Traditional Reupholstery

Mary Foley – March 2021

Matthew Crawford restored a chair of mine that was badly in need of some attention. It required re-caning, re-polishing and re-upholstering. The result is absolutely fantastic - I am really pleased. The whole relationship was painless and Matthew delivered exactly as promised. I thoroughly recommend Matthew Crawford and would definitely use his services again.

Old faithful

For a free, no-obligation estimate please email us at [email protected]

If you own an old faithful, comfy piece of upholstered furniture - you're probably attached to it. We all have a piece like that which we love and relax in every day. Lounging whilst you watch the telly or stealing a quick nap before the kids get home from school.

After years of loyal service, sometimes they are just feeling or looking a little tired. Perhaps the fabric's worn or a little grubby. Maybe a spring or two has gone boing. Or the feather cushions just don't want to plump-up anymore.

Good quality, well-made antique, vintage and much older upholstered furniture last for years. Old sofas and armchairs manufactured before about 1940 have already proved that they stood the test of time, but after 50 or more years, it might be time for some lovin'.

It's worth it.

The cost of traditional reupholstery from the frame is sometimes considered high and is certainly more than upholstery using modern foams and zig-zag springs. It does, however, represent incredibly good value for money.

Upholstered furniture manufactured before about 1940 was generally of significantly better quality than that manufactured today. The frames will undoubtedly be hardwood and will have been properly and traditionally made using mortice and tenoned joints, glue and screws - rather than inappropriate giant staples and joints made from thin dowels.

The value, unless very old and with good provenance, of upholstered furniture, is largely based on the cost of re-upholstery. You could purchase a reasonable quality new sofa from a reputable manufacturer these days at a comparable price, but the standard of frame and especially upholstery does not compare at all.

Traditionally upholstered furniture, capably carried out, ought to last at least 30 years - you'd be lucky to get 10 from a good quality contemporary piece.

Our upholsters use traditional techniques lost to most modern-day tradesmen and specialise in the use of horsehair and hand-stitched edges.

Leather club chairs and old Cheststerfield restoration

Leather covered furniture that still retains its original hide from the 1900s is getting pretty fragile these days. There was a period, perhaps even 20 years ago that there was some life in it and with some feeding and waxing and tender-loving care, you could buy them a little time. These days, the leather is usually too far gone to save any of the existing upholstery and the likelihood is that the leather will be so brittle, that it won't survive being removed and then re-applied. We can still make them look presentable, but the reality would be that they won't survive everyday use without tearing elsewhere.

Generally therefore, you're probably looking at it being traditionally reupholstered from the frame and then either being upholstered in an off-the-peg distressed leather (some of which are really pretty convincing) or our using what’s known as russet (natural coloured) hide which we then hand-colour, age and distress once it's applied to the sofa or chair in question. The latter technique achieves a wonderful result, but there's inevitably a premium to pay.

Got a question about an old worn out sofa or armchair you love?

We can help - ask for a free estimate now!

Start off by emailing us some photos, as we can usually provide an estimate from them - and after that, if you would prefer to arrange for us to visit your home or office you can contact us;

Click below or send photos to • [email protected],

by 'phone on • +44 (0) 20 7359 4281,

or in person by visiting our workshop at • 121-122 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QP

Email Us

Still unsure?

Not sure if it's something we would restore?

Don't feel embarrassed to ask. If you're not sure what you've got, can't identify the wood, don't recognise the age or period -

don’t worry, that's our job, not yours and we're very good at it too! We're here to provide you with free, honest advice.

We'll tell you what it is, where it's from and whether or not it's worth restoring. We really can restore most things -

you'd be surprised at the state of things we've been able to rescue.

Click the Email Us button on the left for a free estimate or read more by clicking the button below.

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