Branded furniture – is it worth paying extra for?

The simple answer is: yes. Clichés are clichés for a reason, because they’re true. Buy cheap, buy twice – or more. And furniture is no exception.

We use it, hard, day after day – to live, to eat, to sleep – and yet we often take it for granted.

Tactile objects that we touch every day should give us practical comfort and aesthetic joy. And they should last. We may live in a throwaway culture but one thing is certain: a well-made piece of upholstered furniture is a sound investment that will give – and last. Cheap, flat-pack plywood will not.

The beauty of quality furniture is that, aside from the look and feel, it is literally timeless. An elegant, old piece can – if reupholstered with care – be passed down from generation to generation.

Mick: One of our Master Upholsters at work

Mick: One of our Master Upholsters at work

What should you look for?

When you’re investing in a piece of furniture – new, second-hand or antique – you should look for a good, solid frame, decent joinery and quality textiles. Watch out for obvious amendments and alterations or poor quality fixings and cheap wood.

Chipboard or veneer – a thin decorative covering of fine wood or plastic applied to other material cannot be restored. An antique or second-hand chair or sofa that you want to reupholster has to be made of solid wood.  

If you have scoured the antiques markets and found, for example, six beautiful oak dining chairs, the good news is that no matter how marked or how ripped the seats are, they can be lovingly restored by one of Plumbs’ experts.

Mick has been hand-restoring furniture for 37 years. For him, it’s a passion and an art form. As he says: “It’s not a job, it’s a hobby. When I go home, I think: ‘Job well done today’.

“It’s a throwaway society these days and you do get some pieces of furniture in a poor state but they’re worth restoring – they’re heirlooms. We’ve all got a piece of furniture at home that’s been handed down. Just because it’s in a bad state, it doesn’t mean we have to throw it away. It can look amazing again. If it’s got a good frame, it’s worth doing.”


A great example of how you can transform a tired old chair and make it beautiful again

Does it help to do research?

Yes, think about where your new furniture is going to go, how it’s going to be used and with what (and whom) it’s going to share a space – other furniture, decor, lighting, wall colour, curtains, soft furnishings and users. A sofa reupholstered in pale cream might not be for you if you have a black dog; and a beautifully-restored armchair with brass casters might not be a good idea in a conservatory with hardwood floors.

When to reupholster?

Reupholstery can save a treasured old piece of furniture – but not only that, it’s convenient and environmentally-friendly too. A spot of loving restoration can instantly transform shabby into chic. If the frame is of a good quality wood but the covers or fabric are tatty, Plumbs can give it a new lease of life by restoring the furniture on the inside and fitting a sumptuous new upholstery weight fabric. 

Reupholster or new cover?

The Home experts at Plumbs can advise you on the best solution for your furniture and your home. Generally, quality furniture merits reupholstery if it’s tired or worn. However, for more modern pieces, a new loose cover can breathe in new life and reinvent a tired chair or sofa. Plumbs can rebuild from scratch or simply offer a subtle retune.

Don’t forget: no piece of furniture, large or small, is ever beyond salvage.

Would you like to know more about Reupholstery? The Plumbs website will be able to guide you through the options and you can also arrange a FREE no obligation quotation.



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