Designer trends

Should you Reupholster or Buy New?

January 15, 2021

Is reupholstering worth it?

By Redesign Upholstery

Reupholstering a sofa instead of replacing it can potentially save you money, but the cost isn’t usually the most important element of the decision. Hiring a good upholsterer can be almost as expensive as buying a new piece, so the things that make the job worth it are more personal — like the sofa’s sentimental value, suitability for your space and antique quality.

Furniture reupholstery also keeps the frame out of the landfill, making it the eco-conscious thing to do. If the sofa was cheap and low-quality to begin with, though, reupholstering it is probably a poor use of money.


Check the Age of the Piece


Determine whether the sofa is more than 10 years old. If you’re considering buying it at a yard sale or from a used furniture dealer, ask the seller about the history of the piece. Furniture built in the last 10 years is usually not sturdy enough to bother reupholstering, but older pieces are often better quality, says Peroni’s Upholstery. If it’s been in use for 10 to 15 years and isn’t falling apart yet structurally, that’s also a good sign.


Determine How Sturdy the Sofa Is


Shake the sofa by each arm and the back. Check whether it wobbles, rocks or feels unsteady. If so, it’s probably not a good enough sofa to reupholster. If it feels sturdy and well made, it might be a good candidate.


Examine the Frame


For the sofa to be worth reupholstering, the frame should be made of hardwood with relatively few knots, and the joints should be secured with dowels and glue rather than staples. If you’re not sure whether the frame is hardwood, remove all the cushions and try to lift the sofa. If it feels heavy for its size, it’s more likely to be high quality; if it feels light, the wood is probably not sturdy enough to keep.


Check the Frame’s Springs


Look at the springs in the frame. High-quality sofas have coiled springs tied with twine in an asterisk pattern across the platform. If the sofa has rubber panels instead of springs or springs in an “s” shape instead of coiled, the piece probably isn’t worth reupholstering. If you’re not sure whether the springs are coiled or you can’t see them, pat the underside of the sofa and feel whether the dust cover is stretched taut. A tight dust cover indicates good construction.


Squeeze the Sofa’s Padding


Press on the cushions and squeeze the padded arms and back of the sofa. If they feel squishy or compress easily, they’re probably made of low-quality foam, which makes reupholstering the sofa a poor investment. If they feel firm or lumpy, your upholsterer can work with the material to keep the sofa comfortable and useable.


Review the Style


The first question The Master’s Touch recommends you ask yourself is “Do I like the style and quality of my sofa?” If it’s good quality but you’re on the fence about spending the money on reupholstering, ask yourself whether you’re likely to find another piece you like as much. Finding the perfect shape and size of sofa for your home can be challenging, so if you have it in front of you and it just needs some repairs and new fabric, reupholstering it is probably a good choice.




Shop around for furniture reupholstery specialists before you select one. Choose a workman with good reviews, a large portfolio and rates you can afford.