The online quote request on our website is a great way to start researching reupholstering furniture. Unfortunately, not all furniture is worthy of a second or third life.

If you are just starting to furnish your new home, or if you are considering a purchase through an auction or thrift store, there are some things to consider before buying furniture. And, if you already have a piece that you love, these tips that will tell you if it’s worth the cost to extend the life with a quality reupholstery service.

Build Structure of Furniture

Not all furniture is built the same. As our lifestyles progress towards faster, cheaper, more economical desires, the mass-production manufacturing standards have lowered over the years. What used to last for multiple-decades now barely lasts three to five years.

Look for solid construction. Turn the chair over and see how the frame fits together. The joints on long-lasting furniture are usually assembled with a dovetail or a mortise-and-tendon. These methods join two pieces of wood tightly with interlocking pieces, like how two gears fit together.

Corner blocks on the inside corners of the frame add extra strength to an area that is often weakened with repeated use and movement.

Not all Materials are Alike

At a basic level, furniture is made of a frame, supports, and cushions. Be aware of the materials used in each area.

Hardwood furniture is more durable and stable. Look for oak, maple, cherry, birch, or walnut wood types. Soft woods like pine or poplar will scratch easier, and probably won’t last as long.

Seating support is often built with springs or web suspension, or a combination of both. Common spring construction includes coil springs or sinuous springs. Springs that are properly tied together provide good tension and accurate positioning beneath the weight and movement of a person.

Cushion construction has changed through the years, from down and feathers to firmer cushion material. The most common today is high density polyurethane foam, which is cut to the correct size, and can often be wrapped in batting before being upholstered.

Choose the Right Fabric

There are a lot of choices in upholstery fabric, and just like the other components of quality furniture, not all fabric will last the same. Materials have different uses, and our Upholstery Fabric page explains the best vendors we use for each situation. Commercial fabric has additional long-lasting properties included, such as anti-microbial, stain resistance, and other qualities that differentiate it from regular upholstery.

The biggest factor to consider with furniture fabric is the abrasion it will endure. The constant rubbing when a person moves in and out of furniture causes stress on the fabric fibers, wearing them down.

We recommend certain fabric strengths, based on how the furniture will be used. Furniture in a reception area or waiting room is used more frequently than a side chair in a sitting room.

A double-rub scoring system determines how long the fabric will last, and upholstery fabric is often measured with a Wyzenbeek machine. This repeatedly performs a double-rub in both directions on the fabric, which is measured until fiber breakdown occurs. We have more information about the Wyzenbeek method on our blog article: Durability of Upholstery Fabric

Is Your Furniture Worth It?

When you factor in the disposal costs of modern, throw-away furniture and how long it takes to recycle and break down in the environment, there is a lot to consider during a furniture purchase. Saving money up front in the purchase price can end up costing money if the item doesn’t last as long as expected, and cannot be repaired.

There is a cost involved with reupholstering furniture, and for the right piece, that cost extends the value of the asset. The right piece of furniture is definitely worth the time, effort, and cost to reupholster. If your piece was originally built with the methods explained here, then give us a call or ask for a quote!