Reupholstering vs. Buying New – Emily A. Clark

It’s always a subject that seems up for debate. Is it better to reupholster your furniture or buy new? 

I shared this vintage chair and ottoman set that I found at a consignment store for $300 last year. Although the pattern wasn’t exactly what I would’ve chosen, they were bright and cheery and worked with my green kitchen walls. However, we really use our furniture and I quickly realized the fabric wasn’t upholstery weight (it started ripping in multiple spots) and definitely wasn’t meant for our family.

thrifted_lately_vintage_chairsAround that time, Ewa from Modern Fabrics reached out to me about working together so I visited their store (located in Huntersville, NC) to find something that might work. (You can see a quick video of my visit and store tour here.) They helped me find a better, more durable solution in a luxe, greenish-gray velvet.

Two reasons I chose this fabric: the dark color will hide spills (yes, we eat here often) and I’ve always liked the look of velvet on a chair with upholstered legs. Bonus: the color ties in perfectly with the mats on the thrifted art I recently hung in our entry. A small, but happy, detail.

reupholstering_or_buying_newSo, back to the original question: To reupholster or buy new? Truthfully, I was never really thinking about buying new for this spot because as aforementioned, we use and abuse all of our seating. I had been looking on Facebook Marketplace for months, but it was really hard to find something that fit both the style and size for this spot. (I had to keep the width around 28-30 inches.)

In full disclosure, I agreed to post about Modern Fabrics in exchange for the cost of upholstery but I’m happy to share my true experience. They outsourced the work to Gilbert Upholstery in Charlotte (no website), and the cost for labor for the three pieces was $980. The work was perfect and I would highly recommend.

reupholstered chairsI’ve also started to really think lately about the other “cost” of throwing out furniture when we tire of it. Honestly, even if you plan to sell something later on Marketplace or Craigslist, it’s a process. I’m trying to be more mindful of what I buy and how I could use it in other ways/rooms for longevity.

Have you had something reupholstered lately? What are the costs like in your area? And, do you think it’s worth it?

PS–The selection at Modern Fabrics is amazing–and organized. They’re located near Birkdale Village north of Charlotte but you can also shop online. Use code: EMILY to receive 20% off your entire online order through 2026.

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