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Should you reupholster your furniture or buy new? Here’s our guide

This is a question I get asked a lot! Should I replace or renovate my furniture? Most customers, when asking me to quote, will then compare to the cost of a new item. I completely understand it; I get the thinking. But as a Master Upholsterer, you can probably guess which side of the fence I’m coming down on! Because, frankly, there is no comparison.

But I don’t want you to think I’m too biased – so I’m going to take you through a short guide that will explain the Pros and Cons of each decision because my job is to help you!

Sentiment and memories

What can never be underestimated is the sentimental value a piece of furniture can have. I bet if you remember being told stories when staying with grandparents, you can also remember the chair they sat in while they told the story? Or the chair you sat in to feed your newborn children? Or the sofa you all bundled on to when watching family movies as kids? These are priceless memories that simply can’t be bought.


New = 0 v Reupholstered = 1

TLC from a craftsman who cares about your cherished furniture

Every piece of furniture a reputable upholsterer makes is lovingly carried out from start to finish. The project belongs to one craftsperson. There is no conveyer belt. No factory floor. There is a workshop with a beating heart and people who love what they do. There is a connection made between the upholsterer and the piece of furniture. Trust me, the good ones really care.

And, if the upholster you choose goes even further (like we do!) (s)he will know the history of the furniture. We honestly believe that helps as when you work on it, you can imagine the love that surrounded it.

I know, I know …I’m a soppy bugger!!!


New furniture = 0 v Reupholstered = 1

Quality materials and components

Compared to a factory where many people are working on one piece using the cheapest components with the least of cares; getting a cherished piece of furniture lovingly restored is – well, not comparable! Of course, a master upholsterer will appear expensive compared to something you can buy at a huge discount in a superstore. But wouldn’t you rather be sitting on furniture that means something? That makes you smile with happy memories and that you can pass on to future generations?

Traditional craftsmanship means just that. The way frames were made, and the construction of the older frames have no comparison to those available in today’s market. Your furniture will be restored using the same materials that have allowed it to be around for so long. No cheap foam, no staples. Quality materials using traditional hand tools. Buying a sofa or chair which would stand the test of time today could cost a lot of money, as much as £12,000, I kid you not! Most furniture today is not built to last.

We live in a throwaway society, and if we’re not careful future generations will not benefit from beautiful heirlooms.


New furniture = 0 v Reupholstered = 1

When upholstering is NOT an option!

My team and I are good…but some furniture is beyond any skills we can offer. (We don’t want to admit it – but it’s true!) For example, if your sofa wasn’t well made to begin with, is falling apart at the seams and didn’t cost a fortune I would be advising you to buy new because my labour would be costly.

In those circumstances, buying new is probably a better option. Bugger!


New furniture = 1 v Reupholstered = 0

When reupholstering IS and option!

Give me an ancient sofa or chair which is creaking and falling apart and bloody uncomfortable, and I’m in my element. I love the challenge of it! And you’d be surprised what’s possible. I’ve seen many sofas that the client thinks is past repair. But what I see is superficial damage. Because when you look underneath the old worn, shabby coverings more often than not the frame is in excellent shape – because they were built to last way back when. Also, remember the like for like comparison here too. When restored to its former glory, you’ll have a sofa fit for another 100 years. A new sofa today will probably only last a few. But also you need to think about the comfort of your furniture and whether it works in your room.


New furniture = 0 v Reupholstered = 1

Caring for the environment

I have a very serious point for you to consider now; that’s the environmental issue which can often be completely overlooked and yet is deeply troubling. An article in Real Homes magazine in 2019 revealed we Brits throw away a staggering 22 million pieces of unwanted furniture each year. The article also said that “Less than one in ten of us consider repairing our furniture”. That breaks my heart! Because it might be boosting our economy (although only a tiny bit), but of course, there is an environmental consequence to this behaviour, and I find it deeply troubling.


New furniture = 0 v Reupholstered = 1

Final decision time…

So, those are the main considerations, and you can see the balance is in favour of reupholstering (!!)

And, as I said at the start, holding onto cherished memories is important. Does that piece of furniture pull on your heartstrings? If it does, call me, I would love to take it and make it booootiful again!