BBB Tip: How to Choose an Upholstery Company


Upholstery can completely change the look and feel of your living space. Reupholstering family heirlooms or flea market gems can preserve and breathe new life into beloved pieces. That said, quality upholstery services can be pricey and should be considered a long-term investment. How can you choose a company that will do quality upholstery work? BBB recommends the following tips.

  • Find out if your piece is worth reupholstering. Many upholstery professionals agree that most furniture manufactured today isn’t worth reupholstering. Reupholstering an item usually costs as much as buying a new piece, which means the best items to reupholster are those that have sentimental value, are heirlooms, or are so unique you won’t be able to replace it. How can you tell if you have a quality piece of furniture worth replacing? Pieces that are in good shape and are 15 years old or older, and furniture made with real wood and coil springs are usually the kind of pieces worth restoring.
  • Ask for referrals from friends and family. The best way to find a good upholstery company is to ask around. If a friend, family member, neighbor, or workmate had a great experience with an upholstery company, it’s a good place to start your search. Compile a list of recommendations and then visit the upholsterer’s workshop and check out examples of their work. When upholsterers work on a variety of pieces, even antique frames, you can bet they’ve been trusted with them for a good reason.
  • Get an estimate for pricing and turnaround time. Professional upholsterers should be able to give you a concrete estimate after seeing a piece of furniture in person. Some may even offer you an estimate based on pictures but be aware this kind of estimate is less exact. Let the upholsterer know if you have a budget to stick to up front. Inquire about timing too, most pieces require at least a full week to complete. If restoration or refinishing is needed, the time frame could be longer.
  • Get design help from the upholsterer. Most upholsterers are happy to get involved in the creative process. You can show up with a preselected fabric, but keep in mind that a professional upholsterer may have some extra insight into what kind of fabric will best fit your furniture and living space. Instead of going in with everything decided, keep an open mind. Share some pictures of what you hope to achieve with your space and describe how your family uses the piece. With this information, an upholsterer will likely be able to give you some expert suggestions.
  • Choose the right fabric. If your furniture is mostly for show rather than use, lighter more delicate fabrics could be a good choice. However, if you’re refurbishing your spouse’s favorite armchair where they lounge with the kids and the dogs and have snacks, you’ll want a more robust fabric. Darker shades and patterns of fabrics that are durable and functional are a better choice for furniture that will get a lot of use. Heavy-weight fabrics that can withstand wear and tear will allow you to get the most out of your reupholstery job.
  • Be aware that additional costs can come up. Always ask about additional costs up front. Some costs, such as pickup and delivery, replacing cushions, and adding a skirt are foreseeable. The need for other services, such as treating for woodworms and fixing joints may not become apparent until the upholsterer has stripped the piece down to the frame and identified specific problems. Keep this in mind as you set your budget.

For More Information

Learn more about buying furniture online in this BBB tip.

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Information courtesy of the Better Business Bureau