Upholstery professionals can freshen up furniture with new fabric, new foam, new springs and fresh style. Upholstery work is a specialized skill that requires an understanding of fabric, furniture construction and antiques. New upholstery is a good way to restyle a dining room chair set, update an old lounge chair, or preserve an antique chair or family heirloom. Several factors affect the cost of reupholstering chairs.
The cost to reupholster a chair is determined by the size of the piece and the amount of detail involved, says Tony DeSimone of DeSimone Custom Furniture in Los Angeles, California. The more detail a chair has, the more work required and the higher the cost. Padding and foam are also cost factors. As part of the company’s base price, DeSimone Custom Furniture provides a layer of cotton batting over the existing padding in a chair, but if new foam is required for the seat, back or armrests, the company charges extra. Thickness and size determine the cost of the foam. DeSimone Custom Furniture charges $5–$10 for the foam for a dining room chair and $40–$75 for the foam for a lounge chair seat cushion.
Labor costs vary widely for upholstery because there are so many types of chairs. According to DeSimone of DeSimone Custom Furniture, labor for a dining chair can be as low as $35 or as much as $300. For a lounge chair, DeSimone Custom Furniture charges $495 to $750 for labor, depending on the size of the chair.
Leo Valladares of Upholstery by Leo in Miami, Florida, charges $45–$65 for labor, fabric and foam for a dining chair that has a removable seat. When the seat is not removable, Valladares must take the entire chair apart—not just the seat. In this case, costs can range from $65–$100.
Fabric has a big effect on the cost of reupholstering a chair. A single dining seat requires less than one yard of fabric, but if both the seat and back are upholstered, it can take up to six yards, depending on the size of the chair and the pattern in the fabric. Lounge chairs typically require six to eight yards of fabric—sometimes more with patterns to make sure the design lines up. The fabrics that DeSimone Custom Furniture works with retail for $12.95–$129 per yard, but DeSimone sells them to his customers below retail cost. Upholstery by Leo charges $20–$30 per yard for vinyl and $20–$50 per yard for fabrics.
Having multiple chairs redone at one time can save on overall costs. Valladares at Upholstery by Leo charges lower rates per chair when upholstering more than one at a time. Some companies have a minimum chair requirement for discounts. For example, DeSimone Custom Furniture offers a discount for more than 10 pieces at one time. DeSimone says that working on two, four or six chairs still takes the same amount of time per chair to reupholster. Here are cost examples for several specific chair reupholstery projects:
12 dining room chairs: $1,700
- Reupholstered chair seats and backs, using ~ 1.5 yards of fabric per chair
- Labor cost per chair: $95
- Labor costs are usually $120 per chair, but because of the volume, the customer received a $25 discount per chair.
- Fabric: $29.95 per yard
- Retail cost for fabric was $39.98 per yard.
- The job took 10 days.
- Two wing-back chairs: $1,300
- Labor cost per chair: $475
- Retail fabric price was $30 per yard, but DeSimone Custom Furniture provided a discount. Each chair required eight yards.
- The job took about 10 days.
10 dining chairs: $700
- Fabric: $0, customer provided the fabric.
- Labor included reupholstering the seat and back of the chairs with single piping all around.
- One club chair, one antique chair, one vanity swivel stool: $1,300
- Fabric and materials: $600
- Labor: $700
- Labor included replacing all the foam, springs and buttons as well as repainting the antique chair.
- The vanity stool needed new foam and a new skirt all around.
- The club chair was oversized and also needed a skirt around the bottom, which required additional fabric.