Buying new furniture, especially the high end, modern and sophisticated kind, is a costly affair. Many people consider this an investment they hope will serve them for a long period of time. However, over time, pieces in one’s home may get some wear and tears due to continual use and this reduces their aesthetic value. Instead of having to go through the whole process of furniture purchase again, an alternate solution exists in the form of furniture reupholstering. Ms Cindy Wanjiku, CEO of CWanjiku Designs Limited, was able to give more insight as to what reupholstering is, the process involved as well as the advantages associated with it.
“Reupholstering of furniture simply means taking down the layering of the furniture down to its frame and then re layering it with fresh material and fabric,” explains Ms Wanjiku.The process involved 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 when the frame reinforcement is done, the couch may be stuffed and a new fabric is used for the finishing.
“Most of the time the company doing the reupholstering will buy the fabric to be used as per the specifications of the clients which incurs an extra cost on the client’s end. However, some clients opt to come with their own fabric as they are very specific of 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. In terms of a bed, the reupholstering is done in terms of the classical types of beds that have high and detailed headboards. The time taken for reupholstering process depends on the size of the pieces being done. “When it comes down to it, after all has been done, you realize that the amount of money spent on reupholstering pieces of furniture is significantly lower than that which would have been spent on buying a new set of furniture,” says Ms Wanjiku.
Some 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 their furniture. At times, only one piece of a furniture set may be broken or spoiled and the owner would 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,” says Ms Wanjiku. Most furnishers can attest that furniture that were made years ago are of more quality as compared to the common composite board furniture that is made currently. “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 this is a good alternative in ensuring one remains with quality products in their home.
Reupholstering of furniture plays a small role in environmental conservation. “The amount of energy and resources used in making new pieces of furniture is a lot. Through reusing already existing pieces of furniture, the frame and springs are reused thus minimizing the deforestation process used to get more wood for the construction of the furniture frames,” enlightens Ms Wanjiku.
A great deterrent to Kenyans when it comes to reupholstering furniture is the belief that their furniture may end up damaged when taken to the furniture shops for this process. “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.” She reassures that this is not the case. One must simply do their research and identify a qualified carpenter for the job.
It is vital to note that not all furniture can be reupholstered, enlightens Ms Wanjiku. For furniture to be successfully reupholstered, its original structure has to be solid and strong. It is a procedure best done on hard wood furniture. If these details are not taken into consideration, one will end up with feeble furniture in their homes that cannot offer much service to them.