10 Tips From Calico In Summit On How To Make Old Furniture New Again | Summit, NJ Patch

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Want to take that tired, old chair or sofa from drab to fab in just weeks? "Consider reupholstery," advises Patti Schmidt, Store Manager of the new Calico design shop in Summit, NJ. "It’s one of the earliest forms of recycling — and you’ll get a great looking piece of furniture out of the deal!" Schmidt answers ten questions about the process: Uniform Fabric

10 Tips From Calico In Summit On How To Make Old Furniture New Again | Summit, NJ Patch

1. How do you know if it’s worth recovering?

Though keeping chairs and sofas out of landfills is a great goal, it’s important to know when it's worth the cost. In fact, the investment to reupholster can come close to the cost of a brand new piece of furniture, so make sure your decorating dollars are well placed. Reupholstery is a good option if you can answer these next three questions.

2. Is your piece great quality or a valuable antique?

Furniture pieces made by Calico and other top manufacturers are worth reupholstering. They have a hardwood frame and most have a foundation of eight-way hand-tied springs. Not sure if the frame is sturdy? Give it a lift. If it’s lightweight, it’s probably made from soft wood or particleboard. If it’s heavy, it may have a quality hardwood frame. Thrift stores can be a good source for furniture with good frames at great prices. Look at the deck label under the cushion for the manufacturer.

3. Do you love the shape and sit?

In other words: does it have good bones? If so, then yes, consider reupholstery.

4. Does your piece have sentimental value?

Was it inherited or is it the first piece of furniture bought when newly married? You can’t put a price tag on emotional attachments. If you have a piece that you love, then take the reupholstery plunge — it will be worth it!

5. How do you find the right fabric for your furniture?

Think about the style of room, the way you live (are feet allowed on the sofa?), and whether young children, dogs or cats are an issue. Calico has thousands of fabrics and can satisfy the classic traditionalist to the chic bohemian. If you want an elegant look, there are velvets and gorgeous jacquards. Do you want cool and casual? Look at denims, linens, cotton twills and matelassés. Plaids are making a big comeback and wide stripes make a graphic statement.

6. I have young children — plus a dog that drools! Can I find a care-free fabric for my sofa?

Toddlers with sippy-cups and pets can be a challenge. Calico has 1,500+ high-performance fabrics that can stand up to spills, peanut butter and pizza. These durable fabrics clean up easily with soap and water and are also odor-resistant. Over the past decade, performance fabrics have undergone a transformation. There are still lots of great textures, but also soft chenilles, stunning jacquard designs—even prints, velvets and faux suedes!

7. What brands of performance fabrics will I find at Calico?

Calico carries collections of indoor performance fabrics from Crypton Home and Sensuede. There is also a huge assortment of fabrics available for both interior and outdoor furnishings from Sunbrella, Inside-Out, Bella-Dura and Fortress. Performance fabrics are perfect for family rooms, dining room chairs and kitchen banquettes. The lighter textures are also good for custom bedding and upholstery where pets have free reign. It's easier to transform your décor than to remake your dog! Life is for living, so surround yourself with easy-care home furnishings that will lower your stress level.

8. What exactly will the upholsterer do with my furniture?

Reupholstering is more than a fabric facelift. A thorough job can involve replacing padding and cushion materials, re-tieing springs and re-gluing joints. Upholsterers can also remove channeling or tufting, lengthen the skirt, or plump up the arms and cushions to make the piece more au courant. A great upholsterer really delivers the equivalent of a new sofa or chair when it's all done. A nip here, a tuck there and voila, you’ve got yourself a new piece of furniture!

9. I have trouble visualizing how a fabric will look in my home. Can you help?

Calico loans customers large fabric samples and mini-bolts that can be taken home to get a sense of how they will look in the room. We also have our C360 program to render our fabrics at the window or on a furniture frame. For example, here is our Landon Chair ‘recovered’ in a tiger print from our new Lemieux et Cie Collection. We can do this with most all our fabrics!

10. How do I get started?

Come into a Calico store or request an in-home appointment with one of our designers. Bring photos of your furniture, plus basic width, length, and height measurements. Tell us about the general condition of the piece. Photos of the room will also help in selecting fabrics for your piece.

Our Calico designers will provide you with an initial quote for reupholstery that includes pick-up and delivery. If accepted, we will cut and deliver the fabric and any trims. Our workroom will contact you when they are ready to start work on your piece, so that it’s out of your home for the least amount of time. Once the frame is stripped, the upholsterer may suggest improvements or find that additional repair work is needed. Customers must approve any additional charges.

Calico recently moved from Short Hills to 115 Summit Avenue in downtown Summit, NJ. Telephone (973) 218-0159. Calico is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm. Email the store at: In addition to the Summit location, there are Calico stores in East Hanover and Ridgewood, NJ.

All Calico stores provide expert decorating advice and free in-home design consultation. Consumers will find thousands of designer fabrics for the home; custom window treatments plus Hunter Douglas blinds and shades; custom upholstered furniture, slipcovers, bedding and more. Thousands of fabrics are available online. For more information, visit

10 Tips From Calico In Summit On How To Make Old Furniture New Again | Summit, NJ Patch

Waterproof Fabric This post is sponsored and contributed by Patch Spotlights, a Patch Brand Partner.