If you find yourself in the position where you’re looking to upholster or reupholster a piece of furniture but have no clue what your options are, we’ve got you covered! Purchasing your own materials can be a bit intimidating if you’re new to the world of upholstery or design. You have to factor in the size of the furniture piece, yardage, material specifications, and more before going to the upholstery shop!
We’re no strangers to the DIY or COM communities. Many people are familiar with the term DIY, but not as many know the roots of COM, which stands for Customer’s Own Material. This is an acronym frequently used within the furniture industry to signify if a project is using a graded-in fabric or a COM.
A graded-in material is a textile that has already been applied and tested on a particular piece of furniture.
If the fabric holds up to testing, the manufacturer will add it to a list of graded-in materials. When shopping for furniture, you are usually given a few fabric options to choose between. These are the graded-in materials. Believe it or not, you are not limited to only those specific materials.
Bring your selected fabric to your local upholstery shop and they’ll be happy to answer any question you may have about your project.
Let’s say you walk into a furniture store and decide to purchase a new sofa but aren’t in love with the select material options. We first recommend you ask the salesperson if you can see any fabric alternates. Sometimes you can upgrade your textile options for a small fee. If you find that isn’t an option, have no fear, you can always incorporate a COM into the project!
If you’d like, you can always ask the furniture manufacturer if you can work with them to have a COM added to the furniture piece. Having this as an option would make the process easier for you, but if it isn’t feasible, no worries, there’s a way to have your dream sofa and your favorite textile.
Here are the steps to take when you’re purchasing a furniture item and would like to have a COM textile upholstered onto the piece.
We know how intimidating this process can be, but we want to make it easy for fellow design lovers to make material selections that go along with their desired look. There can be a lot of coordination involved in making this project come together, but it’s always worth it in the end!
You don’t have to reupholster the furniture yourself to be considered a DIY professional.
Sometimes, DIY exists within the selection of materials and taking the project into your own hands to achieve your desired result. There are quite a few advantages to tackling the task on your own! Here are a few of our favorite reasons to DIY (by hand or not) your next upholstery project:
We shared the reupholstery process for anyone selecting a new piece of furniture to update, but what about those of us who have an existing item we’d like to refresh? Or maybe you’re someone who enjoys the thrill of the hunt for vintage furniture?
No problem, you can begin the reupholstery process with furniture or textiles first. Either way, you’re going to end up with a revamped piece of furniture to love!
Let’s say you start the upholstery process by selecting a material you’d love to use in your upcoming furniture project. Here are the steps we recommend you take to complete your upholstery project:
We’re big believers in supporting your creative vision. It can be easy to feel disadvantaged when you’re beginning a project with an antique or heirloom piece of furniture. We appreciate the care our readers put into redesigning unique or sentimental furniture items and expect to support you in your textile specification journey.
There can be a variety of skilled craftsmen in your area, and we want to be sure you’re hiring the right person for your project. These are a few things to consider when shopping for a furniture upholsterer.
Going into a conversation with a craftsman when you’re not confident in this type of project can be intimidating. We understand how important it is to armor our clients with strong recommendations, and we hope this list helps you in navigating your local market to find the right person for your upholstery needs.
Question: How do you know if a furniture manufacturer allows you to use a COM?
Answer: When reviewing the specifications for a piece of furniture, there will be notes on any product alternatives available. This can be wood color, material type, decorative accents, you name it. If you cannot find any notes about COM in the fabric specifications, you can always reach out to the manufacturer to ask if the answer is no. Follow our step-by-step instructions above on upholstering a piece of furniture with your COM.
Question: Is it more affordable to purchase your own materials to upholster furniture?
Answer: If you’re working with a furniture manufacturer and are looking to reupholster a new piece of furniture, chances are you will be paying a bit more for the COM. In the case that you have to have a separate upholstery shop apply the COM, then that will also be an additional cost. If you take the antique route and select a material to be applied, this can be more affordable than purchasing a new piece of furniture. If you’re concerned about the budget, price out the two options to see which one works best for you and your project.
Question: Where do you buy fabric for reupholstery?
Answer: There are several places to source upholstery materials from! As for fabric, leather, and faux leather, we have an abundance of options on our website. If you’re looking to find the perfect material for your next project, take a look here. Be sure to utilize the filters when
Question: If I want to reupholster my furniture on my own, how do I determine how much material to purchase?
Answer: This can be tricky as there is no secret formula because each piece of furniture has a different shape and angles. Your best bet is to use the existing upholstery on the furniture item as a guide. If you can remove the existing upholstery without damaging the individual pieces of fabric, you can keep these as a guide for yardage. Keep each individual piece and measure them based on yard calculations. As always, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit extra on hand. Keep the fabric pieces for when your new material arrives and updating the upholstery will be even easier! Use the existing pieces as a stencil to trace and cut out the new fabric.
Question: How do I find a local upholsterer?
Answer: We’re big believers in word-of-mouth so ask around to see if anyone you know has good recommendations. Take a few notes from our list above on what to look for when meeting with upholsterers. This will help streamline the process and help you complete your dream upholstery project with ease!
We know how tempting it is to walk into a furniture store and select an item to show up at your door just a few weeks later. This process can be simple but rarely gives way to creative control.
Our DIY community likes to take things into their own hands and design in a unique way to them and their tastes. If this sounds like you, then we recommend you buy your own materials when reupholstering a piece of furniture and head into your local upholstery shop to take your project to the next level.