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Give your pieces of furniture a new look by having them reupholstered.

figure By JULIE AMBANI Buying new furniture, especially the high-end, modern and sophisticated kind, is costly.Many people consider this an investment they hope will serve them for a long period of time.

However, over time, your furniture will experience wear and tear due to continual use, and this reduces its aesthetic value. Instead of having to go through the whole process of buying furniture again, an alternate solution exists in the form of furniture reupholstering.

Ms Cindy Wanjiku, CEO of CWanjiku Designs Ltd, provided insight into what reupholstering is, the process involved as well as the advantages associated with it. Reupholstering furniture simply means taking down the layering of the furniture down to its frame and then layering it with fresh material and fabric," explains Ms Wanjiku.

class="MsoNormalThe process is very specific. "When we receive a piece of furniture to be reupholstered, let's say a couch, it is completely stripped of its old fabric.

After this, frame reinforcement may be done to ensure that the structure remains strong and solid," says Ms Wanjiku. She adds that after the frame is reinforced, the couch is stuffed afresh and a new fabric used for the finishing.

Most of the time, the company doing the reupholstering will buy the fabric to be used as per the specifications. However, some clients opt to come with their own fabric as they are very specific about what they want," notes Ms Wanjiku.

It is easy to get fabric, especially in places such as Gikomba and Eastleigh markets as well as Industrial Area in Nairobi. For a bed, reupholstering is done for the classical types, those that have high and detailed headboards.

class="MsoNormalReupholstering duration class="MsoNormalThe time it takes to reupholster a piece depends on its size. "At the end of it all, you realise that the amount of money spent on reupholstering your pieces of furniture is significantly lower than what you would have spent buying a new set of furniture," says Ms Wanjiku.

class="MsoNormalSentimental preservation class="MsoNormalSome people inherit furniture from their loved ones or friends. At other times, people have cherished memories associated with household items, for example, a specific lovers couch for a married couple.

This gives them a sentimental attachment to such a piece of furniture and they will do all that is required to preserve it. At times, only one piece of furniture set may be broken or spoiled, and the owner may not be happy with the idea of getting rid of the entire set.

"Reupholstering furniture offers an opportunity for people to maintain family heirlooms which sustain family history and preserve pieces that bring back precious times to mind," she says. class="MsoNormalThe before and after pictures of a worn-out couch that was reupholstered.

PHOTOS | JULIE AMBANI class="MsoNormalWood versus composite boards class="MsoNormalMost furnishers can attest that wooden furniture is of higher quality compared with the common composite board furniture that is now common in the market. "People who have quality pieces of furniture that they bought a while ago are encouraged to retain such pieces," notes Ms Wanjiku.

She adds that through reupholstering of the pieces, one will be able to update the piece in accordance with today's trends while still being able to maintain a serviceable product. Such antique furniture is quite pricey in the market nowadays and thus reupholstering is a good alternative in ensuring one remains with quality products in their home.

class="MsoNormalEnvironmental conservation class="MsoNormalReupholstering furniture plays a small role in conserving the environment. "The amount of energy and resources used in making new pieces of furniture is a lot.

Through reusing already existing pieces hellip, say the frame, deforestation is minimised," enlightens Ms Wanjiku. class="MsoNormalA great deterrent for Kenyans when it comes to reupholstering furniture is the belief that their pieces may end up being damaged when they are taken to repair shops.

"It is not uncommon to hear Kenyans complain that they took a phone or laptop to an electrician and by the time they were getting it back, the electronic had more issues than before," says Ms Wanjiku. "This type of distrust has extended to the carpentry area and as such many people believe that their furniture is not safe in the hands of carpenters and would rather just buy new furniture.

" class="MsoNormalShe reassures that this should not be the case, advising that one must simply do their research and identify a reliable carpenter for the job. class="MsoNormalReupholstering conditions class="MsoNormalIt is vital to note that not all furniture can be reupholstered, says Ms Wanjiku.

For furniture to be successfully reupholstered, its original structure has to be solid and strong.It is a procedure best done on hardwood furniture.

If these details are not taken into consideration, owners will end up with feeble furniture in their homes that cannot offer much service to them.
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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Mar 7, 2019
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