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How to reupholster a recliner chair

Home All How to reupholster a recliner chair

We have several Master Upholsterers in our workshop, all time-served in all kinds of reupholstery as well as having a particular speciality. For example, Cliff, who has been at Plumbs for more than 10 years, spends around a third of his time on recliner reupholstery. Recliners are much-loved pieces of furniture!

Reupholster recliner chair – or recliner chair covers?

As well as spot-cleaning and dry cleaning, there are two main ways to keep your recliner chair or recliner sofa looking and feeling great, and prolonging their lifespan.

1. While the inner workings (the mechanisms) are all fairly similar, it’s the style, fabric and quality of the upholstery that can make you reluctant to part with it even when it starts getting lumpy and threadbare. If it gets to the lumpy and threadbare stage, you need to reupholster your recliner chair.

2. However, if the chair is still quite young or it’s not used regularly, you might be able to keep them looking good with new loose covers – washable, fitted recliner chair covers you can remove and replace yourself. More about this further down.

The process of recliner upholstery

Before your recliner chair or sofa ever reaches our workshop, it will have been assessed by one of our local consultants at your home. This is a free service that’s designed to help you get the most out of your reupholstery. You can book a consultant’s visit by your area’s local representative on our website.

1. Assessment

When your recliner arrives in our workshop, the Master Upholsterer who will be working on your furniture will review the paperwork and photos submitted by your consultant.

The upholsterers next give the recliner a thorough inspection, which involves stripping it down to the frame. This stage of recliner chair reupholstery is also called ‘unpicking’. They remove the fabric and foam carefully, so they can examine the condition of the frame and springs. The original fabric goes to the cutters.

2. Cosmetic repairs

Time and use have probably taken their toll on the frame. Now the fabric has been removed, the upholsterer can see if anything needs attention. They will inspect the joints and tighten them if they’re loose. They’ll check there are no splits in the timer and replace wood if necessary.

Recliner chair mechanism repairs

We always remove the chair mechanism, partly so it doesn’t get damaged during the reupholstery process, but also so we can check it over. We’ll blow the dust out, clean it, lubricant it and make sure it’s still working.

3. Fabric

At Plumbs, our cutters and sewers work closely together in pairs or small teams. Once the cutter has received the original fabric from the upholsterer, they’ll carefully unpick all the seams, inspecting it. They’ll note how the pieces go together and if there are any quirks that will need to be replicated when the new recliner upholstery is sewn together.

The original fabric is used as a template to create the new upholstery. The cutters – with a keen eye for detail – prepare the new pieces of fabric for the recliner reupholstery. They’ll lay the original fabric onto the new and start cutting the pieces out, aligning patterns where necessary. If there’s anything the sewers need to know, the cutters will brief them when they deliver them to the sewer.

4. Preparing the frame

Meanwhile, downstairs, the Master Upholsterers are preparing the frame for the recliner chair reupholstery. After any repairs have been made to the joints and timber, the springs will be checked and replaced if necessary. We keep a wide selection of pocket (coil) and serpentine (also known as sinuous or zig zag springs) springs on site.

At this stage in the recliner reupholstery, the Master Upholsterer will also replace the hessian, and affix and shape the foam or other filling material, as defined by the customer order.

5. Fitting the fabric kit

The cutter and sewer team send the fabric kit to the upholsterer. The fabric kit comprises all the pieces of fabric needed to complete the recliner reupholstery – the wings (if any), back, arms and seat. All the visible seams are finished and ready.

Our upholsterer will begin fitting the fabric kit to the recliner frame, piece by piece. Because the new pieces were cut to the exact size of the old, they are the correct fit; on the restored frame, the snugness of the fit will be exactly as it was when the chair was brand new. Each piece is stapled securely and visible seams are hand-sewn.

6. Quality check

The Master Upholsterer will check his own work before sending the recliner chair reupholstery to be quality checked. Our Quality Checkers are trained to inspect every detail and make sure the finished recliner reupholstery is the standard it should be – like seams, castors and buttons. The recliner mechanism will also have been put back inside the chair and they’ll check that it’s working properly.

Recliner reupholstery near me

Reupholstery is the perfect way to revive a much loved piece of furniture, without compromising on the comfort and style of the original design. It’s much cheaper than buying a new recliner and better for the environment (it doesn’t go into landfill). Plus, our recliner reupholstery service comes with a 3 Year Quality Guarantee.

How much does it cost to reupholster a recliner chair?

Replacing the upholstery on a recliner chair or recliner couch is more expensive than loose covers because it involves stripping the chair down to its frame and rebuilding it. This is a specialised job to get it right.

It’s impossible to give you a generalised reupholster-recliner cost because of all the variables involved:

  • The age and condition of your recliner chair or couch, especially the frame but also the springs and mechanism
  • The style of your recliner chair – does it have simple lines or will it require complex tailoring?
  • Your choice of reupholstery fabric colour and pattern
  • Your choice of finishing touches and details, like piping and valances
  • Whether you want additional scatter cushions, antimacassars or curtains in the same or complementary fabric

The wide choices available to you, and the particulars of your furniture, is why we encourage you to take advantage of your free Plumbs consultation. There’s no hard sell – they’re here to help.

Recliner chair covers

Unfortunately, some recliner chairs and couches aren’t suitable for removable, washable loose covers. This is due to the way the furniture is designed and built – there’s no suitable way to secure the covers or tailor them to the shape.

However, some pieces are suitable for recliner chair covers. Ask your local Plumbs consultant – they will be able to confirm what your options are and help you plan a way forward.

Free swatches and a free consultation

Why not browse our reupholstery fabrics and shortlist a few favourites? We’ll send you a free swatch pack of your chosen samples in the post.

When you’re ready to talk through your options and order your recliner reupholstery or loose covers, it’s time to book a free visit from your local consultant. They have a lot of experience and can make sure your sofa gets the makeover you deserve.

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