I can’t tell you how many of my clients have moved in the last year—I’ve lost count! And with a new house, of course they want and often need new furniture.
Sadly, with all the shipping and supplier issues we are seeing, wait times are now up to six months or more! Additionally, manufacturers have whittled their lines down to fewer options in order to meet production demand. The right furniture for your space may not be in that limited line.
To put it simply, “new” is just not as reliable as it once was. When people are moving or looking for a change, they need to be able to refresh their old furniture to make it look new again. And I’m going to show you how…
Rework, reupholster and reuse
When it comes to upholstered goods, I always say, ‘a frame is a frame is a frame.’ If you have a sturdy, hardwood frame sofa, it can be rebuilt to look like any sofa. Sure, it’s going to be that size, but it can have rolled arms or straight, a tufted back or cushions, modern lines or curves–you name it!
We used to say it was more economical to buy new. Anymore, you’re probably going to spend the same amount either way, but when you rework and reupholster you don’t have to wait nine months.
While I admit this trend in my business was born out of necessity and demand, there are some benefits I absolutely love. First, we are able to use our talented artisans for this work and keep those dollars local.
Second, it’s nice to be a little more sustainable in this field. In the past it was always, “out with the old and in with the new,” whether it was driven by trends or something like a move. Now, we are using more of what we have and repurposing those items, instead of just adding to a landfill.
Case in point
Casegoods are no exception to this trend. Our design team is always looking at how we can take something old and make it fresh and new again. We may consider changing a finish, updating hardware or taking out glass in doors and adding mesh panels. Just updating the look of a piece and using it in a new way is something we are doing now more than ever with our clientele.
If you don’t already have that perfectly well made piece–it does not mean you can’t have it. If something has good bones you can usually find it in a resale shop or somewhere online like Facebook Marketplace.
We recently moved a client into a new home and barely purchased anything. This particular couple, now in their 70s, remembered some swivel barrel chairs that they had when they were newlyweds. Of course it’s a style that is now popular again and we all love, but they really liked that particular chair. So, she got online and found someone who had two, shipped them here and we reupholstered the pair. They’re exactly like what she had years ago, but in a new fabric that she loves–talk about coming full circle!
But, can it perform?
While we are on the topic of reupholstering, I want to mention performance fabrics. As designers, we have been inundated with information about these fabrics for years, so I’m always surprised when clients don’t know about these options. I had a client in absolute shock that she could spill red wine on her sofa and not stain it!
Most important to note is how far performance fabrics have come in the last five to seven years. They don’t feel like steel wool anymore–they’re actually comfortable! They also have more patterns, more color selections, and even more available types of fabrics–virtually anything from leather to velvet.
Whether it’s protection from spills, crayons, sun or weather, there is a fabric that is able to withstand that threat. So, when you’re considering repurposing and reupholstering that old sofa or chair, don’t forget to look at performance fabrics.
Tell your story
We are always nudging clients to recognize that every home has its story. It should say something about you, what stage of life you’re in, where you came from. We gather all this information when we first meet with clients so we understand who they are, what their story is and how we can make their interiors reflect that.
Adding a piece of furniture that has history in your family, whether it’s your history or even beyond you, brings a certain solace to a room…it speaks more about who you are. Think of it as something that grounds the room and gives it some meaning.
If you love your old dining set, but think it looks too formal or dated, consider using a more modern chair with the old table. There are plenty of easy additions such as art, lighting or even a new rug that can seamlessly blend old pieces with new yet still hang on to those items that tell your story.
We think each design should be as personal as your own signature. Incorporating old pieces in new designs is such an easy way to bring character to your home. So, don’t be afraid to hang on to pieces that mean something to you! After all, it’s part of your story.
Kirkendall Design is a full-service interior design firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding NE Oklahoma and NW Arkansas area.