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  • Fred Wakefield

Looking for a Sofa?

So you don’t have the budget to buy a top end new sofa or perhaps you are just canny enough to know that you don’t have to? You can get a great sofa, make it unique and save money!

Reupholstery isn’t just for those of you that like antique, art deco, vintage or mid century furniture. It also applies to those looking for a good quality new sofa... full stop! I’m not a recycling evangelist but I am known for the occasional moan about the poor standard of modern furniture, however there are plenty of people who are getting rid of perfectly good items! It may take a bit of effort but you could benefit from this and end up with something new(ish) for a fraction of the cost. Don’t be fooled though, the process of renewing the upholstery is not cheap but it will be value for money if you use a professional and not a bloke/lass your mate knows from the pub who once did an evening class.

How do you go about it?

Most traditional sofa designs are similar so find a quality sofa second-hand, that has a good structure and where the materials used are of a high standard and then get it reupholstered... simple. Look for Duresta, Tetrad or a sofa that had been made bespoke or by a company renowned for making good frames, this list is not extensive but would include Wesley Barrell and Multiyork (both not around any longer).

When you know it has good pedigree, here are a few tips of what to be aware of and what makes a difference to reupholstery –

Firstly look past the condition and design of the fabric – is it the right size and shape (no we will not cut the frame down to fit!)

Check there is no structural damage – creaking, sagging on the frame (spring issues are fixable as are dipped/worn areas in the arms or back)

Look at the condition of the cushions – they can be replaced but if they are good quality they are probably reusable.

Does it have a loose cover – many of the old Multiyork ones did and we have reupholstered them (with a fixed cover) and they have been great. Personally I am not a fan of loose covers as they tend to become misshapen with time due to stretch/wear or because they have been washed too many times, underneath however the sofa could be perfectly fine.

The more hideous and out dated the fabric is, the cheaper you should be able to get it... hopefully!

What can a professional do to transform it -

Strip it back and check the structure and springs, add padding if needed.

Possibly change the legs (these days many are removable) or we can refinish the existing legs in a different stain and lacquer.

Change cushion inserts (if they are flat and lost their pazaz) – maybe you prefer feather cushions with a foam core?

Subtle changes in style and finish (for example getting rid of skirts, rope braid or giving it cleaner lines).

Make it unique to you with fabric that you get to choose. Most new sofas have very limited fabric options, with this approach you have an open book.

I have gone through this process with previous clients and offered advice throughout.

I’ve seen some great sofa’s going for free or next to nothing as people just want rid of them so if you’re prepared to look you can nab a bargain. Here are few examples I found on well known classified site today, without much effort –

Duresta 2/3 seater sofa – initially retailed at over £4k now being sold for £350. Rough figures for a professional reupholstery and a mid range upholstery fabric would take the cost in total approx. £1400 - £1800.

Wesley Barrell – 2 seater sofa – retailed at 2.5k over 10 years ago, you can pick this up for £200. Rough figures would estimate total cost approx. £1200 – £1600.

Multiyork – 2-3 seater sofa – retailed at £1.7k about 15 yrs ago, now £150. Looks in good shape. Rough figures would estimate total cost approx £1300 – £1700.

The equivalent new in the market with similar frame structure and quality inserts is going to cost much more. These are sofas for life... or should be.

Here is a before and after of a Multiyork sofa that originally had loose covers that we did for a client

Here is a great example of a Duresta sofa a client has just bought for transformation, hideous dated fabric but in great condition, it’s sure to be a cracker once we have worked our magic in the dark green velvet the client has selected.

If you live in the Exeter/Devon area and want to look for a new sofa, armchair or three piece suite in this way we are happy to advise and go through the process with you.

Parkhouse Restorers 01392 275338

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