When It’s Worth Hiring A Professional (5 Benefits)

Have you ever looked at your old, worn-out furniture and thought, “I could do that myself”? I’ve been there, trust me. But let’s have a chat about when it might be worth calling in the pros.

Quick Summary: Choosing a professional for upholstery? Consider these crucial benefits for an informed decision:

BenefitsProfessional Upholsterer
⏰ Time EfficiencyFaster turnaround due to expertise.
🛠️ Expertise and ExperienceYears of training and experience with various materials and techniques.
🔧 Tools & EquipmentAlready equipped with necessary tools for precision.
⚠️ Reduced RiskReduced risk of damage; expertise in handling materials safely.
🔄 Long-term ImpactA high-quality finish ensures long-term value and appearance.

We’ve all watched a DIY show and thought, “I could handle that project!” But let’s be honest, those shows can make it look a lot easier than it is. Upholstery is one of those skills that’s more complex than it looks.

DIY vs. Pro Upholstery: Key Considerations

A street way sign with the words "DIY Professional" on it

Before embarking on any upholstery project, it’s essential to carefully weigh several factors to determine whether taking the DIY route or hiring a professional is the best choice for your needs and circumstances.


  • Investment Required: First off, let’s consider the time investment. Be honest with yourself here. Do you have the hours, days, or weeks to complete this project?
  • The complexity of the Craft: Upholstery isn’t as quick and simple as slapping a fresh coat of paint on a wall. It’s a craft that requires patience and precision. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve already got a full plate.


  • Self-Assessment: Next, take a good, hard look at your skill set. Many folks (including myself) get overconfident, thinking they can master any DIY project.
  • Nature of the Job: Remember, upholstery isn’t just about being handy; it involves specific techniques like sewing, cutting, and stapling. It’s a unique beast, and not everyone has the knack for it.
  • Willingness to Learn: So, ask yourself, do you have the skills, or are you willing to invest time and energy to learn them?

Tools & Equipment

  • Initial Expenses: Moving on to tools and equipment, this is where things can get a bit pricy. You might have a staple gun, but what about a sewing machine? Or a foam cutter? Or specialized upholstery needles?
  • Storage and Maintenance: These are not everyday household items; buying them can add up quickly. Plus, they occupy space and gather dust if you’re not using them regularly.


  • Quality Concerns: Let’s not forget about the risk factor here. I’m not just discussing the risk of doing a poor job and ending up with a lumpy, unevenly covered chair.
  • Safety Hazards: I’m talking about the potential for injury. Upholstery involves sharp tools and heavy-duty equipment. Trust me, a staple gun injury isn’t fun.

Long-term Impact

  • Potential Upside: You’ll have beautiful and meaningful furniture if you do a stellar job.
  • Potential Downside: If things go south, you could ruin a beloved piece, decrease its value, or end up with an eyesore you can’t stand to look at.

So, before you dive into DIY upholstery, weigh these factors carefully. Knowing when to roll up your sleeves and when to call in the pros is essential.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional

3d rendering of a craft room with a chair and an array of supplies

Tackling a project head-on can be invigorating, but sometimes, calling in the pros isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity. Let’s dive into why bringing in a seasoned expert can be the game-changer your project needs.

Expertise and Experience

  • Depth of Knowledge: Professional upholsterers bring expertise to your project. They’ve got years of training and experience under their belts.
  • Proven Track Record: This isn’t their first rodeo, folks! They know how to handle different fabrics and materials and are familiar with various techniques.

Access to the Right Tools

  • Comprehensive Toolkit: Another perk? They’ve got the right tools for the job. Upholstery isn’t just about a staple gun and some fabric.
  • Precision and Quality: It’s about precision, accuracy, and finesse. Pros have the necessary equipment to ensure that your furniture looks its best.

Time Efficiency

  • Rapid Completion: Hiring a professional can also save you time. DIY upholstery projects can take weeks, or even months, to complete.
  • Quick Turnaround: A pro can get it done in a fraction of the time. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want more time to enjoy their newly upholstered furniture?

Reduced Risk

  • Avoiding Mistakes: Last but not least, hiring a professional means less risk of damage. A mistake in a DIY project can lead to costly repairs or, worse, having to replace the entire piece of furniture.
  • Assurance of Safety: With a pro, you can rest easy knowing your furniture is safe.

Long-term Impact

When you hire a professional, you’re paying for the immediate benefits and investing in the future of your furniture and space.

  • Durability: Professionals ensure that the upholstery work is done to last. Their expert techniques and high-quality materials make your furniture less likely to wear out quickly, saving you money in the long run.
  • Aesthetics: Over time, furniture upholstered by professionals retains its appearance better than DIY projects. This means your living space will continue to look elegant and well-maintained.
  • Resale Value: If you ever decide to sell your furniture or home, professionally upholstered pieces can significantly boost the resale value. Potential buyers often appreciate the quality and craftsmanship that professionals bring to the table.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that experts have handled your furniture provides security. You won’t have to worry about redoing the upholstery or fixing mistakes in the foreseeable future.

In short, hiring a professional upholsterer brings many benefits to the table. It’s about convenience, quality, safety, and peace of mind. You’re not just paying for a service but investing in your home. Now, isn’t that something worth considering?

Cost Analysis: Professional Upholsterer vs. DIY Upholsterer

Alright, let’s break it down! When you’re standing at the crossroads of ‘Do It Yourself’ and ‘Call in the Pros,’ it’s all about weighing the costs in dollars and the effort.

Here’s a straightforward cost comparison between hiring a professional upholsterer and embarking on the DIY journey.

FactorsProfessional UpholstererDIY Upholsterer
Initial Investment$500 – $1500 (varies by project size & material)$100 – $600 (varies by project size & material)
Tools & EquipmentIncluded in the initial investment$50 – $300 (one-time investment for tools)
Labor & TimeIncluded in initial investment (typically quicker turnaround)Time spent (can be translated to hourly wage if you’d otherwise be working)
Unforeseen Costs (errors, additional materials, etc.)Rare (usually covered by a professional’s guarantee)$0 – $500 (depends on mistakes or additional materials required)
Total Estimated Cost$500 – $1500$150 – $1400

Remember, actual costs can vary based on your locale and project specifics.

Tips for Hiring a Professional for Furniture Upholstery

Alright, let’s dive into the world of furniture upholstery! When breathing new life into those beloved chairs or that cozy couch, you must ensure you’re teaming up with the right crew. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Specialization – Opt for a store that focuses primarily on restoration and upholstery. This ensures they have dedicated experts for the task.
  • Detail Your Requirements – List your expectations and desired style. Providing a fabric sample can be helpful to achieve the exact look you want.
  • Review Their Work – Visit the shop and examine their completed projects. If nothing is available for viewing, ask to see ongoing projects.
  • Understand Their Approach – Inquire about their reupholstery methods. It’s important to know if they handle just the exterior or also attend to potential internal damages like frame repairs.

Potential Downsides of DIY

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for the DIY spirit. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of seeing your own handiwork. But going it alone can have its pitfalls when it comes to upholstery.

  • Issue of time. Upholstery isn’t a weekend project, my friends. It’s a craft. It takes time to learn and even more time to do. It can take weeks, even months, to complete a single piece. And that’s if you’re proficient. If you’re new to the game, let’s say it’s not the kind of commitment you want to take lightly.
  • Risk of damaging your furniture. Upholstery involves a lot of pulling, tugging, and stapling. One wrong move and you could inadvertently rip your fabric or damage your furniture’s frame. I’ve seen it happen. And once that damage is done, it’s not always easy to fix.
  • Factor of cost. Yes, you read that right. While it might seem like doing it yourself would be cheaper, that’s not always the case. The cost of materials alone can add up quickly – not to mention the tools you’ll need to buy or rent. Add in the value of your time, and you might find that hiring a professional would have been less expensive in the long run.

Post-Upholstery Care: Keeping It Fresh and Fabulous

A cartoon illustration of a living room with a vacuum cleaner

After investing time, effort, and possibly a good chunk of money into getting that furniture piece looking top-notch, the last thing you’d want is for it to wear out prematurely. So, let’s dive into some tried-and-true methods to ensure your furniture stays in prime condition for years.

  • Routine Vacuuming:
    • It might sound basic, but regularly vacuuming your upholstered furniture can make a difference. It helps remove dust, dirt, and allergens, keeping the fabric fresh and extending its life.
  • Spot Cleaning:
    • Accidents happen! When they do, address spills immediately. Gently blot (don’t rub) the stain with a clean, damp cloth. Use a fabric cleaner for tougher stains, but always test on an inconspicuous spot first.
  • Rotate Cushions:
    • Just like rotating tires on a car, periodically flipping and rotating cushions ensure even wear. It helps prevent certain areas from becoming more worn or faded than others.
  • Keep It Out of Direct Sunlight:
    • Sun can be brutal on fabric colors, causing them to fade. Position upholstered furniture away from direct sunlight or use window treatments to shield them from those harsh rays if possible.
  • Professional Cleaning:
    • Consider getting your upholstered furniture professionally cleaned every year or two. It refreshes the fabric and addresses any deep-seated dirt or stains.
  • Use Slipcovers:
    • Use slipcovers if you’re concerned about wear and tear or have pets and kids running around. They protect the upholstery and can be easily removed and washed.

Regular care and prompt attention to spills or stains is the key to long-lasting upholstery. With a bit of effort, your furniture will continue to look and feel great for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What If I’ve Already Started the DIY Route?
    • No worries! If you’re over your head, many professionals will be willing to step in and take over or fix any errors. It’s never too late to call in the pros.
  • Are There Any Hidden Costs With Professional Upholsterers?
    • Always ask for a detailed estimate upfront. Most professionals will provide a clear breakdown of costs. However, unforeseen issues might arise, so it’s a good idea to set aside a small contingency budget.
  • How Long Will It Take a Professional Compared to DIY?
    • A professional typically has a faster turnaround due to their expertise and access to necessary tools. While DIY projects can stretch out over weeks or even months, a pro might have your furniture ready in days or a couple of weeks, depending on the project’s complexity.
  • Do Professionals Handle Only Furniture?
    • While furniture is a significant part of their work, many upholsterers handle other items, such as car interiors, boat seats, or commercial furnishings. Always inquire about their range of services.
  • Are There Projects Too Small for a Professional Upholsterer?
    • No project is too small! From cushion repairs to intricate full-room setups, professionals handle various jobs. If you’re unsure, reach out and ask.
  • Can a Professional Help with Design and Fabric Selection?
    • Certainly! Most professional upholsterers have a keen eye for design and can guide you in choosing fabrics that match your decor and lifestyle needs.



  • The Upholstery Guild. http://www.upholsteryguild.org/


  • “The Complete Guide to Upholstery” by Cherry Dobson: An essential guide for both beginners and more experienced DIYers.
  • “Upholstery: A Complete Course” by David James: From basic techniques to more advanced projects, this book covers the entire range of upholstery skills.
  • “Professional Upholstery: Techniques of Modern Traditional” by Bill Kenny: A deep dive into professional upholstery.

Website Resources:

Video References:

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About Shelly

ShellyShelly Harrison is a renowned upholstery expert and a key content contributor for ToolsWeek. With over twenty years in the upholstery industry, she has become an essential source of knowledge for furniture restoration. Shelly excels in transforming complicated techniques into accessible, step-by-step guides. Her insightful articles and tutorials are highly valued by both professional upholsterers and DIY enthusiasts.

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