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The Home Depot

Furniture Upholstery Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Upholstery > Furniture Upholstery Guide
Furniture Upholstery Guide

Wanting to know the ins and outs of furniture upholstery is normal when home improvement discussions come up, along with furniture renovations. Furniture upholstery is quite handy to know when you may have a very old yet sentimental piece of furniture that you would like to keep but may need to repair its tattered cushions. Upholstery helps to renew and preserve furniture making it look brand new again.


Here below we have gathered a list of common facts about upholstery, along with a few tips that can hopefully be of some help to you. Remember, just because it’s old doesn’t mean it can’t be saved!

  1. Most upholstery is done with a flat piece of fabric and a staple gun.

    1.Types of Wood

    If you want a very durable and strong piece of upholstered furniture, we would recommend ash, oak or maple wood. All three are very sturdy materials which is very important when it comes to furniture. Most older furniture is made with pretty good material but it may have broken down over the years. If you are trying to save a piece of furniture that is obviously a hazard, such as if it could break at anytime, you may as well throw it away. If it is a treasure, store it in the attic – just don’t make the mistake of letting anyone sit on it.

  2. 2.What Kind of Fabric?

    If you are not as interested in sturdiness as you are in style, you will spend more time trying to decide exactly what type of material your furniture be upholstered with. Tightly woven and crafted fabric will always last longer and take more beating than printed fabric. Printed fabric is usually cheaply made because the extra money goes into putting the actual print/picture on the fabric. Cotton is a popular choice, but you must watch out where your furniture is if its crafted with cotton. Furniture that sits in the sunlight too long will have its cotton start to disintegrate, and furniture that is too close to water or damp areas can have mildew grow because of the cotton. Linen, although it can be more pricy, is usually much more durable than cotton and although it still does not fare well in high sunlight – it is an extremely strong fiber to use. You can’t choose too many colors with linen since it doesn’t bode well together so you will find more natural colors of linen available. Wool can be nice to use if you need something stain proof, but if not taken care of properly can produce a moth problem. Silk can be prone to mildew, and although beautiful – this fragile fabric will not do well in any type of harsh climate.

  3. 3.Upholstery can be Quite Easy

    No one should be scared to redo any of their furniture because of upholstery concerns. It really isn’t all that hard to do, and anyone with basic sewing skills can learn exactly how to reupholster furniture. Most furniture was crafted so that whenever the cushions or fabric wore out, it could semi-easily be taken off and replaced with something new. Don’t give into the idea that all the fabric needs to be pre-cut precisely in order to fit and that everything needs to slip on perfectly. Most upholstery is done with a flat piece of fabric and a staple gun. One tip to keep in mind is not to remove the cushion casing when working on your project since the insides can easily fall out and lose their shape. Work around the actual cushion and you should be able to apply the fabric easily.


    Don’t be afraid to try and upholster a piece of furniture that you have. It’s better to try and fix it rather than junk it, right? Grab a staple gun, find some nice fabric and perhaps a friend to act as another pair of eyes and give it a try.

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