Older furniture is enriched by the history of previous generations and new pieces quickly embrace the stories of the lives lived with them. Previously owned chairs take on the personalities of the people who sat there, and it can be hard to take the decision to replace the fabrics and fillings for fear of losing the memories you hold dear, but it is worthwhile. A tatty chair will be hidden away; recovered it will be cherished and enjoyed and it is rewarding to discover that it transforms your room, gaining a whole new lease of life when clothed in new materials.
But what fabric to choose? Choosing the right type of fabric for upholstery is just as important as finding a great design. Aiming for a lifespan of at least 5 years for upholstery is reasonable considering the cost of furniture. A thicker, slightly more robust fabric can really help with the finished look of a rounded chair for example. Thin cottons and linens with a loose weave are beautiful on curtains and loose cushions, but on chairs that require the fabric to be in tension (like a rounded back chair) this can pull the fabric out of shape and make the stitching visible. Look for fabrics that have at least a 20,000 Martindale rub will ensure your upholstery will last well.
Velvets are really popular – bright jewel colours, luxe textured, neutral velvets, and contrasting piping. Textures are interesting: tweeds, linens, and padded sewn fabrics. Faux leathers overcome the environmental issues associated with leather processing and come in a huge range of beautiful colours and metallics.
This old wing-back chair had been in the family for as long as Debbie could remember. It was her Father’s and was very dear to her, but had been covered in a colour that did not appeal and definitely seen better days. She chose a Clarke & Clarke Kingfisher Blue velvet and Georgie transformed it instantly with her upholstery skills. It has become a favourite piece for a whole new generation.