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Should I Reupholster My Couch? Or is it Better to Buy a New Sofa?

By Jeff Frank


I have had a Sherrill sofa since 1999. It’s used daily in our family room & we love it.

Reupholstering costs almost as much as buying a new couch.

Is it worth it to reupholster my Sherrill couch?   


Sherrill furniture is excellent quality. It should be reupholstered if you still like the style.

If you don’t go overboard on extremely expensive fabrics, the cost should be lower than buying a new Sherrill piece.

If you don’t like the style there are some custom upholsterers who can alter the frame and completely change the sofa’s style.

Unlike many of the large mass produced furniture brands, Sherrill still makes excellent quality custom-built furniture today.

Re-upholstering can be expensive. If that is a concern, there are ways to reduce the cost.

Current designer fabrics can range in price from $30 to over $100 per yard.

Every year thousands of these high quality fabrics are discontinued and closed out by the mills, at prices that are 50% off or even more.

Check out my blog article on this topic. Are 90% off fabric sales really a good deal?

If you do not have any discount fabric stores near you, there are several online who will be happy to send you samples.

Your upholsterer will let you know how much fabric is needed.

Striped or patterned fabrics that need to be matched up require 33% – 50% more fabric.

Matched fabrics also take  more time (and money) to upholster.

If you decide to reupholster, it is important to spend extra to get the best possible cushions.

The standard 1.8 density foam cushion cores found in most mass produced sofas, have a total lifespan of 3 – 5 years before losing their resilience and comfort.

Spend another $200 – $300  to upgrade to 2.5 density foam or Spring down cushions that will provide 15 years or more of comfortable seating.

Your Sherrill sofa probably has spring down cushions already, if it remained comfortable for 20 years.

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5 thoughts on “Should I Reupholster My Couch? Or is it Better to Buy a New Sofa?”

  1. Hi. I have a traditional Sherrill couch purchased in 1989…33 years old! Do I reupholster? Can a good reupholster reshape a couch arm? I would buy top quality new cushions and backs customizing with down wrap. Thanks so much!!

    • Sherrill couches are excellent quality and are good candidates for reupholstery.

      Upholsterers do not change arm styles, but many upholstery shops also have frame makers who can alter the arms.

      In my personal opinion, Spring Down cushions are the longest lasting and most comfortable.

      If you prefer foam cushions, try to get a density of 2.5 to 2.8.
      Spring down cushions have a foam border, but the standard 1.8 density foam is fine for that since your weight will be resting on the springs, not the foam.

      The “down wrap” you are referring to is standard with Spring Down seat cushions.

      It can be used with foam and will “soften” the feel of the seat cushion, but if the “down wrap” takes up so much space that the foam core height has to be reduced, it will shorten the life expectancy of the cushion.

      The “down wrap” will contain both down and feathers. Down is much softer than feathers and also has more “loft” which helps the cushion retain its shape.
      Normally a down wrap will have 5% or 10% down with the rest being feathers.

      Increasing the down percentage increases the comfort, but down is also far more expensive than feathers.

      If cost is a concern, one way to save hundreds of dollars is to shop for discontinued fabrics.

      The most common price range for reupholstery fabrics is $30 – $50 per yard.
      That is the wholesale price which professional interior designers can get. The undiscounted retail price is higher.

      All fabrics eventually become discontinued. There are always thousands available.
      These are often available through discount fabric stores or online retailers for 1/2 the wholesale price or even less.

      Check out my blog article, Are Quality Fabrics Really Available at 50% Off?

    • Amy,
      You will need to contact the store where you purchased the furniture or the Sherrill customer service department. Keep in mind that striped or print fabrics, that require matching, will need more yards than a solid plain color fabric.


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