The Alternative to Jacked Up Furniture

As soon as I walk in the door, my dog, Jack, typically greets me with a smile and a hug (some might call it jumping up on me). But I will never forget the day more than a year ago when he avoided eye contact with me and shrank off into a corner, tail tucked between his legs.

In short, Jack was hiding something. Something big.

I headed into the living room and Jack remained in the kitchen. Uh-oh, not following me was another giveaway. As I entered the room, I shrieked when I came upon the scene.

A large pile of foam and feathers were piled onto the floor. Our Jack had turned our sectional sofa into his personal chew toy. 

After months of covering up the couch carnage with throws and strategic pillow plumping, I’ve decided it’s time to make the sofa fit for company once again. It’s a good thing Jack is so cute, and that I’ve had great experiences getting furniture reupholstered.

Here’s my advice:

Choose fabric wisely. Our family uses this sofa every day, so I’m getting an indoor-outdoor fabric that can withstand lots of wear and tear. These days, performance fabric comes in lots of textures, so the one I’ve chosen feels and looks like velvet, but it’s strong as woven steel.

Sweat the details. You can always change a few things you didn’t like about your previous sofa or chair. The back pillows of this modern sofa were always a tad floppy, even before Jack sank his fangs into them, so I’m going to make them firmer. Additionally, you can always add a skirt, or welting in a contrasting fabric—it depends on your personal taste. And this is where you have a conversation with your upholsterer. Take magazine tearsheets or draw details to convey what you’re after.

Practice patience. Great upholstery is worth the wait. It’s nearly always in high demand and takes weeks longer than you think it should. But that’s especially true now that we’ve been in a pandemic and staring at our furniture for hours on end. The results of a recovered piece typically turn out better than the original.