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Popular Questions about Reupholstery

Reupholstery is not a subject everyone knows a great deal about, which is why we are often asked questions about the processes behind it.

We've put together this list below of some of the most popular questions our customers ask us to hopefully help you learn more about reupholstery.

What is reupholstery?

Reupholstery is the process of removing existing upholstery fabrics (often due to wear or damage) and replacing them with a brand new fabric.  Plumbs reupholstery service also includes complete new padding and seat foams, as well as any damaged springs and webbing; however this might not be the case with other services.

Stripping Reup 

How long does reupholstery take?

Reupholstery is quite a complex and detailed process, and this is reflected in the time it takes to finish a piece of furniture.  Furniture is stripped back to the frame and rebuilt using new fabrics and padding, and the process becomes more intricate when the furniture has deep buttons and scroll arms. As a guide we quote our reupholstery service time scale as 8-10 weeks; however your furniture is actually only away for around 3 weeks.

Can you reupholster leather furniture?

Leather furniture can indeed be reupholstered in a brand new fabric. The leather is stripped back in the same way we would a fabric sofa, and then re-covered in a new design. 

Before Chelsea Velvet Sky After Chelsea Velvet Sky

What kind of fabrics will be used?

Upholstery weight fabrics should be used to reupholster any piece of furniture.  It is also important to make sure the company you use uses fabrics that comply with fire retardant regulations.

Fabric Rolls 

What tools are used in reupholstery?

There are a number of tools needed to reupholster a piece of furniture and every upholsterer will have their own variations on the specific tools they like to use. The basic upholstery kit will include items such as: ripping chisel, upholstery pliers, staple gun, tack hammer, fabric scissors, curved needles....


Can you attempt it yourself?

You can find how-to videos online which will help you attempt beginner upholstery jobs, however reupholstery is a highly skilled craft and isn't something we'd suggest attempting on a piece of furniture that's expensive or you really like.  Instead it's best to contact a professional reupholstery service who will be able to help you choose fabrics and do all the hard work for you.  If you would like learn the basics you could try practising on easier projects like headboards or dining chair inserts.

Can reupholstery be done in my home?

Unfortunately reupholstery is a long and often quite messy job.  It's because of this we wouldn't suggest letting anyone reupholster in your living room. Instead it's best to for furniture to go to workshops where it can be completely transformed and returned back to you with a new lease of life. 


How much does it cost?

As reupholstery is a bespoke service, every piece of furniture will have its own cost.  This cost will usually be dependent on the size of the furniture, type of fabric and whether the piece is an antique etc. When shopping around for costs, it's important to take into account the level of service different companies provide, such as some may only replace the top layer of fabric, or use lower quality fabrics. Plumbs for example, provide a full reupholstery service, which includes, stripping the furniture back to the frame, tightening any loose joints, replacing broken springs/webbing, new padding and seat cushions, as well as delivery and expert advice.

 Why would I reupholster over buying new?

Many people choose to use a reupholstery company simply because they like the furniture the own and don't feel the need to buy new. Another benefit of reupholstery is you can create a truly bespoke item as you can often choose from hundreds of designs and colours.  One of the other biggest factors is reupholstery is often much more environmentally friendly than buying new as you are saving an old sofa from the landfill.

These are just a few of the questions we get asked all the time here at Plumbs, and the list is always growing with more people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint and reupholster instead. Do you have any questions we haven't answered here? Comment below or call us on 0800 542 54 54.


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Upstyling your home

Bring your home up to date without breaking the bank. The hot new trend is not to buy in but rather to chuck out

Keeping your house endlessly chic is not as hard as you might think. According to interiors expert Rachel Meddowes, the new direction is for honesty and simplicity.

“Updating your home is all about keeping things simple,” says Rachel, interiors writer for Harper’s Bazaar, with clients that include Chanel, Claridge’s and Estée Lauder. “Get rid of the clutter and keep the things that you truly love: keep that lovely comfy sofa that you enjoy sitting on; keep the one beautiful picture you love looking at,” she adds. 

Pastiche Slub Before Pastiche Slub After

One of the benefits of this philosophy is that decluttering will create much much-needed extra space in your home. But it also suggests that an element of idiosyncrasy has come back into favour in the world of home interiors. It is important to show that you are not a slave to fashion, that you have a personality and a creative sense of your own.

“Era-mixing is very on trend,” says Rachel. “Put that 18th-century chair next to the modern Swedish one your best friend gave you a couple of years ago. If you love all the pieces in your home, it’s easy to get them to work together. The phrase “classic” nowadays means having a structure that’s interesting. Within that structure you can put all sorts of interesting things.”

This new “pared-down eclectic” imperative is great news for people without huge budgets. And it’s refreshing to hear high-end designers telling us that we need to think more in terms of creating a home as opposed to a cold “interior”. It’s a bit like the way the French dress. Rather than having hundreds of cheap T-shirts in your wardrobe, why not collect five or six beautiful outfits that you can get repaired when needs be?

The fashion industry is becoming increasingly fascinated by the new interiors direction of making things your own. The idea of objects and items of furniture containing worth because of the love and passion that went into their creation (as opposed to an object being adored because it is made of diamonds or gold) is gaining in popularity.

Remember, too, that comfort is nothing to be ashamed of in the new world of “pared-down eclectic” decor. By all means, keep that well-made, much-loved couch or arm chair but re-cover it in a fabric that moves you – this, of course, is where Plumbs can help, with a wide range of 800 fabrics.

Bbs Weg

Other small changes to your home will go a long way: freshen up your bedroom with some new cushions and a fabulous bedspread – Plumbs has a new range of these to explore. Alternatively, put some new door handles and drawer pulls in your kitchen or spend a little money on new lighting to bring out different areas of a room. Start with new floor lamps – or if you’re feeling more adventurous, experiment with new ceiling fixtures.

And, if nothing else, just do a deep clean. A clearer, cleaner home will improve your mood, make your home more enjoyable to live in, and chances you’ll be inspired to make some more adventurous changes.

Explore the Plumbs fabric range to create your own unique look.


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Plumbs Apprenticeship Scheme

Plumbs recognise that Apprentices have an important and essential role to play within our business and for that reason we are pleased with the success of our Apprenticeship Scheme which we run in conjunction with North Lancs Training Group. We now delighted to announce that we have now given a great opportunity to five bright young people, who will partake in our successful training programme with on-the-job work experience that will unlock their full potential and prepare them for their lifelong career upholstery. 

Plumbs Apprenticeship Scheme

Taking on a career in reupholstery; with such a vast history which dates back to the 18th-century, can be a very rewarding one for anyone who is self-motivated, enjoys working in a practical environment, appreciates furniture stylings and has a passion for creativity. The apprentices will learn the hands-on essential skills of the craft such as rebuilding, restoring and recovering furniture, however; they will also have a partial written element to their training in the form of an NVQ which will give them a solid base skillset.

The fundamental elements of development within the Plumbs training scheme are;

  • Develop practical and academic skills
  • Improve self-motivation and confidence
  • Improve effective working and problem solving skills
  • Follow a structured working template

Over the course of the scheme the apprentices will grow their skills working side-by-side with our experienced and greatly knowledgeable upholsters across multiple areas to attain a full overview of  upholstery and the qualities necessary to excel. By learning on-the-job, they will become experts at what they do, and the tacit knowledge gained through this organic process will feed back into their work with us.

Daniel Murtagh (apprentice) commented; “I am really pleased with the opportunity and the layout of the training scheme, it gives me a real opportunity to learn new skills and gain a better understanding of the trade, the skills I will learn on this course will be invaluable and ones which I can use to contribute to Plumbs moving forward”. 


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A Guide to Buying New vs Reupholstery

If your home needs an update, sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what needs tackling, what needs replacing, and what is worth keeping.  One of the greatest considerations when updating a room is the furniture, especially sofas and arm chairs. These can be expensive to replace and it can be hard to know how a new piece will fit in your living room.

For this reason people often turn to reupholstery, as it allows you to keep your current furniture but give it an updated look and feel.  This is an especially good option if your furniture is of good quality or you have an emotional attachment to the piece.

Is Reupholstery Right for me?

So, you’ve decided your furniture needs an update, but you’re unsure about whether to replace it or reupholster it.  Getting a brand new piece of furniture has obvious benefits but it can be expensive and daunting, which is why we’ve put together some reasons to choose reupholstery.

  1. It is cost effective to invest in quality and reupholster over a lifetime of the furniture.

In an article by the Telegraph it was stated that the cheap couch industry was worth £1 billion a year, with the average cost of a sofa set being £1500. The average Briton will buy 7 sofa sets over their lifetime. By comparison a quality leather sofa set will cost around £3500, take a year to wear in and be at its most comfortable after 5 years – right when the cheap sofas have worn out!

  1. Quality furniture can be given a whole new lease of life.

Whether you have inherited a treasured item, or managed to buy a second hand bargain, you can bring it back to life with reupholstery. Repairs will be made to the frame, springs checked and replaced if necessary, and new seat cushions fitted. The original features of the furniture will be maintained – wood work, studded work and button backs for example - and you can request any other changes or alterations to be made in order to turn it into your dream piece of furniture.

During Reup 

3.   Your furniture already fits into your room.

You don’t have to go to the trouble of shopping for new furniture and finding something that meets your measurement requirements; you can update what you have knowing it already works in your home

4.  You are recycling.

With a huge proportion of new furniture being imported from the Far East, reupholstery is a greener option. When the cheaper furniture wears out it goes straight to landfill which is damaging to the environment. (See our infographic: ‘Does the UK Have a Problem With Old Sofas?’)

5.   You are supporting British/local business, jobs and economy.

“UK furniture, bed and furnishings manufacturing is a substantial industry. According to 2014 Government statistics it contributes £10.1 billion to the country’s GDP, which equates to 1.9% of manufacturing output, and employs 106,000 people within 7,969 companies.”

6.   You will own an individual piece of furniture.

Because you can choose from a huge selection of fabrics you can create a truly bespoke look, which you can co-ordinate with the rest of your home.

7.   Your wait time will be shorter.

When buying new you have to measure, shop and then wait for several weeks before it arrives – the reupholstery process is often much more convenient and will be completed and returned to you in a shorter time scale. We also pick up and return your sofa right to your door.

 Venetian Stripe Before

Venetian Stripe After 

If you feel like you would like to look into recovering a piece of furniture, then one of our expert Home Consultants will be able to talk you through the process and find the best option for you.  To arrange a free home visit simply follow this link or call 0800 542 54 54.


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