Reupholstery? Sanity check, please.

northcarolinaJune 9, 2011

Quick question. I've got a sofa made by CR Laine (8-way hand-tied and all that, if I am remembering correctly), bought in the mid-90's. It fits me, it fits my house, I like the overall style, but it smells musty and the fabric is worn out. So I've looked at a few new sofas, and the salespeople are all telling me that replacement would be a great idea because of the cost of reupholstery. I've also talked to a couple of upholsterers and fabric people, and they think my sofa is worth keeping. Just what you'd expect from both sides, right? So here's the thing. The upholstery quotes are more than I paid for the sofa, by the time you figure in fabric (also I got a great deal on the sofa as a floor sample at a furniture outlet all those years ago). It might be possible to find another sofa of similar quality for not much more than the cost of reupholstery, if I drive to the furniture outlets -- I am in NC, remember (I probably would look for another CR Laine since the size and construction suit me). BUT I am kind of getting excited at the idea of picking out my own fabric and not having to hunt for a new sofa which may or may not turn out to be as comfortable as this one has been. BUT also we have little kids, so maybe I shouldn't expect to get another 16 years out of whatever I do.

So the question is: am I crazy for thinking of spending north of $1000 for reupholstering a sofa that might need re-reupholstering in a few years, if the kids trash it? Or should I take my mom on a fun day trip to the furniture outlets (DH would be very happy not to go) and browse around, assuming we can find time? I have fabric samples lying across the sofa right now and I can just imagine how good it would look with all shiny new and NOT PLAID fabric on it... (not shiny either, but you know what I mean). If I were buying new I might get a more contemporary style of sofa, but then again these fabrics I'm looking at sure would give this old camelback a different look.

Thanks for listening. :)

p.s. If I replace it, it won't go to a landfill if one of the local charities will accept it in all its mustiness.

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Hi, first of all, you cannot get a good answer from anyone who has an ulterior motive. It is like asking the fox if you should leave the hen house door open at night, or should you close it?

Secondly, from the complaints I read about furniture construction and the fact that everything is now made in China, you might very well be better off reupholstering the one you have. You need to really find out if the framework of the one you have is solid, American made construction. It sounds like it is. Look at it this way: If the framework has taken the abuse that is generally meted out by kids, and is still solid, that is saying something. If it was made in China it probably have fallen apart. The other thing to consider is that if you reupholster, you will know what is going into the rebuild, and you will be putting Americans to work. You should really get into the reupholster issue and find out the differences in the guts of the sofa. I am talking about the springs, the foam, etc etc Im sure that there are chinese made springs, and American Made Springs. Pay the extra for the American made steel, as I can guarantee there is a difference. It has been my experience that American reupolsterers are usually artists, and care a lot about their work. I can also guarantee that Fung Yu Wong could give a s**t less about your couch. Also, if the guy down the street does the work, and something goes wrong, you go down there and tell him about it. He will make it right. If somthing goes wrong with the Fung Yu Wong couch, good luck. The last point I will make is that the cost of new American made furniture is high, and for good reason. To replace your couch with one of comparable value would be closer to 2K than 1K in this market. I am sitting in a Lane recliner that is a mere 6 months old and it has fallen apart. It cost about $450.00. Apparently you have to pay $1500 plus to get even a halfway decent recliner nowadays. This is what we Americans have done to ourselves, or more accurately, what the yuppie bean counters have done to us. With furniture, its all about what is inside that counts. Anything can look or feel good for 6 months, but its the chair that looks and feels good after 8-10 years that gets my vote.

Sitting here yawing to the right I am again reminded of the fact that if you are poor, you cant afford to buy anything cheap.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:00AM
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If you do recover, be very choosey about what goes in the cushions. I recovered and the cushions got saggy in about one year (compared to other "cheap" furniture that is still good.)
When I tried to get new cushions done - bigger so they would last longer - they messed up the match of the fabric. And I have no more. :)
There are risks on both sides. And benefits (perfect fabric!) But I do not believe that less expensive always means bad.
Bottom line - I'd do the shopping trip. If you find the perfect thing you are done. If not, you can still recover.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 10:24AM
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