Why does reupholstery cost more than some new furniture?

Why does reupholstery cost more than some new furniture?

One thing every upholsterer hears over and over again is “What! I could buy a new chair/loveseat/couch for the cost to reupholster an old piece!”  My reply is always, “Yes you could.  But it would wear out in 3-5 years, and you’d replace it again, then in 3-5 more years you’d replace it again, and in one or two more purchases (12-16 or more years) the high quality reupholstery job I would have done might finally be showing some wear.

But how is new furniture so much cheaper?  Because it’s made more cheaply.  Vintage and antique furniture was made of kiln dried hardwoods and many new pieces are made of inexpensive and lightweight softwoods. Because new items are shipped further distances it needs to be as lightweight as possible.  

Many new items are labeled “made with real leather”.  This can be quite misleading as to the quality of the “leather” product you’re getting.  This “real leather” furniture you’re buying at a big box store is most often just a bonded leather.  Bonded leather is leather scraps that have been pulped and glued onto a vinyl backing.  It’s then dyed and looks the part but definitely won’t hold up like a solid leather piece.

Labor is another big factor in furniture production and upholstery.  Someone working in a furniture factory might work every day all day on the same type of chair.  Every day, 40 hours a week upholstering the same wingback chair.  This constant repetition makes you faster and more efficient.  

Supplies are typically ordered in MASSIVE bulk amounts (ordering staples by the million is quite a bit less expensive then ordering 1,000 at a time), fabrics are purchased in bulk by the hundreds, if not thousands of yards not to mention the professional cutting machines that can cut out fabric pieces in seconds.

But the benefits to having a professional upholsterer on your team is that your piece will get undivided attention and care.  You get to create a truly unique piece of furniture.  Is your chair sitting too low?  I can raise up the decking or add thicker foam.  Is your seat too cushy?  Come to my office and try out some foam samples and see what’s the most comfy for you.  Want your chair to look like a rainbow exploded?  We can do that for you, we LOVE color!




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