There are many good reasons to reupholster your own furniture. First, it can save you money as opposed to buying new furniture. Reupholstering vintage furniture is an excellent way to create your own custom, one-of-a-kind furniture. You may also want to refinish a piece that has great sentimental value. No matter what situation applies, learn to avoid the following do-it-yourself furniture reupholstery mistakes to increase your chances for a successful outcome.
Do Not: take on a complicated piece of furniture for your first project.
If you have never reupholstered a piece of furniture, don't try to take on a sofa as your first project. There is no shame in admitting you're a beginner; everyone has to start somewhere. An easy project for a "newbie" would be reupholstering a dining chair seat. This is where I started, with help from my parents when I first started out on my own. The seat can be easily removed by turning the chair upside down and removing a few screws. If the old upholstery is still in good shape, you can add the new fabric without having to remove the existing fabric. You can find helpful video tutorials on reupholstering dining room chairs on YouTube.
Do Not: start without carefully examining the furniture first.
The biggest and easiest mistake most people make when starting a DIY reupholstery project is not carefully evaluating whether the furniture is suitable for reupholstering or not. This is especially important when shopping for furniture at thrift stores or yard sales. You may find a great deal on a chair or sofa. However, if the springs are no good, the wood frame is cracked or broken or the joints are weak and wobbly, you will end up with furniture that looks good at first but is very comfortable and won't last long.
Do Not: choose just any type of fabric.
Another common pitfall in an amateur reupholstery project is choosing the wrong type of fabric. Not all fabric is suitable for furniture upholstery. Although different types of fabric can be used for upholstery, there are still many factors to consider when choosing a fabric such as:
- Will the furniture be used indoors or outdoors?
- Will the furniture be exposed to direct sunlight?
- Will the furniture be used by children?
- Will the furniture be used by pets?
- Will the furniture have heavy or light use?
Once you narrow down the types of fabric that would work for your project, you can then focus on the colors and patterns that appeal to you. Read more about the benefits and disadvantages of different fabric types on this upholstery fabric blog post by a Charlotte, North Carolina furniture design company.
Do Not: start without the proper tools and materials.
Don't make the mistake of starting your project without having everything you'll need to finish it. This will not only cause unnecessary delays, it may also make a relatively easy do-it-yourself project harder than it needs to be.
Naturally, the tools and materials you will need will depend on the type of project you are doing. However, the following tools are commonly used for furniture reupholstery:
- Staple gun
- Screwdriver (one that has interchangeable heads or an electric screwdriver works best)
- Needle nose pliers
- Glue gun
Learning how to reupholster furniture may sound like a daunting task and it can be if you start with something too complicated or you make too many of these common mistakes. However, if you start off easy and work your way up to the more challenging projects, you may discover that creating your own custom furniture is an exhilarating hobby that you can be proud of!