I’d like my furniture re-upholstered. How much does it cost?

A key question when you’re deciding whether to have your furniture re-upholstered – how much will it cost?

To decide if re-upholstering is for you and to work out your budget, you need to know one basic point – whether your furniture is modern or old.

  • What is modern? Furniture which is less than 50 years old. This is a very debatable, subject but let’s work with this.
  • What is old? Anything over that 50-year mark. Some can be considerably older, sometimes antique (much nearer a 100 years old).

If your furniture was not expensive to buy (assuming you bought it brand new) then reupholstering would not be worthwhile. The quality of the frame and interiors (the padding or stuffing) would likely be of a quality that no matter how much money you spent, it would still be a flimsy sofa with a very short life expectancy.


If your modern sofa is of a good quality and solid, but the covers are worn thin and the foam is showing underneath, it will be worth your while getting the item reupholstered. You do need to be prepared to spend money on it, though.

Here’s an example of the costing for a three-seater sofa:

The fabric

You could need anything from 12m to 16m to cover a sofa. For 12m, £30 per metre fabric will see a spend of £360. At 16m, £40 per metre fabric would see a bill of £640. It is worth bearing in mind that you can spend considerably less or more than £30 per metre. If there is a pattern on the fabric you may require more meterage in order to pattern match. Additionally, fabrics used to cover modern furniture needs to be Fire Retardant treated which can incur extra costs. So, fabric choice will make a massive impact on how much you spend. Please note that when most upholsterers quote, if a fabric has not been chosen then a fabric price will NOT be included in your quote.

Upholstery costs

These costs will vary. Taking the same three-seater sofa, we can break down the upholsterer’s time on each section to give you an idea of the work involved:

  • Removing existing covers – With a modern sofa this can sometimes take up to three days to take off the old covers. High quality sofas tend to have hard wood frames, and the fabric will be stapled on, these staples can at times be very tricky to remove, especially if longer staples have been used. These staples and fabric must be fully removed before the new covers are put on to ensure a clean final piece.
  • Cutting new fabric to fit –The time taken depends on the sofa design. If it’s complicated, this can take another day. Simpler designs can take a half day. The process involves measuring and cutting the new fabric to fit the sofa.
  • Sewing fabric -Making cushions, arms, backs and piping, plus sewing covers together can easily be a day’s work, or more with a more complicated pattern to match.
  • Covering (the upholstery) – Covering the sofa is next. This process can vary widely from one sofa to the next, but a realistic time is two or three days. This must be done with care, and usually one upholsterer fits all the parts of the sofa to ensure consistent quality.

So, reupholstering a modern sofa can take a week or longer and expecting to pay anything less than £900 on a three-seater is neither realistic nor takes into consideration the upholsterer’s skills. In most cases, you will find the upholsterer will make a considerably better job than the original piece produced in the factory.

Whether this works out cheaper than buying new depends entirely on the quality of your sofa to start with.

So, take these tips as your essential guide to costing your re-upholstery project.

The most important tip we can give you is this: Make sure your upholsterer has the skills your furniture needs.

Do you need advice on your restoration project? Call our expert team at Richardson & Paige on 01380 578012.