A Beginner’s Guide to Reupholstering Furniture

By: French Finds

Reupholstering a piece of antique furniture is a great way to give it new life. The process involves removing the fabric, padding, springs, and other materials from the existing wooden frame. These materials are then replaced with new fabric and accessories, helping to restore the furniture back to its former glory.

Instead of throwing away old furniture, reupholstering it gives you a chance to continue using it for many more years. Heirloom-quality furniture is often reupholstered multiple times throughout its life, allowing it to be passed down through the generations.

Professional or DIY?

For professional-quality results, you can hire a company such at The Upholstery Workshop to reupholster the furniture for you. These companies have the tools, expertise, and experience to do the job right. Unfortunately, the cost of having furniture reupholstered can be quite high. If you are working on a tight budget, you may want to consider taking on the project yourself. Transforming an old, outdated piece of furniture into something beautiful and new can be a fun and rewarding process.

The vast majority of antique furniture pieces can be reupholstered, simply because of how they were constructed. In most cases, older furniture is extremely well-made and can last for many decades. Newer furniture, on the other hand, is a little bit less predictable. Some pieces that were made in the recent past don’t have a solid enough underlying structure to be reupholstered.

Deconstructing the Furniture

Typically, it is a good idea to snap a photo or two of the piece of furniture before you begin the project. That way, you will have a guide to refer back to when you are putting it all back together.

Likewise, as you deconstruct the furniture, take photos of each part of the process. You may even want to take detailed photos of certain parts of the furniture so that you can clearly see how they were originally put together. This can make it easier to put everything back together the right way when you are done with the project.

The process of reupholstering a piece of furniture can take quite a while, depending on the size and complexity of the piece. During that time, it is easy to forget how the original piece of furniture looked or how it was put together. Having a series of photos can help overcome this challenge.

If you are reupholstering a sofa or couch, you can begin taking it apart as soon as you have taken your photos. Start the process by flipping the sofa upside down so that you can begin removing fabric from around the bottom of the piece.

Next, with the sofa standing up, remove the fabric from the arms and back of the piece.

As you disassemble the sofa, set aside any items that could be reused. For instance, if the springs and padding are still in good shape, you may only need to replace the fabric. If the piece has any horsehair, you should save it so that you can reuse it in the project. Consider washing it if it is looking dull or dingy.

With any luck, you can use the fabric that you removed as a template when cutting your new fabric. Don’t throw it out before you finish your project. That way, you can look at it as a reference if you need it.

Check to see if the foam inside the cushions needs to be replaced. If you do wind up having to buy new padding, make sure to invest in high-quality foam that will hold its shape over the years.

Invest in Quality Materials

When purchasing materials for your project, keep quality in mind. If you try to save money by choosing cheap products, you may find that your project doesn’t come out looking the way that you wanted it to. Even worse, it may not last, meaning that all of the hard work you put into it was for nothing.

Refer back to your original photographs as needed throughout the project. That way, you can be sure that you are putting everything back together correctly.

Generally, you will need to start by replacing the interior fabric that lines the inside of the couch or sofa. As you put the material in place, make sure to pull it tight. That way, it won’t bunch up or come loose in the future.

Once the interior fabric is in place, you can then complete the project by adding the upholstery fabric to the outside of the sofa. This fabric should be held in place using upholstery tacks or a high-quality staple gun. Once you are done adding the fabric, all that is left to do is to finish off the edges of the piece. There is a real sense of pride that goes along with giving new life to a piece of antique furniture.