Top considerations when reupholstering furniture

Reupholstering furniture provides your unique item with a new look without the cost of buying brand new. However, there are many stepping stones to overcome before you can push forward with reupholstering. As master upholsterers, at John Reed and Son we have a whole host of experience reupholstering and repairing the most challenging pieces of furniture. We put together the top considerations to think of before going to your upholsterer, to ensure you are as prepared as can be.

Love the look

The first step may seem like a no-brainer, but you must know if the piece is worth re-upholstering to you. Adding new fabric and padding can give life to an older item of furniture, and can even slightly change the shape to suit your tastes more. However, if the original shape of the sofa or chair wasn’t your style in the first place, you may run the risk that after the work, you still don’t like it. Ensure it is only the fabric and cushioning that you want to replace, and not restyle the overall piece.

Traditional or a new look

The second step to give thought to when reupholstering furniture is to know what your ideal final look is. Do you want to keep the piece looking the same as before, just having seen a tidy up with new fabric, or would you like to completely change the look of the item through fabric or style? Knowing what you’d like the end product to look like helps along the way, and allows you to make more informed choices. The reason for reupholstery will go a long way in deciding this for you, for example, if the item is damaged then there may be limited options available.

Internal elements

When reupholstering furniture, most upholsterers will offer new padding or seating beneath the fabric. This is especially true if it is damaged in any way, or particularly old. This gives you the opportunity to revitalise your furniture in a way that goes beyond look. Amending the stiffness or support of the item of furniture can change the item beyond recognition, so that your old furniture is now as comfortable as it is aesthetically pleasing.

Fabric choice

Fabric choice is a key moment in reupholstering furniture, as it decides the overall look and feel of the item. Not only is the print important, the type of fabric requires further consideration. The type you choose will depend on what the item is used for, where it is situated, what type of look you want to achieve, and how expensive the entire piece is. A soft cotton is not suitable for a chair that sees regular use and wear, and linen stains easily and is not ideal for use around pets or children, but wool is durable and repels dirt, ideal for both situations. A woven pattern will fare better under heavy use than a printed fabric, and leatherette provides easy cleaning options.

Once you have considered all of the above and come to a decision, its time to head to your chosen upholsterer. As experts, they will likely have even more thoughts and questions, but if you know the answers to the above, then you are well prepared. At John Reed and Son, we have three generations of experience working to create beautiful masterpieces from old furniture. As master upholsterers, no request is too challenging. Get in touch with us on 01536 510584, email us at, or fill out our online enquiry form.