Wait! Where do I even begin?!?
The interest in furniture upcycling and upholstery has increased dramatically over recent years. 10 years ago I would never have thought I would be doing this full time and even teaching others about it! Now, more than ever, it has never been easier to give it a go and take up your tools to restore or reinvigorate your old furniture. And I'm here to pass on a little advice for you to think about before you get started.
Before you begin, it is important to plan your work. As a messy, gung-ho individual it has taken me a while to get this into my head. The methods, materials and overall choices you make to complete your project will ultimately decide the timings, cost and desired finished look of your piece. These are subjective for each person and furniture item, however, are there certain choices we have no option but to make?
The aim of this blog post is to simply raise points for consideration and discussion for all budding restorers, upholsterers, upcyclers and anyone keen on getting their hands dirty with furniture! These are my personal opinions so please don't fret if you think differently or send me angry anonymous emails disputing them. Given my tardiness for admin I'll never probably see them anyway. :P
First of all, don’t get personal.
When producing an estimate for restoring a piece of furniture (or even simply reupholstering it), part of my job is to review and assess the current state the item is in. A conversation needs to take place as to what the customer requires and how they wish their item to look. One thing I have learned from this job is that my personal preference and taste should go out the window.
One thing you must do, in order to run any business, is aim for customer satisfaction. Which means even if I do not like the colour or design of the client’s choice of fabric or finish, it is not mine to make. However, as I can safely assume that they are coming to me for my expertise, I have a duty have to highlight the possible limitations behind their choices should there be any. This can range from difficult fabrics choices or any long last damage to the item, as I’ll explain later on.
The same can be said for any items for sale. No Nicola. That chair might not sell instantly in lime green leather with gold legs. What is more likely to sell or appeal to the larger market can often be completely different from my own choice of finish. And for me this is often the case.
How much should I be restoring? Or should I be conserving only?
It is not two topics most people would ever assume go together but if you consider the idea a little more than you will be able to see that ethics is clearly linked to furniture restoring.
The answer of this question can be quite subjective depending on your personal preferences but here are a few points to note.