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Recover or Donate? How To Know If Your Furniture Is Worth Saving

When we are designing spaces for our clients, we always look at the furniture and items that are already in a space that can be reused, re-purposed or re-covered. This often includes upholstered pieces like sofas, armchairs, and stools. We also find that by mixing in both new and old pieces, such as vintage furniture it creates a home with interesting stories, more personality and it gives the home a unique design rather than a showhome look. Sometimes these pieces of furniture are sentimental heirlooms, or the clients truly love it, but the item just needs to be re-invisioned. Re-upholstery is a great way to breathe new life into a piece of furniture that may have otherwise been unusable in the new design.

By selecting quality made fabrics, we can reimagine the tired and dated furniture and provide a way for it to be used for much longer. We work with talented upholstery craftsmen who can transform your furniture into timeless pieces to enjoy for many more years.

Recovering furniture is an investment to upgrade your beautiful, high quality furniture. The cost to recover can sometimes be the same, or less, as replacing the furniture entirely, so it is important to consider whether the piece of furniture you are hoping to recover is worth the time, effort and cost to recover. Below are some good guidelines to determine whether your furniture is worth saving, or whether it is time to donate it to one of our preferred donation organizations.


Contrary to some popular thoughts, older is often better when it comes to furniture. Furniture that was made more than 20 years ago may be better quality than something that was made more recently. The farther back you go, the better quality the furniture will often be. Older furniture is usually made with solid wood, as opposed to particle board and it is usually hand crafted instead of mass produced. This isn’t to say that newer furniture is always going to be lower quality, but it is an important thing to consider when debating whether to recover.


If the piece of furniture you are considering recovering is shaky and wobbly, you need to have a closer look at it to consider the craftsmanship. Does it just need a little touch up or repair or is the entire thing on its last legs? Consider the time, effort and cost required to make this piece strong and durable. It would be a shame to spend the money on recovering the item only to have it be a wobbly mess when you go to use it. Your professionals will always assess a piece when quoting to determine if it is worth the investment before moving forward.


One of the important things to look for is a solid wood frame. Quality made furniture will be solid wood that does not have too many knots within the wood. You will also want to check how the furniture is joined. Is it joined with dowels and glue (a sign that the piece is sturdy and well made) or with staples and plywood? If you do not have access to see the frame, you can take your best guess by the weight of the piece. A solid wood frame will have a heavier weight to it that plywood and particle board cannot match.


High quality furniture will have coiled springs that will be tied into the piece. If the furniture has S springs or plastic panels it may not be worth recovering. Springs can often be replaced or repaired as well, but consider this cost along with the other investment amounts required to recover.


Cushions are often one of those things that can be first to go after the outer fabric due to low quality foam, but also by not being maintained properly. It is best to rotate cushions on upholstered furniture regularly to avoid dents, divots and general wear and tear. If your cushions are still feeling firm and hefty, they are a sign of well maintained, good quality cushions. Low quality cushions can be soft and plush and foam can be easily felt and moved within the fabric. This is another material that can be replaced along with the fabric if the rest of the piece is in sound condition.


Lastly, ask yourself how much do you like the piece? Is it sentimental? Does the size and shape work within your home now and with the new design? If you answered yes to these questions, it is definitely worth considering recovering your furniture. Determine the reasons you want to keep this furniture, where it will go and how it will be used, so that your investment in recovering your loved furniture will be worth the cost and effort.


If you have determined that your furniture is not worth the cost to recover, we recommend donating it whenever possible. Pre-loved furniture is now more popular than ever and there are organizations that can greatly benefit from your donated furniture.

We have listed a few of our favourites below!


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