Why is reupholstering so expensive?

Why is reupholstering so expensive?

I am sure many of you have asked this question. It’s just a couch isn’t it? It’s just fabric isn’t it?
Surely, it can’t cost that much can it? Yes it can, and here’s why.

Here are a few reasons why it is still better value to reupholster your couch than to buy a new one.

  • Probably the most obvious reason: recycling. It is better for the environment to reupholster than to buy new. A new slipcover will do wonders for your furniture and save on the landfill and air pollution.

  • New furniture is not always the best quality, and might crack or break after not even a year, or the fabric / “leather” could split and peel.

  • The fabric or leather ranges available to use is much broader than what is available in the store trying to sell you an new couch. And very often we settle for what is available instead of getting exactly what we wanted. Why? Because mass-producer factories arrange for massive bargains from fabric suppliers in order to maximise profits. So you have to choose what they offer you.

  • Many mass-produced items are too big and bulky for our spaces. Whereas by reupholstering your existing sofa, you are guaranteed that it will fit in your space.

  • It is good for the local economy to support local businesses, and keeps people employed instead of on the streets. So in effect, reupholstering your lounge suite aids in job creation.

Many clients reupholster their sofas or chairs due to sentimental value. And then, there are some that do it due them immigrating. Because believe it or not, it is still less expensive to have your furniture reupholstered here in SA than in the UK, USA or Australia.

What makes the process of reupholstery so expensive and time consuming.

  • Taking off the old covers, sometimes consisting of 2 or 3 layers of fabric can take a day or two.

  • Measuring the new fabric and deciding on pattern repeat and placement can take a few hours.

  • Cutting the new fabric to size and making sure that there is minimal wastage also takes some time and great skill.

  • Sewing the panels together, adding piping detail or top-stitching detail is time consuming as seams need to be kept straight etc.

  • Sometimes there are repairs that need to be made or springs / webbing that need to be replaced which usually takes place during the same time that the fabric is being cut.

  • If new foam needs to be added to the seats, backs or arms, that needs to be measured, cut and glued in place.

  • One of these three processes usually waits for the other two to finish.

  • Upholstery takes place last and needs to be done meticulously in order for the final product to look like new. Many times it takes more than one turn of tacking and assessing by the upholsterer before the first staples are permanently punched.

  • Upon completion of the re-upholstering, the couch or chair is cleaned. And if the client has requested fabric or leather protection (‘scotch-guarding’) that is done afterwards, meaning that the sofa will stand another day to cure properly.

  • It takes a team of 4 to 6 people to re-upholster a couch.

So, the next time you think of spring cleaning your house and dumping the old couch, get a quote for re-upholstery first, and then remember this process of events that takes place in order for it to come to back to you as new!

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Upholstery Service Areas in Cape Town: Bree Street CBD, Loop Street CBD, Long Street CBD, Kloof Street CBD