Tips of Buying Upholstery

Hello, everyone!

Now that summer is underway, it’s a great time to look around your home and see what really is upsetting you . We all have a room or area that needs improving. Before the rush to do that “makeover” before the Holidays like everyone else, now would be the time to put that plan into action and beat everyone to the punch. Being a designer, I see it happen every year. Everyone puts it off until right before the Thanksgiving rush and wants it all done in two weeks. Making over a room usually can’t be done that quickly.

So here are some things to think about before diving in to that project.

After you have decided which area needs the change, decide what needs to be replaced. Upholstery is usually the BIG item and can cost the most. Decide how you use the room. Does it get most of the wear and tear from the family and guests? How many people are usually using the furniture?

If you’re on a budget, get the best quality construction for your money. Let a knowledgeable designer show you which brands are the best for each price range. Some smaller companies that don’t advertise a lot, but have these same great construction as the “high priced” companies, are great for families who budget their purchases. But top quality construction is the key for long lasting furniture that can be kept for years and recovered. Hardwood frames, kiln dried, glued joints, not nailed are features to ask for. See if the cushions are supported by springs. How much wrapping and foam cover the frame. Do you want a firm seat, or one with down filled cushions that give a softer feel and less support?   Then by only one or two pieces at a time. Your money is hard earned. Don’t keep throwing it away on “replacement furniture”. Ninety percent of your price is in the construction underneath the fabric on the outside.

Always ask what the fiber content is for the fabric you selected. You wouldn’t put silk fabric on a sectional in the family room that is going to get lots of wear. The new fabrics we have today are great for “hardworking” areas.  “Sunbrella” is now finding its way inside the home as well as on your patio furniture.

Good fabrics, if taken care of properly, will last a long time.

Before you venture out into that “daunting task” of furniture shopping, it’s always good to measure your existing pieces. How long is the sofa you have now? How may chairs will you need? I always hear my customer say, after looking at many, many sofas and chairs, that ” Thank you,  but I need to go home and measure”. Surely, you  have some idea about what you want to replace. If you can, have a sketch of the  room you’re working on. How many openings are there? How many windows and where are they placed.

This helps the designer draw up a workable floor plan for the area that would include the amount of seating you will need for your type of lifestyle. Then, the fun can begin with selecting the pieces and fabrics that will look great in this room. Of course, budget must be discussed, so we’re both on the same page.

Each person has specific likes and dislikes when it comes to upholstery. Some the simple lines, more contemporary. Some people are more traditional and like the looks from the History books. I happen to appreciate the best of both looks. Some people love blues, some people “hate” greens and wouldn’t have that in their home. Others are into the new wild , bright colors. But, putting them together can be a balancing act in itself. This is where you can get advice from a designer. We do not bite. We are here to help you with sorting out what would look best with what. This can save you time and money, really. We are privy to all the new fabrics, colors, and styles that come along every Spring and Fall.

I have included a picture of a chair that came on the showroom floor this week. It’s not for everyone, but 20150724_204328-1_resizeddoes show how vibrant the colors are becoming. At first, I thought,  “This is really quite a busy print”. But when I saw it with the loveseat that it went with, and the area rug, it was coordinating very nicely. Now, it would not be for everyone, but for the people wanting to experiment with new colors, it would be great. (Sorry, the picture is blurry.)

Just remember, a little print can go a long way! This chair should be used with a solid sofa. And I don’t think you would use this print on a large sofa, unless the room was tremendous! Just my thought.

So, as  last  thought, this time, select the best possible upholstery for your area. These pieces will get the most wear. The rest of the design will be centered around these very important elements in your design project.

I’m here to help in any way I can.

Sandra Bockman, Allied ASID




I graduated from college with a degree in Interior Design and Home Economics with a major in Interior Design. I have been working in the field for many years and had my own interior design shop in the Suntree area of Melbourne, Florida for several years. I currently work as a Designer with Baer's furniture in Melbourne. Finding the right colors is a strong point of mine. I am able to assist with all facets of Interior Design. I am an Allied Member of A.S.I.D.

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