Upholstery 101: All the Essentials You Need to Know
Considering a do-it-yourself upholstery project? We consulted with upholstery expert Lauren Siegel of Save My Seat for an overview of the craft
Ever wonder what’s beneath the fabric of an upholstered chair or couch? Those layers of horsehair, hand-tied coil spring, tacks, webbing, and foam are generally the internal makeup of upholstered pieces. All of those details equate to a whole lot of labor, meaning that reupholstering an existing piece often won’t be less expensive than purchasing a new one. Upholstery is worth the expense if you’re restoring a beloved piece or simply prefer the bones of antique or vintage furnishings. If you’re ready to pull the trigger on a furniture makeover, here’s what you need to know—from fabric to foam and trim—before you go.
Key PartsFamiliarize yourself with the makeup of a chair:
- Jute webbing is used on the bottom and sides of the chair. Webbing holds up the coil springs on the seat.
- Coil springs are hand tied with an eight-way tie.
- Coil springs are topped with burlap and decking
- Sinuous springs are used on the back of the chair.
- The chair’s back contains burlap, and then a piece of 1-inch medium soft foam with cotton and Dacron on top for padding.
- Cotton, wool and muslin can add shape to arms and chair backs. Using cotton and wool with muslin can also be used to shape an arm or chair back if you want to create an exaggerated curve.