added or deleted as you wish. You can change up the finish on any exposed wood elements on the piece too.

Working with an upholstery workroom or designer to create something special allows you a lot of flexibility.

Take a look at all the different types of nailheads my upholstery workroom has for me to select from on any particular piece I am reupholstering.

Nailhead options for reupholstery
Nailhead options for reupholstery
Nailhead optons for reupholstery
Nailhead optons for reupholstery

Not only that, but you are supporting small business and the local economy as well as keeping furniture out of the landfills!

Take a look at some of the special pieces Richelle has done, with all their nice details. 🙂

Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with contrasting solid welting. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with contrasting solid welting.
Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with mid-century modern style. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with mid-century modern style.
Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with contrasting solid welting. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with contrasting solid welting.
Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with contrasting solid welting. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
Before and After of a reupholstered, vintage chair with contrasting solid welting.
Before and after of a reupholstered, vintage chair. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
Before and after of a reupholstered, vintage chair.

Here’s an adorable chair redone in a smart looking plaid with nailhead trim. What a lovely combination for this chair.

A lovely reupholstered, vintage chair with nailhead trim. Designer: Richelle Plett, RLP Interiors
A lovely reupholstered, vintage chair with nailhead trim.

If you are in Singapore and is in need of an update for your couch to these fabrics, then contact us. The usual cost for reupholster/upholstery will start from SGD $1200 and above for a 2 seater or SGD $680 and above for an armchair. If you custom made a sofa in Singapore, the price starts from $3400 onwards. Ask for over stocked fabrics and you may even get a better price. Whatapps photos of your sofa and size to (+65 90305057 , Vince ) you can speak directly to us or email: info(at)centrepiece.com.sg to discuss your order. We don’t have call centres or customer service departments, you speak directly to the people making your sofa. Restoring beauty and beyond – Reupholstery SGShop @: Centrepiece Lazada  Find sales/clear stock @ : CarousellStay Connected centrepiece

Contact www.centrepiece.com.sg or email: info(at)centrepiece.com.sg

Note: If you are a new customer, and you need the upholster to do home visit, a SGD $50 will apply for upholstery services. This amount can be factor into the total cost if you subsequently accept the quote and use our services. For existing customers, first time on site consultation fees may be waived.

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