Furniture Re-upholstery vs. Replacement

Al Grahn
Grahn’s Upholstery

According to, it is estimated that by 2015, people in the U.S. will spend $121.7 billion to re-furbish our homes with new furniture pieces. When we buy new furniture, our old furniture often ends up in the garbage. The U.S. EPA reported that furniture accounted for 8.8 million tons, or 3.6 percent, of our trash stream in 2005 (quadruple the tonnage in 1960). Before you decide to toss your furniture, ask yourself if it can be salvaged? Whether the furniture piece is worn or no longer reflects your style, re-upholstery is a green alternative that is not always considered.

Buying new furniture in comparison to refurbishing old furniture can be quick, easy and economical. You can shop some of the big showrooms, make a purchase and often take it home all in the same day, along with putting the old piece on the curb for the landfill. However, furniture manufacturers, like most other manufacturers, are continuing to find more creative ways to make a cheaper product to keep the cost down and feed into this wasteful cycle. The result is that you can usually buy a replacement chair or sofa for less than the cost of re-upholstery.

Why choose reupholstery?

The first step in determining re-upholstery as an option is to judge the quality of your piece. Upholstered furniture pieces are like cars and electronics: the quality is hidden inside. Old furniture may be better quality in materials and construction than what you could get for the same cost in a new piece of furniture. An easy way to determine quality is to gauge whether the old sofa or chair seems to be sturdy and well-constructed while only the fabric is worn. Second, if you like the style and size of what you have, you already know what you are getting. More importantly, you know whether your old piece is comfortable. It is not always easy to determine this from a few minutes in a showroom.

Re-Upholstery Process

Re-upholstery involves more than replacing the fabric. The frame, springs, and padding are all inspected and re-glued, repaired, or replaced as necessary.


The cost of re-upholstery will generally be more expensive than cheaply made furniture but less expensive than most high end furniture. It is best to call a few local re-upholstering businesses to estimate the range of cost.

Act Locally

Grahn’s Upholstery
Minneapolis, MN

Search the yellow pages under “Re-upholstery” to find re-upholstery options near you.

Furniture Replacement

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