Is Reupholstering Furniture Really Worth It?

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated February 11, 2022
Professional decorator choosing the best upholstery for the armchair by holding fabric samples against it
Photo: StockPhotoPro / Adobe Stock

The national average cost to reupholster furniture ranges from $370 to $1,100, depending on the necessary repairs

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If your favorite armchair is looking a little more shabby than chic, you don’t have to toss it out. Reupholstering furniture is a great way to breathe new life into pieces that have always brought joy into your home. 

But some pieces need a lot of work after the years of love that they’ve received. In some cases, you might find that it’s more affordable to part ways and start fresh. If a sofa requires complete gutting, it’ll probably be less expensive to buy a new one instead. 

On the flip side, a chair that only has a few cosmetic imperfections—like a stain or a scratch—won’t be costly to save. Use this guide to find out when it’s worth hiring a reupholstery professional and when you’re better off shopping for new furniture.

How Much Does It Cost to Reupholster Furniture on Average?

The national average cost to reupholster furniture is $715 per item but can be as low as $50 and as high as $4,000 depending on the repairs involved. The price for materials will typically be between $50 and $70 per yard, and labor will range from $40 to $100 per hour.

How Much Does It Cost to Reupholster Furniture Near You?

Furniture reupholstery prices will vary marginally from state to state. Here’s a brief summary of what you can expect to pay a furniture reupholstery company near you.

  • Alabama: $250–$500

  • Arizona: $390–$1,025

  • California: $400–$1,520

  • Colorado: $290–$1,060

  • Kansas: $395–$825

  • Michigan: $270–$520

  • New York: $425–$1,240

  • North Carolina: $270–$700

  • Pennsylvania: $355–$1,275

  • Texas: $425–$830

What Furniture Can I Reupholster on My Budget?

The cost to reupholster small furniture like chairs and outdoor cushions isn't as pricey as bigger-budget items like leather couches and ottomans. This quick breakdown will help you figure out what you can afford.

$50 to $500

In this price range, you can afford to fix just about any outdoor cushion. It will also cover the cost of smaller leather items and some (but not all) chair, headboard, and ottoman repairs.

$500 to $1,000

This amount will be enough to repair most smaller furniture items and certain elements of larger items like the detachable cushions on a sofa or the armrest on your favorite lounge chair. 

$1,000+

With this budget, it’s possible to have almost anything reupholstered, no matter the damages. That includes large items that are typically more expensive to fix, like couches and headboards. 

How Much Does It Cost to Reupholster Furniture Yourself?

It can be a lot less expensive to DIY a project like furniture reupholstery because labor costs and transportation fees make up over half of what you pay. You could even get creative and repurpose your furniture in exciting new ways, like using the fabric from an old couch to make new pillows. Fabric costs can range from $50 to $70 per yard

You’ll also need to account for any damaged padding or broken frames that need to be replaced and gather the right tools and materials to fix them. Padding can cost between $5 and $50 per yard (polyester is inexpensive, cotton is more costly). Things like twine and buttons will be relatively affordable—around $20 to $40 altogether. 

Tools like pliers, hammers, and screwdrivers, as well as sewing equipment like needles and thread, are also essential for getting the job done. A toolbox with everything you need will cost between $50 to $200, depending on the brand, but you probably have at least a few of these items hanging around your garage. 

Though it will be more affordable to do it yourself, it will also be time-consuming. Make sure this is a project you’re equipped to handle before taking it on. Luckily, there are plenty of guides and tips that will help you through the process of remodeling your furniture. But recruiting the services of a reupholstery company will guarantee no major mistakes occur.

What Factors Influence Reupholstery Costs?

Many elements help to determine the cost of furniture reupholstery, including size, fabric, labor, and condition of an item. 

Fabric Prices

The average cost for fabric will be between $50 to $70 per yard. Affordable options like polyester can be as little as $10 per yard, whereas pricier options like silk or velvet can be as much as $100 per yard

Existing Condition

The current quality of a piece of furniture also has an impact on the overall cost of repairs. The more wear and tear there is, the more you’re likely to pay. Refinishing or cleaning services can also increase your final bill. An upholstery cleaning company near you can help ensure your furniture is in tip-top shape year-round. 

Furniture Transportation

Transporting furniture to and from a reupholstering facility can vary widely, depending on the size of the furniture. If you have access to a car, it can be far less expensive to move it yourself—though you run the risk of damaging your favorite ottoman again if you don’t pack it properly. Expect to pay between $100 and $300 to have it professionally moved. 

Structural Repairs

Framing, tufting, and nail heads are among the most expensive items to repair. Here’s how much it’ll cost for each.

  • Repairing the frame: $200–$400

  • Fixing tufting and nailheads: an additional $100–$500 on top of the $715 national average.

Labor

Professional reupholstery services cost between $40 and $100 per hour of work. Small items like chairs and outdoor cushions can be finished in as little as a week, whereas larger furniture repairs can take up to a month. For the average chair or couch, you’ll pay between $500 and $1,000.

How Much Does It Cost to Reupholster Furniture by Type?

The price for furniture reupholstery will also vary a lot depending on what you’re having fixed. Bigger items like sofas and headboards typically cost more than smaller items like outdoor cushions and chairs.

Sofa

Reupholstering a sofa or couch can cost anywhere from $600 to $4,000. Expect to pay between $600 and $2,000 for loveseats and $2,000 to $4,000 for sectionals. 

Chair

Chair reupholstery can be as little as $50 and as much as $2,000. Dining room chairs will be on the lower end—between $50 and $250—whereas armchairs will be on the higher end—$1,000 to $2,000

Outdoor Cushions

Though reupholstering outdoor cushions typically costs far less than other items, it can be expensive depending on what you have. Expect to pay between $50 and $500 for smaller items like the pillow on your favorite outdoor lounge chair. The price to fix a patio with a couch-like set-up will be more in line with the cost to reupholster an inside couch.

Ottoman

An ottoman will cost between $300 and $700 to reupholster. Smaller models will be low-cost to fix, and larger ones will be more expensive. 

Chaise Lounge

The price to reupholster a chaise lounge can range from $900 to $1,500. In general, they’re less expensive to fix than couches because they don’t have any backing or loose cushions. But antique models may be pricier to repair. 

closeup of leather upholstery with multiple buttons
Photo: phanasitti / Adobe Stock

Leather Furniture

Reupholstering leather furniture doesn’t cost that much more than fixing non-leather alternatives. In general, it’s actually less expensive by the yard—about $30 to $60 per yard as opposed to the $50 to $70 per yard for other fabrics. You can sometimes pay as little as $100 total to repair small leather items.

Headboards

You’ll pay between $200 and $2,000 for most headboard reupholstery. Smaller headboards lined with inexpensive fabric will cost less to fix than ones that are made with more intricate designs and materials.  

FAQs About Reupholstering Furniture

Is it more affordable to reupholster or buy new?

The short answer is no—it’s generally not going to cost less to have something reupholstered than it would to simply buy new furniture. 

What you pay will depend on how damaged an item is. If it requires minimal or purely cosmetic repairs, like a fabric swap, you may end up saving money. But you’re better off replacing a couch that you’ll need to get completely redone. 

In general, it’s worth the cost of reupholstering when it comes to rescuing furniture that has a special place in your heart, like a family heirloom or that vintage chair you found on your travels.

Is this a project I can easily DIY?

While it can be easy to personally reupholster small items like outdoor cushions or pillows, bigger projects are better left to the professionals. Hiring a pro is the best way to ensure your furniture is properly fixed

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