Ready to Reupholster Furniture? Tips, Trends & Trend-Setter Inspiration | Sunbrella


Refreshing a piece of furniture—either a vintage piece or something current that’s been well-loved and used—is an eco-friendly choice and can give your interior designs a fun, unique look. Whether you’re interested in learning how to reupholster furniture or are working with a trusted professional to make your reupholstering furniture dreams come true, here are some of the reupholstery ideas, trends and benefits. 

It’s The Green Way to Refresh

Reupholstering furniture is the epitome of the popular sustainability mantra, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” It makes sense: when you take an existing piece of furniture and cover it with fresh fabric, the materials used to build that sofa, chair or bench frame won’t end up in a landfill. Plus, when you choose a durable, long-lasting material like Sunbrella, you can rest assured that the newly recovered piece of furniture will stay fresh and beautiful for years to come. Because Sunbrella performance fabric has built-in durability features like UV-resistance, fade-resistance and easy cleanability, whether you choose a solid like Pashmina Flannel or a modern pattern like Authentic Indigo, you can rest assured that your reupholstery project will stand the test of time.  

Don’t limit your reupholstery ideas to indoors. Sunbrella also makes performance fabric suited for outdoor environments.

When you’re thinking of a seasonal refresh, don’t forget your patio and outdoor furniture. From new cushions to pillows, fresh upholstery can dramatically update your furniture’s overall look and feel.

Vintage Vibes 

Victorian, midcentury modern, Federal, Shaker, Art Deco—the list of beloved vintage furniture styles goes on and on. When you find a piece that you love, don’t despair if the original fabric has seen better days. Reupholstering furniture is a great way to capitalize on the “great bones” of older pieces, while updating the overall look. The good news? The combinations of vintage furniture and new Sunbrella fabric are just about endless—they’re only limited by your imagination. You might choose to pair a sculptural midcentury “Egg” chair with an equally mod fabric like Divide Reef. Or, you could take an unexpected turn, covering a curvy Regent armchair in Sunbrella Agra Pebble, a pattern reminiscent of the ever-popular animal print. When you discover how to reupholster furniture, you’re making a piece of furniture entirely your own.   

A pair of vintage arm chairs reupholstered with pale blue, patterned Sunbrella fabrics.

Vintage furniture pieces come to life with fresh Sunbrella fabric upholstery to complete this window vignette.

Catch up with Trends

Reupholstering furniture is a great way to keep your home up-to-date on current trends. You can hop on the 2020 trend train by adding Sunbrella fabrics to your existing furniture. For instance, to be up on the textural trend, you might choose to cover a sofa with Dimple Smoke or Chartres Rose. Or, you could stay on-trend by covering a dining chair or ottoman in Blend Lagoon or Chartres Glacier. Both are in the families of soothing blue and green shades that evoke wellness and calm, a major trend for 2020.

A neutral living space with textured Sunbrella fabric sofa and Sunbrella fabric upholstered pillows in blue hues evokes wellness and calmness.

A neutral-colored, textured sofa creates a soothing foundation for your living space allowing you to layer in shades of blue hues. Steve Cordony curates a calming space using Sunbrella fabrics.

Tips for Success

It’s smart to evaluate your project before getting started. First, you’ll want to decide if it’s a DIY reupholstery project—in general, these will be simpler projects like flat-bottomed dining chairs—or if you need to work with a trusted upholstery professional in your area. It’s likely you’ll want to engage a pro for more complex projects like sofas and couches, chairs and anything with tufts, pleats, piping or trim. 

Looking for how to reupholster furniture inspiration? Mandi Gubler’s @vintagerevivals Instagram account offers step-by-step instructions for some projects.

Follow interior designers and design influencers for ideas and tips to get started with your own upholstery projects.

Next, consider carefully how much fabric you’ll need. If you’re covering flat-bottomed chairs, it’s simple to measure the length and width, adding a bit of margin to the total. Keep in mind that if your chosen Sunbrella fabric has a repeating pattern, you’ll want extra yardage to make sure the patterns are properly centered. Solids or textures (like Sunbrella Deauve Chalk or Depth Calypso) will need less overage because the patterns aren’t as large. If you’re working with an upholstery professional ask them for an accurate estimate of how much Sunbrella fabric you’ll need.

Suzannah Stanley showed followers how to recover these charming chairs, inspiring others to embark on their own journey of learning how to reupholster furniture.

These versatile chairs look better than ever. Influencer and blogger Suzannah Stanley refreshed them with Sunbrella performance fabric in Canvas Natural.

Follow Your Favorite Influencers for Inspiration 

If you’re stumped about how to start your reupholstery project, influencers’ accounts on Instagram, Pinterest and blogs are a great way to score on-trend reupholstery ideas. Mandi Gubler’s Vintage Revivals Instagram account is full of cool, vintage-chic redesign projects for the whole house. She’s partnered with Sunbrella to document a reupholstery project on a vintage sofa, and she’ll share the details with her 145,000 followers. Similarly, Suzannah Stanley’s Instagram account is full of DIY projects—she’s in the process of renovating a charming 1937 house and filling it with chic furnishings—including a set of plush chairs reupholstered with Sunbrella fabric. Others with reupholstering inspiration: Chairloom’s Molly Worth, a Brooklyn-based business owner who showcases one-of-a-kind reupholstery projects; Nicole Crowder, a  D.C.-based influencer with a furniture design and upholstery studio; and self-described designer, blogger, DIYer and secondhand furniture stalker,” Alisa Bovino. Follow a few of your favorite designers and prepare to be wowed with how many ideas they’ll share. 

Reupholstering furniture can really elevate your home’s style. Personalizing your spaces using the trends you are drawn to, refined with new ideas from your favorite interior design influencers and giving new life to furniture can have a big impact. To see more inspired design content, follow @sunbrella on social channels!

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