Re-upholstery advice

If you would like to breathe new life into your furniture and think it would be nice to have reupholstered, here's what you need to know and plan for and what you should look out for when choosing fabric to ensure you make the right decision.

Re-upholstery advice

Most people seem to have a favourite piece of furniture. Sometimes it is a piece that has been inherited, or a settee or suite that fits aesthetically into their living area or is comfortable.
By simple recovery you can add a whole new lease of life to your furniture as long as the frame is basically sound. Everything else can be replaced if need be by repadding and changing the specifications – shape of the arms, or back. Valances can be added or left off, buttons can be added plus piping or top stitching to change the look of squabs and cushions. Basically, you can have whatever you like.
At Piermark Upholstery, the majority of the business is through referrals and most are very surprised at how busy the factory is, thinking that with all the imported furniture, traditional upholstery must be a dying trend. However, it all comes back to that old saying ‘you get what you pay for’. The older furniture was built to last. The frames were structurally sound and made of real wood, not chipboard or ‘mdf’ as we find in some furniture today.
Fabric choice is your chance to express your preferences in colour, patterns, and textures. We have covered pieces that look totally wrong, but when placed in their appropriate surroundings, looked amazing. Basically whatever you choose, you are paying the same labour rate irrespective of the value of the fabric, so we recommend you put on something that is going to last. In saying that, we cover many pieces that are used in showrooms and as decorative furniture which is made to be looked at, not sat on. In this instance lightweight fabrics are ok.
All of the major fabric wholesalers grade their fabrics into categories such as general domestic use, domestic/light commercial and commercial weight etc. It is a good idea to choose from a supplier that has a specific range of upholstery grade fabrics so you can be sure the quality is suitable for your setting.
You need to consider fabric durability and whether the furniture piece is in a high traffic area, or exposed to sunlight for periods of the day or areas of damp. Ensure your fabric is mildew resistant if it is in a damp setting.
When you are considering fabric design, a large bold pattern might work better in a larger room, while a more muted or smaller one might be a better choice for a smaller space. The same applies to the size of your furniture.
There are a lot of fabrics that have the Martindale test rating on them which will be indicated on the fabric label. This is a rub test on the fabric to see how well it will wear. The number quoted on the label is the number of times the ‘rub’ test was carried out before the fabric wore through or broke down. For example if the fabric rating said 20,000 (general domestic score), this would mean it took 20,000 rubs before the fabric wore or perished. Therefore, the higher the Martindale score the more suitable the fabric for heavy usage.
These are all guides to help you choose a suitable fabric which may echo your own taste or which you may be upholstering to on-sell or use in a decorative manner.

You might be interested in reading: How to reuse and recycle renovation materials.

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This expert advice by Graham Watts from Piermark Upholstery featured on page 34 of Issue 009 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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