jumpA time comes in the life of many a furniture owner when they start considering sofa reupholstery. Sofas see a lot of use, and eventually it will show. There are also changes of lifestyle, changes of house, changes of mind – and even if your sofa still looks the way it did when it was first delivered, you may now wish it looked different.

If you investigate couch reupholstery online, you’ll get a ton of search results. Videos, company websites, how-to articles, advice articles — it’s confusing. A good idea is to stop and take a deep breath, get and a pen and paper, and get analytical about the problem.

Do you want to reupholster furniture because you place a high value on it, and intend to keep it indefinitely? Are you hoping to save money by reupholstering instead of buying new? How do you feel about discarding your sofa if it’s still in solid condition — do the environmental issues concern you? Is it possible to analyze exactly what bothers you about its appearance – the condition of the covering, the color, the material itself, or issues like sagging?

Some sources caution that a complete reupholstery will cost as much as replacement. Some also say that any newer sofa that isn’t a deluxe item is probably poorly made, so – from a dollar point of view – it won’t be worth reupholstering. Generally, good construction means spring supports and a solid wood frame. But there are so many variables here: the original cost and what a replacement would cost, its intrinsic value to you, the amount of work you’d want done, and what upholstery shops in your area quote.

If your sofa has sentimental value, if it’s antique or irreplaceable in some way, if you don’t like junking something with years of use left, if it’s comfortable-but-shabby, if you like it but the covering can’t stand up to kids or pets, or doesn’t fit your new living room – if, in short, you want to keep the sofa, reupholstery and furniture repair may be the option for you.

Will it be expensive? That depends on what you want done. Here we can distinguish a full reupholstering from a recovering. For a craftsperson to fully reupholster a couch, all the existing covering and padding is removed, springs and/or webbing are repaired or replaced, and repairs or improvements to the frame (like refinishing exposed wood) are made. Then new padding and covering are applied. This can certainly run into money. However, unless there is structural damage, such frame repair is unnecessary, and there may be no need to replace padding.

In that case, recovering is the answer. You may want to change from fabric to leather, or vice versa. You may want to replace worn material with new that matches the old. Or to stay with the material type you have, but choose a completely different color or pattern. All these can be done expertly and efficiently by an experienced upholsterer, and be cost-effective.