Ask Estee: How to Select an Upholsterer

Our Editor-at Large knows a thing or two about custom upholstery and how to select the right craftsmen for the job.

 _promo Q. What are some things to keep in mind when looking for an upholsterer? You know that gorgeous sofa that you spent a ton of money on and love so much, but your child spilled grape juice on it a few years ago and it's never looked the same? Or that chair that's been in your family for generations, but the fabric leaves much to be desired? Don't let these setbacks keep you from enjoying the beauty of these pieces. A good upholsterer is the answer to all your furniture fabric woes. When looking for an upholster, there are several things you need to know and to ask before you hand over your prized piece.
Ask for Experts: Being connected to someone who is educated in their craft can make a world of difference when it comes to updating or refreshing your favorite furniture pieces. Make sure they have a portfolio of their work so that you can get a sense of their previous experience and style. Don't be afraid to ask for references. Experienced and successful craftsmen are always willing to offer up the names of their satisfied customers. A website like Angie's List is a good place to start your search and begin reading reviews. Bring the Focus to the Fabric: When it comes to upholstery, fabric is money! Make sure they have extensive knowledge about different fabrics and different methods of upholstery used to build or recover furniture pieces. The more fabric needed for a job, the more it costs, and often a lot of that material goes to waste due to poor cuts or an inexperienced upholsterer. The pros know how to use the least amount of fabric and get the same job completed with less waste. Stay on Budget: To further keep costs down, consider using an online resource to purchase your fabric yardage. Beautiful quality designer fabrics can be found at Calico Corners with lines from the likes of Thom Filicia, Charlotte Moss, and Nate Berkus. So don't stress too much about that juice stain on your couch, because now you have the knowledge to know where to go and what to ask to get it looking like new once again! estee-signature-layout Photograph: Justin Coit
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