The total cost to reupholster a chair can range from $500 to $3,500 nationwide.For the relatively simple job of reupholstering a dining room chair seat with only a cushion, the job can cost as little as $50. For the more complex job of reupholstering a large recliner with ornate details, it can ring in over $600. However, the total price to reupholster a piece depends on the size, the type, the style, the material you want to use and whether it needs any repairs during the upholstery process.
Reupholstering a chair can allow you to rescue your comfy favorite lounger that's seen better days, or can breathe new life into a piece of furniture that's been in the family for generations. You can even upcycle a piece of furniture from the thrift store, which will save you money over springing for new furniture. While reupholstering an old piece of furniture might sound like a fun DIY project between you and a staple gun, upholstery is more than just stapling fabric – it is a skill that can be mastered only with time and practice. It may be best to skip the DIY this time and entrust your beloved chair or sofa to a professional upholsterer.
What's in this cost guide?
- What affects the cost of reupholstering a chair?
- How much does upholstery fabric cost?
- Can you reupholster a leather chair?
- Is it worth the cost to reupholster a chair?
- How do I hire a professional upholsterer?
- How can I save money on reupholstering a chair?
The factors that affect the cost of reupholstering a piece of furniture include the complexity and size of the upholstery job, the price and amount of material needed for the upholstery, and the time and materials required to make any necessary repairs to the piece of furniture.
The total price of reupholstering a piece of furniture, such as an old chair or sofa, typically includes an hourly charge for the cost of labor plus the cost of materials and possibly a shop fee. Even if you supply the new fabric, the upholsterer will supply high-density foam for the seat cushion, dust cover for the chair seat, staples, and any parts, such as wood and springs, needed for furniture repairs. They also guarantee that the piece will be put back together the same way, and ensure the structural integrity of the furniture, and make sure it looks like a brand new piece.
For example, Conquest of Thread in Kansas City, Missouri, charges $30 an hour for labor plus materials plus a 15% shop fee to cover the cost of thread, staples, and wear and tear on equipment. The owner, Christin Cope-Hill, recommends that customers supply their own material or fabric in order to pick out exactly what they want and save money.
Furniture details can add significantly to the price of labor, Cope-Hill says. For example, a skirt on a recliner can add two to three hours to the time it takes to upholster the chair, she says. Details like pillow top cushions and nail heads, the round nails that go around a seat frame, also add significantly to labor costs.
Here is a reupholstery price guide for reupholstering a chair based on sample prices provided by Conquest of Thread:
- Simple dining chair with only a cushioned seat: $35
- Upholstered dining room chair with both cushioned back and seat: $105
- Upholstered cushioned club chair with tufted buttons and minor repairs:$465
- Recliner with pillow top cushions, seat, skirt, and multiple repairs: $600
Have a larger project in mind? Does your sofa need new seats? Do your cushions need stapling? Professional upholsterers can re-cover pieces such as sofas, too. Be sure to contact your local upholstery shop to see what their capabilities are.
The price of upholstery fabric can "vary wildly," Cope-Hill says, and some luxury upholstery fabrics cost as much as $600/yard. Additionally, how many yards of fabric the project takes will also depend on a lot of different factors. That said, here are some sample prices of how much you can expect different styles of upholstery fabric to cost:
Basic upholstery fabric: $10/yard and up, depending on the fabric
Velvet upholstery fabric: $15 to $45/yard
Vinyl for upholstery: $10 to $25/yard
Leather for upholstery: $350 to $400/leather hide
Leather is not sold by the yard but by the hide, Cope-Hill points out. Since a hide can ring in at $350 to $400 and supply enough leather for 10 dining chairs, buying an entire hide may not make sense for a smaller upholstery project, she says. Your upholstery pro may be able to connect you with a local business that sells scraps of leather, but trying to find the perfect sized scrap for your piece of furniture can be difficult.
It may be worth the cost to reupholster a piece of furniture, depending on the quality of it, how much you use it and whether it has sentimental value. Since new recliners are prices at $1,000 or more, re-upholstering a comfortable-but-threadbare favorite piece of furniture may be more affordable than buying a new one – especially if all that's required is some new fabric and a staple gun. An upholsterer can also replace broken springs, a seat cover, or a busted frame, adding another 50 or more years to the life of an antique chair, Cope-Hill says. It's a great way to upcycle your current furniture and keep old furniture out of landfills. Give your dining room chairs a whole new look and dine in style!
Browse Thumbtack to find upholstery professionals in your area, and enter the details of your project so the pro can give you an accurate pricing estimate. It's important to include photos of the seat cushions, front, and back of the chair so the upholsterer can estimate how much fabric it will require, as well as the labor and additional materials required. The pro also may ask for measurements in order to accurately calculate the amount of fabric you'll need.
Here are a few tips that can help you reupholster a chair for less:
- Supply your own fabric: Some upholstery shops offer a selection of fabrics for customers to choose from at a significant markup, Cope-Hill says. Buying your own fabric locally or online may offer sizeable savings, and you can purchase fabric by the yard. "Places like JoAnn have a surprisingly good selection of upholstery fabrics, and if you use a coupon they're pretty reasonably priced," she says.
- Consider going faux: Have your heart set on leather? Purchasing an entire hide may not make financial sense when reupholstering a single piece of furniture, so you may want to consider going with vinyl instead, Cope-Hill says.
- Choose solids over patterns: Upholstering a chair with patterned fabric can use significantly more yards of fabric due to material waste caused by having to match up the pattern, Cope-Hill says. "Going with a solid color as opposed to a pattern is going to save a little bit of money," she says.
- Reupholster multiple chairs. Some reupholstery shops offer volume discounts for getting several pieces upholstered at one time, such as an entire dining room set. Reupholster all 6 chair seats at the same time!