General Question

syz's avatar

Sould I recycle or buy a new one?

Asked by syz (36002points) January 22nd, 2009

I have a wing back chair that flew off of a truck at 50 mph during a move and I’ve kept the darn thing out of admiration because it came through structurally intact (the upholstery is stained and dirty and the stuffing on the arms is scuffed). I’ve never had anything reupholstered before. Is it expensive? Is the end result as good as new? Should I try it or just buy a new one?

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11 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

It can be pretty expensive to get something reupholstered. The end result is easily as good as the new. My parents have a couch that was reupholstered at least once in my childhood and was recently done again—we all love it and have literally worn through the fabric several times. To find another couch we love so much would be incredibly difficult and worth it, to us, to reupholster. If you have good furniture, it probably costs less to reupholster than it does to replace it. If you’ve got Ikea, just buy new.

When you talk to people who might reupholster it, ask if they charge extra (and how much) if you don’t use one of their fabrics. It might be cheaper to buy the fabric for a project and just have them do the work.

Note: I know it is not Ikea because nothing they make would stand up to falling off a truck like that, I was just using it as a reference.

Kiev749's avatar

shop around. call places. take it to an upholstery shop and have them give you a rough estimate. then go from there.

Wow! Stuff like that just isn’t made anymore… 50 mph???

pekenoe's avatar

If the only reason you kept it was because it was tough, I’d recommend tossing it or donating to someone who is interested. I’d buy new, they may be able to completely restore the chair, but they may not also.

Grisson's avatar

If the frame is intact it’s probably worth keeping. Reupholstering can be done fairly cheaply if you shop around for fabric and do it yourself.
A staple gun is a good tool to have.
Carefully remove the old fabric to help make templates (patterns) for the new. Sewing experience a plus.
Don’t scrimp on the stuffing. Check out the various weights and thicknesses of foam. Try sitting on the foam to see if it will be enough, or too much.

dynamicduo's avatar

Recycle. Always recycle if you have the chance to, especially in today’s economy.

Depending on how complex the chair is, you might be able to reupholster it yourself. The end result of upholstering is very very positive, as good as new would be a great comparison, although it really does depend on the damage it has already (for instance, one might have to use a different form of stuffing, thus resulting in a different feeling chair [more or less squishy]).

If you’re worried about the cost, take pictures of the chair’s damage (might not even be necessary, but always a good idea) and get a few quotes.

But I would definitely hold on to that chair. Surviving a 50mph landing is something I’ve never seen any furniature do successfully.

gailcalled's avatar

If the chair is structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing, made of solid wood and comfortable, see whether there are people who still make slip-covers.

bristolbaby's avatar

reupholstering can cost as much as purchasing new – and you have to look for a competent upholsterer

people are always willing to take money but may not be able to handle the job

I’d try it myself first and if that didn’t work, get a new piece. Or, make slipcovers as suggested above.

basp's avatar

We had a couch we were considering getting reupolstered since it was so well built and comfortable. To have it done would have cost three times what a new couch cost. We got a new couch and our son has the old one.

Snoopy's avatar

We had a couch that needed new fabric but was structurally sound, etc.

Upholstering was cost prohibitive.

I tried the slip cover routine and it looked, like, well, slip covers. You could definitely tell….

We ended up donating the couch to Goodwill….and purchased a new one….

Sorceren's avatar

@dynamicduo, I have to agree: if it’s that tough, it’s a keeper. Not just structurally sound, but made to last forever.

My dad’s an upholsterer, and I have an old couch he gave me (reupholstered twice then) that has lasted through two more reupholsterings and umpty-bazillion leaping kids and flopping adolescents. I would probably have to buy antique to get another couch that good. Quality tells!

greylady's avatar

The good thing about reupholstering is that you can choose the fabric from many different books at most upholstery shops. The place I had my couch and loveseat done had over a hundred books to look through. The fabric on most couches is fair to poor, and doesn’t last nearly as well as what you can choose for the second covering. Yes, it is a little more costly than buying new furniture, but if you pick good fabric, it will last more than twice as long as the first covering.
Take a picture of the chair with you, and the upholsterer can easily give you an estimate from the fabric you choose and the picture.

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