Tips when Having your Furniture Upholstered

Mar 13, 2018 | Design Interiors, DIY/Projects, News

yellow chair retro 60s style home living room

There’s been a hint of Spring in the air these last few days here with blue skies and a few flowers emerging from the ground which always turns my mind to what I can change around in the house. What have I become a bit un – enamoured with ? What can I change to make a difference without always doing up the whole room. So I have put together a post with tips when having your furniture upholstered.

Being a textiles obsessive as you may know, I’m usually making new blinds or curtains and more often than not having a piece of furniture reupholstered. It can completely transform the look of a room and add a lovely fresh feel to get the inspiration flowing. This month I had one one of my favourite chairs covered in fabulous Riko Sunflower yellow fabric by Scion and it’s really cheered up the space.

When I’m looking at fabrics there are some factors I take in to consideration before choosing the right one. For this chair I considered lots of different textures and hues as I’d like to keep it covered in this fabric for some time. It has to work with our current colour scheme and some other palette changes that are on the way …

This list could be helpful for anything you might be considering. After all it can be a bit of a minefield with so many beautiful versatile colours and prints to choose from. I always feel slightly overwhelmed by choice and want to use them all .. hehe.

Cosy armchair yellow grey living room

Test of time.

If you want your lovingly covered piece to stay fabulous for as long as possible, it’s important to check the credentials ! You’ll want something strong and durable – and if you have pets and or kids then can it be cleaned easily ?

Naturally, thicker fabrics will stand the test of time better. So a woven material as opposed to a printed cotton for example.

This Scion fabric in particular is Polyester and cotton and is perfect for covering a chair.

teal cup and saucer sweetie and willow

Colour Schemes.

For a nice relaxed feel in the room then choose similar tones to what you are already working with. The rule for a harmonious look is 4 shades close together. For example blue, blue greens, green and yellow green. Or if you want a more energetic overall vibe then opposites like blue, red and yellow. Choose a predominant colour ( if you don’t have one already ) for your sofa or armchair and add accessories around that.

I have gone for just yellow for the armchair with grey accessories being the rug and throw – both from Wayfair. The room although is South facing still doesn’t get 100 % light all year round so I have decided after years of trying to brighten it, to embrace the light and so will be painting the room a subtle shade of grey too soon.

Pops of blue around add an extra bit of depth. This vintage style cup and saucer is from Sweetpea & Willow.

Yellow chair living room retro mid century style

Samples and measuring.

You should always be able to access samples especially if you’re looking to buy online. Usually they are free if you’re ordering up to about 5 but otherwise there’s a minimal charge for each. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do this before buying metres. Once a fabric is cut it is usually non returnable – so make sure you order enough too. The textures and colours in reality are sometimes different to how it appears. Going back to my first point about whether it’ll last – you’ll only be able to tell really if you’ve checked it out first hand.

Regarding patterned fabric – you will potentially need more to pattern match. Bear this in mind as you don’t want to be short so make sure you order enough.

cosy armchair yellow grey room retro mid century

Fire retardant ?

Before your furniture is upholstered, you can always check this to make sure the material is safe and fire retardant. All upholstery fabrics are produced to standard fire retardant regulations but they can be ‘FR ‘ treated to increase their safety if needed for say a hotel or restaurant. It’s a good idea to check with the company if you’re not sure on the levels needed for your project.

art & Hue print Southbac centre Royal festival hall

Mixing it up. Old and new.

Adding some fun, if it’s an old piece of furniture or it’ll be in a room full of contemporary things – then maybe shake things up and use a retro style print like this one form Art & Hue – they offer a choice of colours to suit your room with most of their pictures. Love their Pop Art. Do check them out.

If it’s vintage all the way so far in the room then maybe think to use a modern style print. It adds a totally different dynamic. Of course, there’s always good ol’ Pinterest if you want to see how this can work beautifully.

Hope this is helpful and that you like my newly upholstered armchair ?

One extra piece of extra advice is to ask for what is left over from the fabric if someone is upholstering for you. You can make cushions from it and it’s always handy to have the swatch if you need to colour match while you’re out shopping for other accessories.

Do you have anything that you’d love have upholstered soon ?

Lucy x

I was gifted the fabric, rug, throw, cup and saucer and unframed print. All opinions as ever are my own.



  1. Stacey Sheppard

    I love how much a difference it can make just by adding or changing up a few textiles. Your chair looks amazing in that beautiful yellow fabric.

    • lucylovesya

      Thanks so much, Stacey. Yes it is great how changing a room is not so daunting when you realise it doesn’t have to be everything new :) x

  2. Oldfashionedsusie

    So many things to consider, I’d have just chosen some vintage stuff and then probably regretted it as it’s wear out quickly! Useful post! Thanks xx

    • lucylovesya

      Well, yes it might if it’s not a strong fabric. Thanks, Susie! x

  3. Carole King

    Love your chair! Love the colour. Also some great tips here too. Great post. x

  4. Kirsty

    I love this!!!! DID you upholster the chair yourself? I really want to learn how to do that!

    • lucylovesya

      Thank you, Kirsty. I didn’t but I reckon I probably could as I do sew and love working with textiles x

  5. Karen

    What a brilliantly useful post! Love the tip on leftover fabric for cushion covers – great way to avoid waste

  6. Kate

    Love this vibrant yellow fabric Lucy – such a beautiful way to refresh an old piece and breathe new life into a decor scheme too x

  7. Becky at PinksCharming

    It looks so fantastic, what a lovely colour! I have a vintage Ercol suite that I want to get upholstered. I dread to think how much it will cost though – three arm chairs and a two seater sofa. Pricey I bet!

    • lucylovesya

      Hmm… yes could be pricey but maybe not as much as you’d think. How lovely ot have an Ercol suite! x

  8. Tamsin Allen

    Reupholstering is such a good option for a quick but dramatic change in a room; especially if you have a piece of furniture that you love but just needs a bit of updating. Love the yellow!

  9. Pati

    I love this chair so much and thank you so much for a helpful tips i am planning giving it a gonat upholstering a chair for my mum in law

    • lucylovesya

      What a lovely treat for her, Pati! x

  10. Medina

    Do you know I’ve alwYs wanted to upholster something large – like my old sofa chair but never have the confidence. Thanks so much for all of these tips

    • lucylovesya

      No problem. Thanks for reading, Medina x

  11. Jenny Kakoudakis

    ok HOW did you manage to recover the chair so professionally?!! you have piping in there too… I have been trying to recover one of two chairs that belonged to my grandma and finding so difficult… it’s like I do one small side every weekend, it’s the never ending project. It would cost me 400-500 per chair to send it away and have it done professionally so NOT worth it in my eyes but the old beige fabric they have on is a no-no!

    • lucylovesya

      Haha, I didn’t do it… that’s how :) But I thinkI could as I sew and have covered things before. The man who covered this worked for Multiyork for years so I felt he would do a better job! Thanks, Jenny! Good luck with the covering x

  12. Natalia

    Fab tips – that chair is beautiful and I love the pop of yellow!

  13. Anna

    What a fabulous armchair! Gorgeous colour. Very useful tips with regards to reupholstering.
    Definitely, it’s worth investing in good quality fabrics!

    • lucylovesya

      It really is, Anna! Thanks so much x

  14. Donna Ford

    Love that yellow! I reupholstered my own chair last year. It was such hard work!!! Great tips though and have 2 other chairs that need some work. Not sure when they’ll EVER get done!

    • lucylovesya

      I’m sure they will eventually! Thanks Donna x

  15. CK

    I am all about reupholstering and saving furniture! This yellow is such a refreshing color, and the texture suits that chair perfectly.

  16. Fiona Mostyn

    The chair looks great and thanks for the useful advice.

  17. Natalie

    This chair us gorgeous! Loving the yellow colour x

  18. Natalie

    This chair is gorgeous! Loving the yellow colour x

  19. Mary Middleton | hellopeagreen

    Really helpful advice here as it is daunting to most people when they head to a store to choose a fabric. I wish I had the skill to cover something myself…..

  20. Craig

    You are definitely right..these 5 advice’s is a must before upholstering a furniture, it need some requirement in order to avoid mistakes..



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