Reupholstering a couch, sofa or settee enables people to keep a piece of furniture whose design they like but that has become worn, torn or stained over time. Upholstery is a trade that can be much more complicated than meets the eye and is often best left to a pro, especially if the furniture is antique or unique. When it comes to couches, professionals know to address certain details, such as selecting the right fabric, replacing padding and stuffing, and adhering the fabric to the frame with the right adhesive, staples or decorative tacks. Reupholstering a couch can cost more than buying a new one, but it breathes new life into antique or heirloom furniture. Reupholstery professionals charge anywhere from $45 to $100 per hour, and a couch can take 12–20 hours to complete. Ottomans can be reupholstered in 3–8 hours each.
The primary factor in the cost of reupholstering a sofa is size, which determines how much fabric and other materials are required, as well as how much time it will take the upholstery professional to complete the job. Upholstery fabric typically costs $11–$40 per yard. Sofas vary in size, from 6 feet to 8 feet long and 32 inches to 40 inches deep for a standard size sofa to 4 feet to 6 feet long and 28 inches to 30 inches deep for a loveseat. Labor costs for reupholstery average between $700 and $1,200. Depending on the region, the average price to reupholster a small, two-cushion sofa is $1,200, including labor, fabric and other materials, and a large sofa is up to $3,000 or more. Replacing stuffing and making repairs (fixing the frame or springs, for example) add to the cost.
Fabric is the most common material used for upholstery. Some professionals work with leather, which typically costs at least 25 percent more for the material alone and requires someone with experience with leather.
Some upholstery services, especially those that specialize in antiques, can also repair or reinforce the frame of a sofa during the reupholstery process. Costs vary, depending on the extent of the work needed. Average hourly rates for repairs are $45 to $150.
Adding decorative tacks to furniture is not as time-intensive as repair or reupholstery. Most professionals can add decorative tacks to the average sofa in about 15 minutes per foot, which might add two hours of labor to the overall job. Decorative tacks for an 8-foot-long couch would cost $90–$200 extra, plus the cost of the tacks themselves.
Most upholstery services can make have coordinating covers for throw pillows to go with a newly upholstered couch. Pillows cost $30–$70 each.
Some professionals will do their work on-site where the furniture is located, but it’s more common for customers to drop it off at the upholstery shop. Other upholstery service companies will pick up furniture and deliver it back to the customer when the job is complete. Pros usually charge an additional per-mile fee of $1.50 to $3 or a flat rate of $75 to $150 for pick up and delivery.
Generally, you do not want to place new upholstery fabric over old because it will bunch up over time and begin to look bad. Ask the reupholsterer if the project quote includes removing existing fabric.
If a sofa is already more than 10 years old and has held up well, it’s more likely to hold up over time and is a good candidate for reupholstery.