21 June 2012

In recovery ...

What with most of our time spent restoring and reviving mid-century furniture, we are on good terms with our local upholsterer, and have a fair understanding of what goes into the re-upholstery of a piece.
It was interesting to see an article on the topic on apartmenttherapy this week - well worth a read.
Visitors to our store sometimes ask about 'just getting that chair in a different colour' or 'fixing up the cushions' on a piece, and are taken aback by the cost estimates we offer.
With that in mind, It's worth bearing in mind two factors -
  • the COSTS involved - labour (time involved in stripping, fixing, re-webbing, cutting materials, sewing ... then upholstering) is pretty major, then you need to factor in the cost of your fabric, springs and/or elastics, and the (surprisingly high) cost of foam/filling for the job.  A decent and long-lasting foam is pretty much as expensive as good fabric.
  • second thing to think about is ... what's it worth to you?
If you have found a vintage armchair on the side of the road, then spending $300 on re-upholstery is high compared to the price you paid for the piece ... but you're getting a new chair!  If your grandparents' have bequeathed you their vintage Fler sofa but it's saggy and uncomfortable you can either pay to have it revived ... or bin it and go to Ikea - the cost will be similar, it's just a question of what you want to end up with.
Heck, if you need to save on labour costs, buy a book or get onto the net for some DIY advice ...

Our upholsterer loves to tell of potential clients who get a quote from him, then haggle doggedly to get the job done as cheaply as possible.  You just have to wonder - do you really want the cheapest job you can get on the couch you plan to relax on every night for the next 5 or 10 years?  We have seen some budget upholstery jobs (even in vintage stores) ... it shows.

If your budget doesn't stretch to getting it done well, throw a blanket over it and pad it up with a few cushions while you save-up for the big reno!

If you want a high-quality vintage piece of furniture for the same price as a lower-grade brand-new item, then be prepared to have work done on it ... the end result will be lovely to live with and more durable, have a personality and life you have given it, and be far better for your soul.