How to Choose The Right Upholsterer

If you are not a DIY-er or you are – but have a project that is just a little over your skillset, or toolbox, you can always contract out the work to a professional upholsterer. Furniture upholstery is something that lives with you for a long time, so you want to make sure that it is done right – not just aesthetically, but technically, so that the craftsmanship endures throughout the years.

Although we are confident that most advertised upholsterers are competent, since we work with many of them, some may be simply better qualified for your particular project.

 Here are a few pointers on how to hire the best upholsterer.

Professional Operation: If you search online, and not just popping into your local neighborhood upholsterer who store front, you may have driven by a millions times, you should look into their business before showing up at their door. Check their website and then give them a call with any additional questions. Below is a good guideline of what to look for in your decision process.

Years in Business: The longer an upholsterer has been in business means that they have more experience behind them and are obviously doing a good job and with a loyal clientele sustaining them. And as with anything, the more experience someone has, the better results you will most likely get.

Prior Work (portfolio of samples): There is nothing more telling than to see the actual work that has been done in the past. It lets you assess quality, technique, and finishing practices. It also gives you a good idea of what type of projects they have done.

Upholstery Specialization: Some may specialize in one type of upholstering or have carved out a specific niche for themselves; for example, marine upholstery or automotive work may be the bulk of the clientele. In which case, this may not be the upholsterer to give a turn of the century vintage, tufted, chaise lounge to. There are upholsterers that actually specialize in restoration work, working only with period pieces.

Custom Fabric Options: Upholsterers will work with certain fabric mills and suppliers and have fabric options to provide or recommend for your project. You can also bring your own fabric, which they should be more than willing to work with. If you are not sure if a certain fabric is appropriate for your particular job, consult with them first. You don’t want them to say they can’t work with fabric already bought.

Communication Style: With any large, custom project that is personal, communication is key. Make sure you are getting the answers you want, the advice you want, and didn’t know you needed and most importantly a great can-do attitude. If you feel like you are a bother – don’t bother. Keep looking.

Competitive / Comparative Pricing: Make sure that they give you a ballpark of your project cost before handing over your project. You don’t want to give someone a blank cheque, so to speak, to be surprised later. You can also shop around for the best price if it is not in your range.

Guarantee / Warranty: If an upholsterer is good at what they do, they will offer some form of guarantee, or promise of work delivered in some form of warranty. Professionalism should be part of hb rating. 

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Vinyl and Vegan Leather

Animal free, imitation designer leather hide.

Furniture and fashion accessory designers that are looking to replicate the look and feel of leather with realistic alternatives now have more options as the push towards animal-free products grows stronger. Real leather has long been associated with quality, durability and luxury, but luckily thanks to innovative textile manufacturers comparable synthetic options are abundantly and readily available.

What is Vinyl and Vegan Leather?

Vinyl is synthetic fabric made of ethylene derived from natural gas and chlorine, having a plastic face and for the most part a fabric or mesh back. Vinyl comes in a variety of types, textures, weights and finishes and covers a wide range of uses, from automotive, marine, furniture and fashion to industrial and institutional applications.

Vegan Leather is the more politically correct, on trend term to reference alternative or faux leather, that speaks to animal advocates   It also encompasses a variety of types for many applications.

Leatherette is a synthetic material made from vinyl or some type of plastic. You may also hear leatherette referred to as faux leather, fake leather, synthetic leather, alternative leather or pleather. It generally denotes a lighter weight.

Pleather is made from oil in the form of plastic – either PVC or PU polyurethane. Pleather is simply a slang term for “plastic leather”, made by bonding the plastic to a fabric backing.   The fashion industry has embraced it for its versatility and pliability..

Microsuede / Ultra suede is a soft synthetic fabric that is meant to mimic genuine leather suede. Depending on it’s finish it can also be stain resistant and UV resistant.

Features and Benefits

Faux leather offers a number of advantages compared to real leather. These would include the following:

Economical – Faux leather is typically much more affordable than real leather.

Durable – Faux leather is very durable and will last a long time. It can withstand scratches and scrapes that would mar genuine leather. It is not prone to crack or peel like leather and is used in industrial and commercial applications.

Low Maintenance – Faux leather materials can usually be wiped clean with a rag and warm water. Unlike genuine leather, it does not retain moisture, so faux leather items will not become warped or cracked. Some of the new performance faux leathers can remove ink, liquid and food stains with only a dry cloth.

High Performance – Faux leather materials are usually designed and meant for rigorous commercial applications that traditional fabrics cannot perform.

Realistic Replica– Faux leather has been modified and improved with variations in grain, color and textures to reflect a visual appearance with a realistic leather quality.

Uniform Appearance – Faux leather will provide a uniform look since all the pieces come from the same stock.

Fashion Forward – Faux leathers can also be printed providing enormous variety of textures and patterns. In addition, because faux leather is a synthetic material, it can be dyed a rainbow of colors. This fashion forward approach allows for more freedom when decorating residential or commercial interiors.

Waterproof / Weatherproof – Faux leather will not fade as easily in ultra violet (UV) light and is water and stain resistant.

Using trim in fabric design

Using Trim in Fabric Design

The word “trim” implies something less than essential, but it’s a mistake to treat it like an afterthought when it comes to your decor. The right fabric trim can be that element that brings everything together. Think of it as the last puzzle piece that clicks into place and finally lets you see the full picture.

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High Performing Patio Fabrics

There is nothing better than basking in the heat and soaking up the sun. But, just the way you need to wear sunscreen to make sure you are filtering out any harmful UV rays, the fabric on your patio chairs need to be protected and performing as well. There are a lot of outdoor furniture fabrics on the market, you can buy them by content type or there
are some notable name brands that you can specifically look for as well.

Vinyl Fabric on the Frontline

Fabrics on the Frontline

Now that the lockdowns are starting to lift, there has never been more scrutiny and a brighter spotlight on how businesses will uphold the new safety and sanitary measures, both for their employees and their customers.

Eco-Friendly Upholstery Fabric

More and more people, from professional designers to DIYers are increasingly looking for environmentally friendly, sustainable upholstery that have a minimal impact on the earth. They want their space to look good, but not if it comes at the expense of the planet. So, they are moving toward more natural fabrics that are also recycled, repurposed, not carbon, water, or energy intensive, nor use toxic dyes, or chemicals, in either the processing or the finishing.

How to Clean Your Couch Upholstery

Like everything you own, including yourself, maintenance and care is the key to longevity. A couch is a major investment, so by regularly maintaining it you can keep it in it’s original ’store-bought’ state.

Kovi fabrics sling fabric for outdoor furniture

Outdoor Furniture Sling Fabrics Can Withstand the Elements

Outdoor furniture merges the comforts of the indoors with the pleasures of relaxing in nature. When the weather’s great, there’s nothing like grilling burgers and hot dogs, then staying outside to dine and watching the sunset from a prime seat on your back porch.

Order free fabric samples from KOVI Fabrics

Order Samples, Get Help Measuring Your Furniture, and Find an Upholstery Professional

KOVI Fabrics is committed to offering the best fabric shopping experience possible. We offer up to five free samples for customers, and can help you measure your furniture and find an upholstery professional.