Good Questions: Reupholster or Not?

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Hello AT,

I was able to convince my husband that this chair was worth $20 at an estate sale last weekend. But I have to hold up my promise that I’d get it reupholstered.

I’ve never had furniture worth re-upholstering, and this chair may not be either. Can you tell me if this chair is worth the investment? I love the lines and the wood frame is in good shape and sturdy. The back is sunken and the seat is springy, so I expect reupholstering and repair could cost between $200 and $300? Also, what kind of fabric do you envision? I like the idea of a print, but I’m not sure that works. Should I get the fabric myself and take it to the upholsterer or buy from their selection?

Thanks, Sarah in D.C.

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Dear Sarah,

Don't tease us! That is one beautiful chair and your husband should be spanked for ever doubting you. ;-) If you reupholster it, you could probably sell it for $500.

We think reupholstering would cost about as much as you expect and fabric will run you as well, but it is all worth it.

We would find your upholsterer first, check out their fabric and then go looking for your own if you don't like what they have. You could do a really soft, velvety neutral grey, red or taupe - or even an ochre like you have there. We would avoid a print with this chair unless it was a very small repeat. Prints will make this chair look fusty. It is an older design, so if you go more contemporary with your fabric choice, you will update the chair and put a new spin on it.

Anyone else?

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.