Reupholstering Furniture: Finding the Perfect Piece

Reupholstering a chair
  • 2-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-1,000

Reupholstering furniture is beneficial in a number of ways. For starters, older furniture is constructed out of much higher quality materials than modern furniture is and by purchasing an older piece, you can get a great piece of furniture for a fraction of the cost of a less-quality, brand new one. But, how does one find the “perfect piece of furniture” for their reupholstering dreams? Here are a few places to look and tips on finding a great deal.

Places to Look for Antique Furniture:

The Sunday paper

The local Pennysaver magazine

Garage or yard sales

Flea markets

Antique shops

Facebook Marketplace

Other online selling communities

How to Tell if a Piece of Furniture is Suitable for Reupholstering:

First, you have to love the shape of the piece. Is the structure of the chair or sofa to your liking? You don’t want to spend the time refurbishing a wing-back chair when you don’t really like that style. Lift the piece of furniture. Is it heavy? If it is, then it was probably made with hardwood. This means that the frame is constructed out of very good quality materials.

If it's relatively light, then it is constructed out of cheaper, low quality softwood. Give the piece a shake. Does it wobble? Are the legs loose? Since you can’t see through the fabric to the frame, you want everything to be tight, even and secure.

The only way you are going to find out is by shaking the piece. Squeeze the arms on the chair you are considering buying. If they feel soft and squishy, then the chair was constructed with cheap materials which have all but disintegrated. If the arm feels lumpy, then that can easily be fixed by replacing some stuffing, but if it is squishy, pass on the purchase. Lastly, check the name of the manufacturer of the piece. If it was produced by a reputable furniture manufacturer, then odds are it's a good quality item. If you never heard of the name, research it online before making a purchasing decision.