Reviving Relics

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Reupholstering furniture breathes new life into beloved pieces, combining sustainability personalization, and cost effectiveness.

Story by Ann Butenas

Reupholstering furniture is both an art form and a practical solution that allows individuals to transform worn-out or outdated pieces into stunning and unique focal points within their spaces. Beyond aesthetics, this craft offers numerous benefits, from preserving sentimental value and reducing waste to exercising creativity and achieving cost-effectiveness. Whether it’s reviving a cherished heirloom or giving a modern twist to a thrift store find, reupholstering furniture presents an opportunity to breathe new life into beloved pieces while reflecting personal style and contributing to a sustainable lifestyle.

We spoke with the experts at Victor’s Home & Upholstery in Mission, Kansas, for an inside look at reupholstering and what is involved with this detailed and creative process. By combining craftsmanship, creativity, and attention to detail, most any piece of furniture can be transformed into a stunning and revitalized piece.

KCH&S:  Why should I reupholster a piece of furniture? Wouldn’t it just be easier to purchase something new?

VICTOR’S:  With reupholstery, you get a totally unique piece that you have designed and no one else will have. The problem with a lot of new furniture is the sub-par quality, whether it is internal materials that are unseen to the buyer or in the quality of workmanship. Our design showroom is full of furniture that we have already reupholstered so you can come see the quality on display. As well, the wide array of fabrics to choose from gives far better options when designing one’s home.

KCH&S:  What are the benefits of reupholstering a piece of furniture? In other words, is it worth doing to a piece of furniture?

VICTOR’S:  The primary benefit is the environmental impact of reducing the amount of cheaply made furniture being manufactured as well as reducing the amount of furniture going into landfills. Plus, when you choose to reupholster, you can support a local business that focuses on attention to detail and high-quality work.

KCH&S:  What is involved in reupholstering a piece of furniture? Is it more than just the fabric?

VICTOR’S:  When doing quality upholstering, typically the piece is stripped down to the frame and then is examined for quality of the structure, the frame, and the springs. Next, it is reinforced with hard wood if necessary to extend the lifetime of the piece. Further, all staples are removed from the previous upholstery to ensure the fabric will be tight and smooth. Finally, the foam is replaced if needed. The quality is seen in the entire process, the design, the fabric, the inner materials, the details of lines, and what makes the design of the piece look good in the style and type of fabric.

KCH&S:  Can reupholstering be a way to custom create a piece of furniture?

VICTOR’S:  To have something custom is to have something special and unique. You can design something that fits your own style and your home. A designer can take your idea and create together with you a brand-new look to your furniture you have lived with for years.  

KCH&S:  Will reupholstering an old piece of furniture save money?

VICTOR’S:  Yes. For the long run, a quality frame can be reupholstered and enjoyed for many generations. Also, if you compare your piece with a high-end piece of furniture, it can save money due to the quality of workmanship that goes into the reupholstered piece. Plus, if you already have the piece of furniture and love it, especially if it’s a family heirloom, there is great value in that.

KCH&S:  How long does an upholstery project typically take to do?

VICTOR’S:  It varies from upholster to upholster. Depending on how big the project is and when the material is available. While lead times vary for different reupholstering companies, our lead times range from six to eight weeks. For smaller projects, expect about three to four weeks for completion.

KCH&S:  How long can a reupholstered piece of furniture last?

VICTOR’S:  The foam typically lasts for 15 years or more. The fabric will depend on the durability. Some customers indicate theirs last from 20-30 years. We expect a minimum of 15 years up to 25 years.

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