Reupholstering a piece of furniture is like doing a major home renovation (on a much smaller scale of course). The “bones” or frame of the house will generally stay the same, but gutting and renovating from the frame is like getting a brand new house. With that comes many decisions that need to be made, like what cabinets to put in the kitchen, what tiles to use in the bathroom, can anything be salvaged from the original house? The options seem to be (and maybe are) endless.
Reupholstering a sofa or chair is much the same. It’s like getting a brand new piece of furniture and have options to specify it to your liking. I try to help my clients as much as possible to make those decisions. One big decision is to tuft or not to tuft.
What is tufting? Tufting can be defined as…
The process of drawing a cord through a deep cushion giving high puffs of padding and small low valleys where .the cord is drawn. Names are given to tufting describing the shape of the tuft such as “diamond,” “biscuit,” or “square.” Buttons are often attached to cords to highlight the tufting design.
What are some reason to tuft?
- You want to keep the original integrity or look of the sofa.
- You love look the look of tufting. Full stop. Do it.
- The sofa/chair/headboard would loose a lot of it’s appeal, like the Chesterfield below. This classic piece would loose a ton of its charm without the tufting.
Reasons not to tuft:
- You feel impartial to tufting and want to keep reupholstery costs as low as possible. Tufting is labour intensive so adds about 10-20% to the cost of the upholstery job. Not a huge amount of money if you love tufting, but a decent enough savings if you’re impartial.
- You want to modernize the sofa/chair. No tufting is more streamlined and less fussy looking so reupholstering without the tufting can give an antique piece a new modern look.
- You are using a patterned fabric. Let the pattern speak for itself without adding any unnecessary detail of tufting.
Ahhhh….look how clean and elegant the non-tufted sofa below looks.
Tufting would not be a friend to this Chevron-print fabric covered sofa.
How to decide?
- Look around. See what sofas or chairs appeal to you. Are you drawn to more traditional pieces or more modern designs?
However, saying that, not all tufting is traditional. For instance, the Restoration Hardware sofa below is not your Granny’s tufted sofa.
- Think about the fabric you are using and how it will look with tufting.
The tufting works with the overall look of this wing back settee, enhancing the patchwork pattern.
Regardless, I think it is a tuft (lame wannabe pun intended) decision, like choosing the flooring for your new home. Think about it cautiously.
AND, if you could help me make my decision on the sofa below, that would be great! What do you think? Should I keep the tufting or get rid of it all together for a more streamlined look? I’ve been agonizing of this decision for weeks!
Or maybe half and half, like the one below?
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