An ugly couch is an eyesore, something that destroys the look and feel of a living area. But not all ugly couches need to be trashed. Some just need a little TLC, including a complete recovering in a more stylish fabric.

But how much does it cost to reupholster a couch?

That’s the main question on many furniture owners’ minds as they consider the expense of reupholstering vs. the expense of replacing the furniture altogether.

To give you a boost as you consider whether to reupholster or replace your couch, chair or other pieces, here’s a look at how much it costs to reupholster a couch and other furniture.


The Major Costs of Upholstery

When you consider how much it costs to reupholster a couch, you’ll find two major expenses:

  • Labor
  • Fabric

The cost of labor can vary greatly depending on what exactly you need done. A labor-intensive reupholstering of a couch would include stripping your sofa down to its frame, strengthening the joints and frame, adding new springs, refilling, re-padding and adding the new fabric.

But a non-intensive reupholstering might include fabric only. You’ll find that the cost to simply replace your couch’s fabric is far less than what it would cost for a labor-intensive reupholstering that includes all the tasks listed above.


Average Costs for Different Pieces

A couch is going to be the most expensive piece to reupholster. It’s larger than a love seat or a chair, so it’s naturally going to take more time, energy and fabric.

The average cost of reupholstering a three-seat sofa is going to run between $500 and $700 — before fabric costs are included. If the sofa needs intensive repairs and re-stuffing, the costs will quickly shoot to $1,000 and higher.

A love seat is going to cost $500 or less to reupholster, though its costs could also shoot up if it needs intensive repairs and re-stuffing.

Chairs are less expensive to reupholster, but not all chairs are created equal. A wingback chair is almost the size of a love seat, and reupholstering one is going to cost $400 to $500 — even more when intensive repairs are needed.

Smaller chairs and dining room chairs are much more palatable price-wise to reupholster. They will cost between $150 and $250, and they may run even less if they feature pop-out chairs that make reupholstering easy. The more complicated the fastening of the fabric portion of a chair to the frame, the more labor-intensive (and expensive) it will be to reupholster.

Ask about discounts for multiple pieces. If you have a couch, love seat and multiple chairs, you may be able to get a much better deal than when reupholstering each piece individually.


Average Fabric Costs

Estimating fabric cost is much more difficult. Why? Because there are so many different types of fabric.

So let’s start with how much fabric you’ll need for different pieces. A three-piece couch will need 16–18 yards of fabric. A love seat will require 13–14 yards of fabric. An armchair will require 7–10 yards of fabric, depending on its size. And small dining room chairs will need less than 7 yards.

The fabric cost is purely a function of how nice the product is. You can find bargain basement fabric at $25 a yard, and you can also find fine fabric that costs $200 a yard or even more. Most fabric runs in the range of $40 to $75 a yard. You can definitely find quality fabric in that range.


Total Costs

You can do the math from this point. For example, if you have a labor-intensive sofa and you choose a mid-range fabric, you’re looking at spending $2,000 or more. That’s great if it’s going to cost you the same or more to get a new couch that you love.

But choosing between reupholstering and replacing furniture isn’t always quite so simple. Below, see key considering to keep in mind as you make the right decision for you, your furniture and your home.


Key Considerations When Considering Furniture Reupholstering

Furniture is a personal thing. In your home, you spend your time on your furniture, watching TV, entertaining guests, taking Sunday afternoon naps. That’s why you need furniture that looks the way you want it to and that also feels the way you want it to. Make the right reupholstering decisions when you follow these key considerations:

  1. Personal Attachments: Do you absolutely love your old couch or chairs? Then it might be worth it to reupholster them, even if it’s going to cost you a little more than it would to replace.
  2. Quality: It’s sometimes true that they don’t make things like they used to. You may have a couch or chair whose frame is in outstanding shape — it just needs new fabric. In these cases, you may find that a quality couch or chair that’s reupholstered will last even longer than a new couch or chair.
  3. Choosing Fabric: Be careful what fabric you choose for existing furniture. For example, you may fall in love with a stripe or pattern — but stripes and patterns don’t work on round furniture. When new fabric is stretched across round furniture during the reupholstering process, the straight lines of a stripe or pattern turn crooked.
  4. Kids and Dogs: There’s no such thing as kid- or dog-proof fabric. If you have young children or animals in your home, consider reupholstering using an inexpensive fabric. You can upgrade later once there’s less in the way of wear and tear possibilities.
  5. Always Use a Pro: Don’t fall for the low prices at chop shop reupholstering joints. Some upholsterers will layer new fabric over old with just a thin strip of cloth between. The thin strip might hide the old fabric, but it will begin to bunch over time — which doesn’t look or feel good. Make sure you find a pro who does things the right way.
  6. Listen to the Springs: If you’re wondering whether or not you have a labor-intensive reupholstering job on your hands, listen to the springs. If the springs squeak when you sit down on a couch or chair, it’s likely the furniture needs repair and re-stuffing. If you near nothing when you sit down, you may be able to get away with fabric only.


Final Thoughts on the Cost to Reupholster a Couch

You should love where you live — and that includes the furniture. Always listen to your heart when making decisions about what you like and dislike. If you like the idea of reupholstering old furniture, go for it. If you like the idea of starting fresh with new pieces, go for it. Don’t be pressured into something you don’t want to do.

And don’t be afraid to ask an expert. Call around to different upholstery shops and get estimates. Talk to the salespeople at fabric stores — they work with people just like you every day. You never know when you might get the right tip or find the right deal.

Have you had an experience with reupholstering furniture? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or send us a message via our contact form.