Spring and summer in Michigan bring many activities that normally don’t happen during colder weather. Outdoor auctions and estate sales are a couple of places where you can find solid, quality antique or vintage furniture that’s crying out for a new owner and fresh love.

If you’re new to auctions, ask questions about the furniture you might find. There are often either family stories or historical significance to household furnishings being sold. You might discover a wing-back reading chair that is hundreds of years old!

The stories behind the furniture are often what make them special. Perhaps that favorite rocking chair that only grandma used to read to the grandchildren is in mint condition and only needs a modern refresh with new upholstery fabric.

When you bring home your vintage furniture, what’s the next step?

First, congratulations for spotting a vintage beauty and buying it! Shoppers who see value in buying furnishings at auctions also see the longevity of older furniture, and the promise of avoiding the landfill.

Chances are, it’s been either well-used, or it’s been sitting in a lonely corner or in a storage unit or barn, waiting for a new owner. It needs some cleanup work first; which is a good time to examine how it’s made.

Vintage furniture construction is often more durable than what is found at today’s mass-produced big-box furniture outlets. And, with a little TLC and new upholstery fabric, that vintage piece can look brand new again!

Examine the piece to see how the frame is built, and how the piece is joined together. Many antiques were padded with organic materials, such as horsehair, hay, or cotton stuffing. This may be important to know, especially if you have allergies to these materials.

It’s a good idea to give it a careful cleaning or wipe-down. You may not see an insect or mouse infestation until you start examining it closely. Critters can be dealt with, and the chair or couch can be cleaned up, reupholstered, and look as good as new again.

How much does it cost to reupholster an antique couch or vintage chair?

The easy answer: it depends. Older furniture items were often larger and had their own unique cut and style. A qualified upholstery specialist can estimate the amount of upholstery fabric needed. He can also determine if the padding should be replaced.

The type of fabric you select will also factor into the overall cost. Are you trying to restore the item to historical beauty? If so, specific types of fabric, colors, and patterns may be necessary. Vintage fabric can often be more expensive.

If you’re merely interested in reupholstering the furniture for daily use, then make your fabric selection based on how the item will be used and where it will be located. Setting a couch in front of a sunny window will fade the colors in some fabrics faster than others. Again, an upholstery specialist can advise you on sun-fading, double-rub durability tests, and other fabric construction facts.

When you find a great bargain on quality furniture, use our “Get a Quote” process for a reupholstery estimate. Keep reusing those older treasures, and together we can preserve history and eliminate excess waste!