Ask A Designer: Reupholstering A Sofa

Q. I have a sofa that I’m considering reupholstering. It seems like a lot of money; how do I know if it’s worth it?

— C.A., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. Reupholstering is expensive, but if the piece of furniture is well made, then it can be worth doing. I know someone who has had the same sofa for 40 years and has reupholstered it three times during that lifespan.

It’s costly because the process doesn’t only involve changing the outer fabric; the upholsterer also has to tighten the frame and change the springs, padding and cushion inserts as needed. What you end up with is essentially a new piece, and in some cases, this could still cost less than buying brand-new.

If you’re unsure whether your piece is in good enough condition, ask for your upholsterer’s opinion and weigh the benefits of reupholstering versus buying new. If your sofa wasn’t high-quality to begin with, there’s no sense in throwing good money after bad.

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