My clients often have pieces of furniture that they love, but that are looking worn, tired, or dated. They question whether it is worth it to have them reupholstered, or should they just buy new. Reupholstering can be just as expensive purchasing new, but it also has many benefits ranging from sentimentality, to preserving historical significance, to sustainability... to plain ole "if it works, stick with it."
There are a lot of points that need to be addressed in making this decision… obviously how much do you like the piece, how comfortable is it, how well does it fit the space and your lifestyle, how much work and expense is involved in breathing new life into it?
If the decision is made to retain the piece and have it reupholstered, the next conundrum is what to recover it with? If it has historical provenance, and it is your responsibility and/or desire is to maintain that, then the style and pattern of fabric should be appropriate to the time period.
But if that is not the case and you can do anything that suits your heart’s desire, be open to having fun with it. I recently had a client bring her old Louis XIV-inspired chair to me to determine whether it was worth updating. It was in good shape except that the finish was a little dull with tiny scratches, and the fabric was worn and uninspiring.
We discussed her current color scheme and style, and whether she wanted to stay with plain or small patterns that many people use on such chairs, or if she wanted to branch out a bit. She admitted that she was tired of the typical traditional fabrics and was willing and anxious to look at more unexpected choices. After draping several fabrics on her chair, she was thrilled with a contemporary circle motif in cornflower blues and dove grays.
The pattern is small enough that it fits the scale of the chair, but I suggested that we do the double-welt and arm pads in a coordinating silvery gray velvet, so that the overall look is refined rather than choppy with partial circles.
Although she was a little nervous taking this new and exciting path, she was thrilled when her chair came back from the upholstered looking like it should be featured in a design magazine!
So what do you think? Did she make the right choice by reupholstering rather than discarding and buying new? Will you look at your old furniture with new possibilities now? I hope so!