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What is Upholstery?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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Upholstery refers to the materials used to stuff and cover seats, couches, chairs, and most furniture that requires such, with the exception of bed mattresses. Upholstery can include a variety of materials including leather and vinyl, foam and cotton padding.

An upholsterer will redo your upholstery when time has taken its toll on your favorite pieces of furniture. If you have a couch that has seen better days, don't throw it out just yet. You might be able to save some money by getting it recovered and restuffed. You can even change the type, pattern and color of the upholstery when you do this, so it will seem like you got a brand new couch.

Most upholsterers will bring you one or more books of sample upholstery from which you can choose. You don't have to stick with what you had before. Many times you can also pick the grade of foam to restuff it. Foam padding comes in degrees of density. Some people prefer firm padding, while others like something a little more cushioned.

Once you redo the couch, your recliners might look a little tired. Not to worry! New upholstery might also do them some good! You can even get them done to match the couch. Or if you prefer, pick out chair upholstery that nicely contrasts and accents the couch.

The great advantage with redoing upholstery rather than buying new is that you can pick colors, patterns and fabrics that go perfectly with your rug, window dressings and overall color scheme. How often have you eyed something in the showroom, only to get it home and find it clashes? With an upholstery sampler handy, you can walk around the house with the samples and place them next to the rug, drapes, and other furniture, ensuring a good match. If you already have well made furniture, replacing it with new furniture of the same quality will likely be more expensive than getting it reupholstered.

To get a quote from a local business, you will likely need to have a consultation, as the price will vary depending on the upholstery chosen, the padding and the amount of materials required. To find a local upholsterer, you can check the yellow pages.

If the upholstery in your car needs replacing, you can find an automotive upholsterer to help you, though this is usually fairly pricey, perhaps because the alternative of replacing the seats is quite expensive. This might explain why seat covers are popular! Many of these businesses will also replace sagging or torn headliners. Check the automotive section of your local yellow pages to find this type of upholsterer.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon228395 — On Nov 08, 2011

In a description of a couch, it said 6 1/2 - 7 stitches per inch. Is that a good stitch count for upholstered furniture or should there be more stitches per inch to keep fabric from separating?

By anon70786 — On Mar 16, 2010

Because you will reduce the garbage in landfill. It is "Green" to reupholster, and why would anyone throw out something that has a perfectly good wood structure, just because the fabric is torn. We are a third generation upholstery shop, that can be traced back to 1471 as wool farmers in Germany.

By anon42230 — On Aug 20, 2009

why we should use upholstery?

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