How much to recover my ugly brown chair?

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Home redecorating may not be for the brokest of Brokelynites, but that doesn’t mean we should be destined forever for the furniture we’ve had, well, forever. If you can manage to scrape together enough change (from inside that dingy couch), you might find that a living room spruce-up can do a world of good, especially with how little you’re probably leaving the house these days. So, we thought we’d find out just how much cushion change some small-scale reupholstery would actually take. We called the following upholsterers and, when possible, sent them a photo of the tired-looking chair above, purchased 10 years ago at a flea market. What follows are their quotes in order of increasing price, delivery fees if any, and the amount of time they said they’d need to do the job. What it doesn’t include: the fabric. While several of these places do sell it, we have a hunch you can do a lot better on EBay. None of these businesses has seen the chair live and in person, so it’s possible the actual prices may differ. Finally, we cannot vouch for the quality of the workmanship at any of them, because the chair is still in its pre-makeover state. For now.

F L Upholstery
1096 Broadway (corner of Dodworth St.), 718-383-5165,
$200-300 including pickup/delivery, 1 ½-2 weeks

WILLIAMSBURG (though a commenter—below—informs us it’s actually BED-STUY)
Herbert Upholstery Shop
155 Tompkins Ave (between Willoughby Ave. & Hart St.), 718-782-5896
$249 + $75 pickup/delivery, 2 weeks


544 Park Ave. (corner of Sandford St.), 718-852-4500,
$385 + $125 pickup/delivery, 2-3 weeks

Raynolds Upholstery

5602 Clarendon Rd. (at E. 56th St.), 718-629-6170,
$450 + $70 for pickup/delivery, 3-week deadline, around a week for a chair if needed

Rifi Furniture

775 Fourth Ave. (between 26th St. & 27th St.), 718-369-8282,
$400-600 including pickup/delivery, 1 week

Royal Cushions & Upholstery

1815 Coney Island Ave. (between Ave. N & Ave. O), 718-375-7866,
$450 + $60 pickup/delivery, within 2 weeks

Masters Upholstery Corp.
50 Bay Ridge Ave., #10 (corner of Narrows Ave.), 718-779-3102,
$450-550 + $100 pickup/delivery, 1½ weeks

Das Upholstery
1312 Cortelyou Rd. (between E. 13th & E. 14th Sts.), 718-284-1079,
$600 + $100 pickup/delivery, 1-2 weeks

J & Y Upholstery Workroom
552 Fifth Ave. (at 15th St.), 718-499-8304
$625 including pickup/delivery, 2-3 weeks

Gerard Theuns Upholstery

89 Atlantic Ave. (between Hicks St. & Henry St.), 718-237-4619,
$750-800 + $75 for pickup/delivery, 3-4 weeks max

So Bushwick wins this round, and Brooklyn Heights loses. (A shocker!) Next: Where to get cheap fabric?

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  1. There’s nothing frugal about this at all. I’ve bought comfortable, unique chairs on the internet for less than the cost of reupholstering that one.

  2. Mollie has a good point. It’s a pretty cool chair, though and this list is going to come in handy for a lot of people.

  3. If you’re paying more than $350 for reupholstering that chair, you’re being robbed. To Charlie-a good piece of furniture reupholstered is well worth the $$. A cheap chair is only a quick fix. Good furniture is like gold!

  4. I had a sofa upholstered by Herbert years ago and its in great condition. He’s an older retired gentleman who is quite engaging!

  5. FYI, Das Upholstery on Cortelyou apparently only takes cash. I have seen some very nice work in their shop when I’ve walked by, and just had them fix two broken dining chairs (simple wood railback chairs which I was unable to repair myself). They charged me $75 for the two chairs, which I thought was a bit excessive, but I’m attached to the chairs and need them for a set. They turned the chairs around in 2 days and the job is OK – not stellar, but fine.

  6. I used to work at an upholstery store in Greenwich, CT. The cheapest thing you could do is get it upholstered in muslin. It’ls just white fabric but it doesn’t look so bad. Make sure to check the filling of your cushions is in good conditions too. Because if they need to be changed, it might cost extra. Also they will probably tighten the springs and all that extra stuff. Where I worked we did all that for free, but some places charge extra.


  7. My experience at Gerard Theuns was very unhappy.

    He left visible rows of staples in the new fabric, making ugly seams where there had been none before (in the old upholstery).

    When I complained he took them back, took out the staples and sewed the seams, but they were still visible. At $250 per chair this was a big deal for me.

    Parts of the wooden frames of the chairs were also chipped and damaged in the process – they are Heywood Wakefields, and I was fond of them. I took them to Gerard Theuns because I thought they would be done well. Mistake.

    Now, every time I look at them, I growl. I wanted to purr.

  8. I used your recommendation and called F L Upholstery and he (Andres) was amazing. First of all, nearly 50% less expensive than the guys at Mod and the price included pick-up and delivery. Second, he did an outstanding job. He even called me mid-week to ask me if I wanted to have the arms and legs refinished (wood) which I hadn’t even thought about. Sweetest guy in the world. A++++

  9. I went with F&L as well, and have only awesome things to say about Andres. One of the nicest men I’ve ever met, seriously. Took the work so seriously – we asked him to do 4 chairs, and he came back to show us the first cushion to make sure we liked it. The work is beautiful. And I’m not joking when I say he charged 25% of what we were quoted by somebody else.

  10. Bushwick wins, but what’s the quality on the workmanship… probably poor! The average cost to reupholster that chair is approx. $350-$400…. Remember reupholster is like building a brand new chair!!! 

  11. Probably poor?

    Might be poor at the more expensive shops – like the one your clearly working for

    Remember – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!!!

  12. Just for the record….. although I have yet to meet anyone other than myself and Andie McDowell who spells her name Andie  with an ‘ie'(and yes I have met Andie McDowell) it appears that here there is yet another one. And this one has definite opinions regarding reupholstery. ‘Tis not I, Andie Miller-Chan. I bet you are intelligent, charming and interesting and have very good taste!


  13. I went with Andres at F L Upholstery, as well. His work was spectacular. I have 3 pieces–a love seat and 2 matching chairs. Included in the quote Andres provided us (when he visited to assess the cost) was the cost of another vendor to repair scratches in the burl wood legs, the fabric AND the pick up/delivery. The pieces have a lot of ribbing and absolutely everything was done to perfection. We were thrilled with his work so many thanks to the reviewers at this site who recommended Andres and his work.

  14. Andre just recovered my sofa and a chair. He is the MASTER. He is not only super nice, he is fair when it comes to pricing and meticulous when it comes to his work.

  15. For anyone still reading this years after it was posted, I was super lucky to stumble upon this and contact Andres at F L to reupholster an old loveseat. His prices and turnaround time were by far the best of anyone I contacted (three-fold), his work was excellent, and he was super pleasant to work with. Highly recommend!

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