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Domestic and Commercial Upholstery

Why Recover Old Furniture?

If you like your old furniture why not recover it.

There are several factors to keep in mind when considering recovering your furniture. The main ones to consider are: recover v new, the frame quality, the advantage of fabric choice, whether to recover or re-upholster.

Recover vs New

It is often cheaper to recover an existing piece than to buy a new one of comparable quality. A quality piece of furniture would be more expensive to replace than to recover, therefore if buying new or custom made furniture you should buy the best quality that is affordable because your purchase is amortised across many years and will have good enough “bones” to have it recovered from time to time. Inexpensive furniture can break, pop springs (although it probably wouldn’t have those), and look worn and out of shape within a couple of years due not only to poor quality frames but also because the foam padding and fabric generally won’t stand up to frequent use.

Quality frame construction 

Good frames are made from hardwood or a quality plywood at least 25mm thick, or a combination of both. They should be joined with double dowels and support blocks and screws. A quick way to test the quality of the frame in your furniture is to lift it, if made from hardwood it will be heavy, and if the furniture is 10 or more years old and has very minimal or no movement it is also an indication of a well constructed frame.
Frames made with metal braces, and those where staples are used without dowels are generally not the best. The wood used in such frames is usually of a lesser quality and doesn’t wear well.
If however you have such a piece and are fond of it because it has a style you like and couldn’t find again, or it fits a particular space etc, it can be repaired and strengthened.

The advantage of fabric choice

The choices of fabrics available are practically endless and you will be able to find exactly the right fabric to suit your décor and your budget.
When selecting fabric it is important to take into consideration the amount of wear it will need to withstand. There are natural and synthetic fabrics, and offcourse leather.
As a general rule synthetic fabrics are more durable, colourfast and soil resistant than natural fabrics but once stained also harder to clean. Natural fabrics absorb stains easier but are also easier to clean than synthetics. Natural fabrics take to dyes differently and can be richer, more subtle. Therefore a combination of synthetic and natural gives you the best of both. Fabrics can be treated with soil-resistant finishes but the finish doesn’t last forever so the fabric should be cleaned from time to time and the treatment re-applied.

Recover or Re-Upholster

If your furniture is in good condition and the springs and padding are still in good shape, a recover is all that would be required.
If you find the springs and/or padding is in bad shape it is best to fully re-upholster the furniture, which means, repairing/replacing springs and to re-pad with new quality padding, whether traditionally or with modern materials such as foam.
It is best to use the top quality “High Resilience” foams rather than the standard type if the furniture is to be in a frequent use situation.

Below is an extract from an article describing the benefits of having a traditional Club lounge recovered.

… she has a good eye for a bargain; so she was very excited when she found a fantastic 1930s-era Club lounge suite by the side of the road in a recent council clean up. Although the suite had seen better days, she thought it would be a crime for such a treasure to go to the tip. Instead, she decided to have it restored by a professional upholsterer. It was recovered with Gosh Australian leather in 'Glenrowan Bark', which has a soft, suede-like finish.   

She found an upholsterer and accepted a quote, making sure it included all the work to be done. One company may be cheaper than another, but this usually means they're not listing hidden extras such as casters or wooden detailing or other materials. You can choose from a range of fabrics and vinyls, but the most luxurious covering has to be leather!

The three-piece suite cost $5800 to restore. This sounds expensive, but buying a new quality modern lounge suite can cost in excess of $7000, and you’d never be able to buy a classic 1930s Club lounge for that price. The reconditioned lounge suite was independently valued at $12000.

Original cost: free
Cost to restore: $5800
Valued at: $12000
Profit: $6200

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