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Is it worth recovering sofas?

(140 Posts)
agapanthus Sat 25-Feb-12 16:55:30

Hi! I'm new to this so here goes.
We desparately need new loose covers on our two sofas , which are about 10 years old , but one of them has a 'saggy' seat (because its in a fav position), and the feather cushions on the back are droopy. They were Collins and Hayes . I was going to get a quote for new covers ,but apart from the environmental issue I wonder if it will be worth it financially. Any views or similar expeiences please?

artygran Sat 25-Feb-12 19:03:17

If your sofas have well made frames, which I suspect they do, I would get a good upholsterer in and ask for his advice. If he is worth his salt, he will be able to offer you plenty of choice of fabrics and fillings and some of them will even carry out remodelling if you want it. Most of the furniture you buy these days has been made in China and have frames that look as if they have been put together in a 1st year woodwork class. We inherited a suite that came originally from Harrods. It had a hand-built frame and we had it reupholstered, with new feather fillings in the back cushions and new filling in the seat cushions, and it was worth every penny. I wish we still had it. We only parted with it because it was too big for the house we moved to, and we bought G Plan sofas to replace it, which were good, but nowhere near the same quality. If you decide to buy new, get the best frame and springing you can find. If they can't tell you anything about either, walk out of the shop!

absentgrana Sun 26-Feb-12 09:56:48

artygran has hit the nail on the head. A lot of modern furniture is very poor quality and simply not worth trying to revive or, indeed, buying in the first place. However, your sofas sound as if rejuvenation would be a sound investment. I would do the same with mine, which are well made, but five cats can demolish new covers in 5 minutes.

kittylester Sun 26-Feb-12 10:55:58

We spent a fortune on a three piece suite in 1976 (about £400 shock) having spent quite a bit of money buying daft sofas etc.

In about 1986, we had one of the chairs 'extended' and made into a three seater sofa to go with the 4 seater and had them both reupholstered and recovered. We had the two sofa recovered in 1991 and will have them redone again before too long.

We took the remaining, original, chair (still covered in green William Morris) to the dump yesterday as we really have nowhere for it to go now and the quote to reupholster it was £500. I felt quite tearful.

The reason we have continued to have it redone is simply because we know it is well made and is really comfortable.

On the cat issue (!!) - Lakeland do some really good protectors for sofa corners (our cats' favourite place for scratching despite various, very expensive, scratching posts!) and tey seem to be working. We bought a spray once and treated a new sofa for the upstairs sitting room which lost all it's colour in all the places we sprayed.

harrigran Sun 26-Feb-12 11:58:48

If you have a good sofa that was British made, stick with it and reupholster. So many pieces of furniture are poorly made now, I have thrown out M&S furniture as it was so poorly made. My latest suite is Alstons and on examination appears well made but time will tell. I don't have cats but GC can wreak havoc too.

agapanthus Sun 26-Feb-12 17:46:25

Thanks for your advice everyone.

fieldwake Fri 04-May-12 13:29:45

My son is an upholster of 27 years. If your furniture is good quality and you like it, it is worth reupholstering and all the little extra jobs that go with it in a fabric and materials of your choice. (Any cheap furniture isn't) but it costs only a bit more to have one made from scratch. He makes the frames from beech etc to your size ie: if you are tall/short or one of you is tall the other short etc and all the other made to measure features, high/low back etc. etc. He is stacked out with work as his sort are a dying breed with no apprencticeships now..........

Stansgran Fri 04-May-12 14:04:10

fieldwake Please just give a hint what area he is in?

whenim64 Fri 04-May-12 14:17:26

I have just bought new memory foam for the seat of a favourite armchair that I only bought from Laura Ashley 5 years ago. It was made to order and has beautiful fabric, but I'm not impressed with it at all. Springs have broken under the seat and the cushioning has gone flat, despite frequent plumping as advised. I'll give it another year and buy another chair, but not from Laura Ashley.

pompa Fri 04-May-12 21:01:11

Whilst it can cost as much to re-cover a chair or sofa as a new one, if it is a good quality frame and you find it comfortable, I would have it recovered. We had a pair of Parker Knowle recliners that we had re-covered 3 times, until the mechanisms eventually failed. We then bought a couple of second hand ones and had them re-covered twice. We have never found a chair as comfortable, we now have a pair of Stressless recliners, cost a fortune, but still not as cosy as our old chairs.

Bags Sat 05-May-12 06:00:02

fieldwake, why doesn't your son train an apprentice?

slipcovers Thu 24-May-12 04:00:08

Message deleted by Gransnet.

fieldwake Thu 24-May-12 08:27:50

Stansgran. He is in Somerset. But has done a beach house suite in deck chair material shipped to California. He has driven Wales, Lincolnshire etc. if the customer is happy to pay for the time and fuel. Most is within 50 miles as he is the only one who can actually do the work. In 15 years of advertising no other experienced upholster has turned up. There is not the apprenticeships now and he certainly has not time or money to train people.

fieldwake Thu 24-May-12 08:30:51

bags He doesn't have a minute to spare. He works flat our round the clock weekends, eves etc. just to make a living. The government needs to have apprenticeships again. He is 43 and been doing it since 16 and all the upholsterers in the area are older.

specki4eyes Fri 25-May-12 05:28:29

If the sofas are top quality with beech frames, glued,screwed and dowelled plus good quality fillings and padding, yes get them recovered. a good upholsterer will strip them down, make any necessary repairs and re-cover. Don't buy cheap sofas EVER. They are cheap soft wood, stapled together and will survive 5 years tops. "Buy cheap, buy twice".

Multiyork are good and lovely designs.

fieldwake Fri 25-May-12 22:28:00

Update. My son has advertised for years for an upholsterer and got no replies. Yesterday he put an ad in for Trainee upholsterer. Well the 'phone hasn't stopped, taking one call, 21 built up on ansaphone. I called in, a queue of people for interviews. One interview, 21 missed calls. In the end he put a message on the ansaphone as he was swamped with calls, let alone get a minutes work done. Most didn't have a clue about upholstery, many were young needing to fulfil job seekers criteria, there were book-keepers, engineers you name it. It has really made him think. he is quite happy working along on his own. The business could obviously expand massively with skilled workers, it is crying out for that... but he wears 10 hats covering all the areas. It seems he will probably continue to do that and be one of a dying breed. How can he pay someone and teach them and cover his overheads? impossible. He only just makes a living now.

nanaej Fri 25-May-12 22:39:54

fieldwake as far as I know there are still apprenticships available but sounds like your son needs an apprentice and another experienced person.

Local charity near hear teaches upholstery to former mental health patients. Have had a few things done ..straightforward stuff.. but good quality work.

fieldwake Fri 25-May-12 23:31:39

Loads in colleges here but they are hobby ones. He had people come in who thought they would spend all day artistically covering a chaise longue or something. He thought perhaps they had been watching these antique programmes on tv. Well there were no apprenticeships in his youth but there were upholstery firms who took him on with day release to college. It was these excellent companies 5 or 6 where he learnt the trade. Perhaps the men in these companies had apprenticeships. He re-covered this week a suite he had made 30 years ago, in one of these, for the 3rd time. They were all such good quality. Well we certainly haven't heard of any apprenticeships here in the west over last 30 years. Well just anyone who had a clue would be something. Certainly never found apprentice or experienced person in 20 years of looking. All the companies he worked for closed down for lack of those and the owners and workers were too old to carry on. He is the youngest in the network here. All the upholsterers know each other in 50 mile plus radius. We were all born and bred here and not likely to move to wherever you are.

That is good teaching upholstery in your area. There are loads of re-upholsters in this area but none that we know of who make furniture or teach furniture making.

Joan Sat 26-May-12 10:16:07

When we moved her to Australia in 1979 we were starting from scratch with not much money. We bought a second hand wooden framed three piece suite with separate cushions for the seat and the back. The arms and legs were plain wood. The covers were rubbish hence it was cheap. I bought a set of chintz curtains from an op shop, and recovered the suite with that curtain material. It cost me a dollar and lasted years, as our two lads grew up.

Now a later three piece suite needs re-upholstering and my husband expects me to do it. BUT, I just can't face doing it this time round. This suite has shaped cushions, not plain rectangular ones like last time. Anyway, the worn look suits me!

fieldwake Sat 26-May-12 12:33:10

Me too. But you can't believe some have them covered every 10 years and to me they look no different afterwards, some chose the same FABRIC! Worn look suits me it blends in with everything else. You get one thing spanking new and everything else suddenly looks shabby. I don't know your age but it is getting to the point where I am not wanting a 20 year guarantee on anything and a cheap fridge will probably see me out. As my ex husband just said I don't bother with mats now (to save the carpet). I really do want to get my moneysworth out of everything. Wear best clothes, use best china well not just yet. smile

Joan Sat 26-May-12 12:52:05

I'm 67 but intend to live to 100+ so I guess I could get new stuff if I wanted. But I don't want anything that I don't actually need. I'm an advertiser's nightmare as I can't be tempted for things.

As for recovering a suite in the same fabric - boring boring boring.

Anyway, my three seater lounge is really comfy when I need a lie down.

jeni Sat 26-May-12 13:15:06

I'm 67 too. It's a nice age , innit?

Annobel Sat 26-May-12 13:37:55

Ahhh, jeni, it was.... wink

jeni Sat 26-May-12 13:42:23

And I'm sure 71 will be as well!

Annobel Sat 26-May-12 13:43:48

jeni grin