What Does Furniture Upholstery Cost?

Estimating If It Is Worth Your While to Reupholster Furniture

An upholsterer working recovering a chair
Getty Images/Nicola Tree

Think it’s time for new furniture? Think again. Instead of buying new furniture every time one of your existing pieces looks tired and dated, you can get it reupholstered. If you start off buying quality, well-made pieces with a solid structure you can save tons of money over time by reupholstering them when the fabric gets old or dated-looking.

Weight the Pros and Cons

So how much does it cost to reupholster a piece of furniture? In truth, it depends. Choice in fabric and size of the piece are your biggest considerations. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each individual piece. In some cases, it might be worth it to start fresh with a new piece of furniture.

Buying new furniture has hidden costs, too, that you might feel roped into like furniture protection plans, fabric protection plans, and delivery costs that might make buying a new piece of furniture cost prohibitive.

Reupholstering Costs for Sofa and Loveseats

The sofa is most often the most expensive piece of furniture in the house. It takes up a lot of room and it often takes a lot of abuse. A really good quality sofa should last about 25 years, but over that period of time, the fabric can get worn and dated. Reupholstering is often a really good option.

To reupholster a classic three-seat sofa you can expect to pay approximately $600 in labor plus the fabric costs. The cost of fabric can vary wildly so there's no way to give you a better estimate. Most three-seaters will require about 18 yards of fabric so keep that in mind when choosing. Remember also that a fabric with a large-scale pattern might require a bit more work.

The same applies to loveseats. Keep in mind the cost will be a bit lower. Labor should be approximately $500 and you'll need roughly 14 yards of fabric. Again, be sure to get a proper estimate of fabric amount needed from the reupholsterer before buying the fabric. Remember that it's always better to have too much fabric instead of too little. If you have some leftover you can always have pillows made.

Details About the Fabric

There are two ways to get fabric. Some upholsterers will want you to buy it from them. The other option is to find your own, which is known as the customer’s own material or COM, for short.

If you go through the upholsterer, this can sometimes be a bit more expensive but you don't have to worry about finding the proper amount of fabric or worry about the upholsterer being able to work with the fabric. The furniture upholstery company will take care of it for you.

If you choose to get your own fabric, you'll need to get an estimate from the upholsterer to make sure you buy the right amount. This can be less expensive but it requires a little more work on your part. Also, you have to make sure that the fabric you buy is durable enough to use for furniture upholstery, that is, you do not want anything too thin.

Upholstering Chairs

Large armchairs such as wingback chairs or bergeres will cost a similar amount to a loveseat. This is because there is just as much work that goes into them. You'll be looking at approximately $400 for one chair. Usually, seven yards of fabric is a good amount, but again, chairs vary in size so be sure to get an estimate from the upholsterer first.

Wood chairs (such as dining room chairs) can cost anywhere from $100 to $250 to have the seats redone. It depends on whether or not you want to have trim or other details. If the chairs have pop-out seat cushions, then it's significantly cheaper and it's really easy to do it yourself. If you're doing the seats and the backs, you will need anywhere from one to three yards of fabric.

Slipcovers

Sometimes you might find that having a slipcover made for your particular piece of furniture is preferable to reupholstering. Slipcovers can be great because they can be taken off and washed, but they are not usually any cheaper if you have them custom-made. The labor costs will be roughly the same as if you reupholstered the sofas, loveseats, and chairs and will take about the same amount of fabric. Of course, if you get pre-made slipcovers, then your costs will be significantly less. For a ballpark figure, it costs about $100 to $200 for a 3-person sofa cover, just know that the fit will not be customized.

Ottomans

If you have an ottoman that needs reupholstering, whether it is a large one that you're using instead of a coffee table or a small one that is being used as a footstool, it can be costly. Prices can vary greatly due to the extra work that often goes into making them. Ottomans are often tufted and have details like nailhead trim and these things can take a lot of work. Prices can go as high as $1,000. That said, they can also go as low as $500. The amount of fabric will depend mainly on the size of the piece.