Before & After: From Floral Ruffles to Refined Botanical-print

From Ruffles to Refined

Have you ever wondered whether you should reupholster a chair or just buy a new one? There are several points to consider. Here are four examples of when reupholstering worked best. All chairs cost between $200 and $360 to re-cover, plus the cost of fabric.

Sometimes our tastes change, and luckily, so can our furniture. This botanical-print chair no longer suited the homeowner's sleek style. A creamy quilted fabric now highlights the simple, clean lines of the chair. Before, the busy pattern was all you could see. Removing the skirt also altered the overall look of the piece, but it's the nail-head trim detail that really gives it a new look. Special additions such as this can cost a bit more, so be sure to get an estimate first.

Before & After: Reupholstered Chair

Mix and Match

This chair update was not as dramatic as the others shown here, but it was a smart change. This family-favorite piece was worn and faded from years of use. Durable fabric was a must, but reupholstering gave the opportunity to add another element of style. A tailored dressmaker skirt gives the piece more presence than before. The homeowner also had a few yards of fabric left over from another project in the house. It wasn't enough to cover the entire chair so she paired the extra fabric with a neutral brushed cotton for a unique look.

Before & After: Reupholstered Chaise

New House, Empty Corner

These homeowners saw this chaise's potential -- a bargain purchase at $40. It had great lines, simple rolled arms, and was in overall good shape. The decision to reupholster was a no-brainer.

Re-covering this chaise took a little more than 7 yards of fabric. The homeowners ordered an extra yard of material to be on the safe side. Depending on the pattern repeat, it often takes a little extra fabric to match the print. The repeat can be figured by measuring from a specific point in the pattern to the next identical point. Use any leftover fabric for an accent pillow in the room. Be sure to talk to your upholsterer before ordering fabric –– it can save you money.

Before & After: Reupholstered Hand-me-down chair

Two for One

A pair of chairs with decorative details is hard to find on a furniture showroom floor -- especially for less than $1,000. The tired look of these hand-me-downs made them perfect candidates for a makeover.

Replacing the attached tufted back pillows with removable down pillows was the first order of business. Next, the upholsterer raised the skirts on each chair to provide a dressier look. In addition, a 2-inch-wide band of coordinating fabric was added to the bottom of the skirt as well as in the kick pleat.

Plaids are tricky. The pattern on a well-upholstered piece should line up throughout and be unbroken from top to bottom and side to side. When working with plaid or another intricate print, it's a good idea to use the best upholsterer you can afford because matching difficult patterns is not easy.

Reupholstered Beige Chair with Grommets

Is It Worth It?

Before turning over your furniture to the upholsterer, look through magazines or books for ideas to show the upholsterer so he or she knows exactly what you have in mind. Remember that the more you alter, the higher your bill will be. Always check with your upholsterer first to get a time and cost estimate for what you want.

Do you like the style and quality of the piece that needs re-covering? The true worth might be hidden behind the fabric. The construction on low-end furniture will not last as long as more expensive pieces. Reupholstering high-end furniture will save you one-third to half the cost of replacing it with the same quality. Upholstering an older, less expensive item may cost as much or more than a replacement piece.

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