The Furniture Doctor
Is the stuffing popping out of your old couch? Do the springs moan when someone sits on it? Before you haul it out to the curb and spend the money for a new one, why not find out if it's worth redoing? Matthew Haly, owner of The Furniture Joint in New York, passes along these great tips for evaluating old furniture, whether it's already yours or something you find at a flea market, a tag sale or even on the curb.
"It's like a recipe. If you don't have a solid base, you have nothing. That's the most important thing," says Matthew. "There are three things you need to look at: the frame, the springs and the style. This is your base."
Check the frame. The first thing you need to do when you look at a piece is turn it upside down. Peel back the black piece of fabric underneath so you can see if it has a solid, wood-jointed frame. You don't want pine or plywood.
Check the material. Feel the back. If it feels like crackers when you squeeze it, the foam inside has petrified and it means the piece needs to be stripped to the frame. If you bought it for $50, it'll be $500 to get redone so it's not worth it. However, if it feels like hair, it could be horsehair which makes it a good piece by default. Most everything made in horsehair will have a good, solid wood frame.
Check the springs. "You want coil springs, not zig-zag or webbing," Matthew suggests. The ones on this chair are zig-zag, so Matthew knew right away that it wasn't worth redoing.
Matthew did find a different piece that he knew was worth the investment. The owners had already put it out for the trash so they were more than happy to have him take it away! After bringing it back to his store, Matthew makes this old couch look like new with some new fabric, springs and stuffing! Watch the video and find out what he did!
Thinking of redoing your old couch? "There are three reasons why people get things reupholstered: Sentimental value, it fits their space or it has financial value," says Matthew, who offers these additional tips:
When researching an upholstery shop, always go on referral. Ask around; never rely on the yellow pages or an ad in the paper alone.
Visit the studio and ask to observe how the shop does their work:
Make sure they are stripping the pieces to the frame and rebuilding, not just putting new fabric over the existing, old fabric.
If they are working with foam, make sure they are working with blue foam not white foam.
If they are working with hair, make sure they are using double-stop style stitch horsehair and not rubberized hair.
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