Accidental Reupholstery

Before-and-after-upholsterI thought arts & craft involved sugar paper and safety scissors until I was trawling Ebay for a small couch to go in our living room.

Having just invested a good wodge of cash on our lovely new Sofas & Stuff sofa, we couldn’t stretch to a 2-seater in the same style.  Queue Ebay to the rescue!   I was searching on vintage / antique seating  to try to find a different sofa style (rather than look like we’d tried but failed to find a match) when I happened on this little gem.

It’s of the Arts & Craft style, so circa 1900 which is about the same period as our house – right at home.  Amazingly we nabbed it at just £50, which was a bargain even with the shipping costs from Scotland.

The only down side was that what we thought was a William Morris style cover, was actually just a sheet covering it for the picture (probably should have read the item description more closely).  So what arrived was a dated 1960’s avocado green cover which was ripped and in serious need of some TLC.

Luckily I discovered the talented upholsterer Heather Linnett, who replaced the worn foam and created brand new covers for the two seat pads. We chose a pale grey woollen fabric with a light check from Romo to complement our main sofa and bring a bit of pattern to the room without overwhelming the largely neutral grey / blue colour scheme.

Swatch 2

So many sellers on Ebay take vintage sofas and armchairs that are past their prime and get them reupholstered in more modern fabrics and sell on for a profit, but if you can find a good local upholsterer it’s easy to arrange yourself.   Romo, Just Fabrics, Ada and Ina, and Fabrics & Papers are great starting points for upholstery fabric – you can order samples through their websites, or a good upholster will also have swatch books.     So long as the piece is structurally sound, it’s a great way to source stylish additional seating without stretching to a matching set or pricey restored vintage items.


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Comments: 2

  1. Katy Says:
    June 3rd, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve just ordered some Romo fabric. I’ve been really struggling to find fabric for curtains for ages and then when I saw you link I ordered a few swatches and actually loved them all – it was hard to pick. Just need to decide a reason to justify buying the other ones now. Thanks!

  2. kath Says:
    June 14th, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the comment Katie! Glad you found the link helpful. I had a shortlist of about 15 from Romo when I ordered swatches- took me forever to decide!

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