The cost to reupholster a chair

Written by liza hollis | 13/05/2017
The cost to reupholster a chair
Reupholstering can add new life to an old chair for a fraction of the cost of buying new. (chair image by Yuriy Panyukov from

Reupholstering is a smart and economical way to add new life to a dull or outdated chair. Because there is often no sewing necessary, it is the ideal project for even the most novice do-it-yourselfer. On top of being easy to customise, reupholstering is preferred by many homeowners because it is more cost-effective than buying a brand new chair. Barring some exceptions, the cost of reupholstering a chair is typically only a fraction of purchasing a new one outright.

Chair Cost

When budgeting your project, you should take into account the cost of the chair you are upholstering. To save cost, you can choose to cover a chair you already own. Thrift stores, clearance sales and flea markets often have pieces of furniture at low prices that you can use for your upholstery project.

Fabric Cost

Fabric is usually the most expensive factor in upholstery projects. The cost will largely depend on the type of fabric you use and the amount you need. If you are only covering one portion of the chair, you will typically need no more than 1 yard of fabric. For a larger project, such as a recliner, you will need several yards. Depending on the print or material, cost of fabric can range from a median of £6 per yard to upwards of £32 per yard, depending on the quality.

Trimming and Detail

Accent material, such as tufting buttons, decorative piping, ribbon or grommets can also affect the cost of upholstering. If budget is a primary concern, these can be excluded from your project or added later. Generally, these materials are affordable. For example, piping and ribbon are several dollars per yard. Buttons can be purchased for cents each.

Necessary Materials

Also included in your upholstery cost are the materials that help you chair take shape. Upholstery foam, for example, can be an added expense if your chair cushion is worn. High quality upholstery foam is thicker and often more expensive. To save money, use spray adhesive to layer several pieces of inexpensive foam. To have a piece of foam cut to size by a professional is another added cost. Cotton batting can be purchased in bulk for £1.30 to £3 in many home goods stores.

Cost of Tools

There are several tools required for upholstering that contribute to the cost. Most notably, there is the staple gun which is an essential tool in the process. If you do not have one, manual ones can be purchased for less than £13, whereas electric ones can be upwards of £65. There are also other tools needed, such as a hot glue gun or a sewing machine.

Professional Reupholstering

No matter how much you spend on fabric or materials, it will still be considerably less than having the chair professionally reupholstered. This is because a professional is largely charging you for labour, which can make your chair project cost up to several hundred dollars depending on the materials needed and the size and difficulty of the project.

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