Reupholstery – Top Tips for Doing It Well

We’re all working hard to shop more mindfully; choosing timeless products that are great quality so they last the distance.

The other part to this is repurposing and improving what we have rather than buying new. One way we can do this is by reupholstering furniture.

I love fabric, and I have a wealth of fabric knowledge – so selecting the right fabric for your upholstery project is a real joy. Here are some recent client projects, and my top tips on Reupholstering your furniture.

An old but much loved and well-built armchair originally purchased in Paris is now splendid in beautiful textural fabric accentuated by creamy chenille piping. Dressed in Warwick Fabrics, and upholstered by Burlap and Bright.

The chair as it used to look. (It was red – but is looking pink in my photo.)

This is one of a pair of a client’s classic armchairs which have been re-stuffed, the wood refinished, and the chairs beautifully adorned in a William Morris sumptuous velvet print.

Before photo bottom right.

My client had a Kovacs settee that her kids had grown up on. Although it was looking tired, Kovacs furniture is well-built and great quality. So rather than buying new, I chose a hard-wearing fabric for Graham & Sons to skilfully reupholster. This settee will now look good for years to come. Before photo bottom right.


This chair was a David Moreland design from Citta that my client purchased as she liked the design – but it was terribly uncomfortable (and boring). So my upholsterers Burlap and Bright made it comfortable by adding more foam, and we reupholstered it in a beautiful Warwick woollen fabric. A stunning result. Before photo bottom right.


  • Ensure your piece of furniture was well-made in the first place. (Don’t bother reupholstering furniture purchased from ‘cheap’ furniture stores – as it is unlikely to have been made to last). Instead, buy a 2nd-hand quality NZ-manufactured item OR a piece that was handcrafted many years ago with care.
  • It’s only worth upholstering if you really love the piece, or it’s a family heirloom that holds significance (as reupholstery does cost – but please don’t let this put you off).
  • Ensure you select a quality upholstery fabric – so your piece of furniture looks good for many years.

Reupholstering is a great way to inject personality into your home, if you select a stand-out fabric. This chair went from being a well-built Plain Jane (in cream) to being a feature in my client’s bedroom. Dressed in Sanderson and upholstered by Graham & Sons.

My client had some old rusting yellow/green chairs, that we had wet-sprayed professionally in a soft green and had the seats reupholstered in a gorgeous orange for the kids’ rooms. These are gorgeous now, 100% bespoke, and comfortable too. Before photo bottom right.

This chair was a contemporary design, which looked great but needed to be made more comfortable. Upholsterers Burlap and Bright added more foam and stuffing, and we covered it in a feature colour for the home. Before photo bottom right.

I source and purchase fabric direct from suppliers. In Wellington, I can bring fabrics to you, or meet you at a Design Library to help you select the perfect fabric. Further afield, I can select fabric and send samples to you. I have wonderful upholsterers in Christchurch, Wellington and Christchurch who I recommend and use. My consultation fee for upholstery is $195 plus gst. If you’d like to find out more, contact me through my website: