Will reupholstery of your existing sofa cost less than buying new?

July 03, 2024

Will reupholstery of your existing sofa cost less than buying new?

Not likely. If you have a sofa or chair whose design you love, with a high quality hardwood frame and it has sentimental value then do consider reupholstering it. Just don't expect a better price than buying new. Do expect better quality, however. Most people are surprised by the labor and fabric costs to reupholster.  The fabric alone can be hundreds of dollars per yard if you choose to use a designer and design center.  The reupholstery process involves 100% human capital. Gutting the pieces takes time, too. Labor costs have risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic and people with the skill sets to build frames and upholster are scarce and in demand. So, they require more money for their skills as a result. There are no machines involved with reupholstery process.

People who want to replace the conventional seat and back cushions of their  conventional sofas (in the hopes of saving money rather than buying a new non-toxic sofa) with organic inputs are often surprised at the prices of the custom cushions with organic latex, wool and upholstery fabric.  The cushion prices will usually exceed what they paid for the  sofa.  Custom sized replacement cushions with toxic everything are very expensive. Using organic latex, wool and fabric for the cushions can bring the price so close to that of buying a completely new non-toxic sofa that some people end up in a quandry and pause the exploration process due to sticker shock.   

We receive positive feedback from those who do replace the toxic cushions with organic latex ones. They find them to be heavier, higher quality and last so much longer than high density foam cushions.

When one does all of the research to determine how to get a fully non-toxic sofa for under $2000, they learn that it just doesn't exist. Sure, some offer a hardwood frame or gimmicky Certi-pur foam and then offer no natural upholstery fabrics. There is compromise with every conventional upholstery manufacturer.

The commitment to the organic inputs and hardwood frames is an expensive one, but it is a wise investment. The pieces provide decades of comfort and support if maintained. Nobody expects to buy a sofa whose fabric and cushions fail in less than five years.  Keep in mind that furniture was made with all natural fabrics and inputs prior to WWII when the chemical companies convinced us that we could live better through use of chemicals.

It is common for sofas to have PFAS treated forever chemicals, glues, VOCs such as formaldehyde and still, possibly, pounds of chemical flame retardants- especially if they are imported from  Asian countries where flame retardants in foam is common. All of these are harmful to us, our ecosystems  and contribute to poor indoor air quality. 

I picked up these vintage  Ficks Reed high end bamboo and rattan pieces on Facebook Marketpalce. The fabrics were dirty, stained and the foam was old and crumbling. I spent 20 times  more than I originally paid to then gut them and replace with organic latex, wool and untreated natural fiber fabrics. The pieces have to sing to YOU  and only YOU can decide what your budget is based on your value system.

 

 




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