With the price of furniture now, you may think it’s affordable to buy new furniture every few years, however, consider the benefits of reupholstering old chairs. Perhaps you had a favorite reading chair in Grandma’s attic, or you saw a great set of dining room chairs at an auction – when is it good to reupholster vs. buying brand new furniture? Here are some things to consider.
Chair Style – Look at the chair through the eyes of those who might visit your home or office. Is it a chair that adds style and elegance to your room, or was it a fad-type of style that won’t last beyond five years? Some office-type chairs are manufactured with thermally bonded fabric, so removing and replacing upholstery be difficult without destroying the chair.
Chair Quality – This is perhaps the biggest consideration when determining whether any chair deserves the time and cost of reupholstery. Check the frame of the chair for a solid wood construction instead of pressed or formed wood. The solid-wood frame is usually built with craftsmanship that is designed to last generations. It will also use proper joining techniques instead of mere staples holding the pieces together.
Chair Use – Consider how the chair will be used, including the frequency, the type of weight commonly sitting in it, and where it will be located. A fragile antique chair may be worth reupholstering, but might not be the best chair to use in an office reception area. Also, if the chair will be sitting by a window in the hot sunlight all the time, the location can gradually fade and deteriorate any upholstery, so consider fade-resistant or outdoor-types of fabric.
Chair Materials – Older chairs used springs or special webbing materials, and these should be checked to see if repairs are needed during reupholstery. Sometimes, the frame or joints may also need reinforcement, and the cushioning material might be worn thin and require replacement.
Overall Cost – Finally, the cost of upholstery fabric and the work involved should be considered in the value of redoing older chairs vs. buying new chairs. While mass-produced, newer chairs might seem less expensive, they typically don’t last as long as the earlier-built chairs, which means more frequent replacement. However, a solidly-built chair that has already lasted a generation or two could continue as a comfortable chair if reupholstered professionally. The cost of labor and fabric, when spread over the dozens of years that an older chair can still last, can seem minimal when compared to buying new.
If you have more questions about reupholstering an old chair, give us a call or schedule an appointment.