Traditional Upholstery

Traditional upholstery is the core of what we do at Guild.

Over the centuries, the craft of upholstery has developed from simple fibre stuffing, covered by a fabric, to complicated structures of webbing, springs, specialised knots, lashings and stitchings. These fillings give a solid structure and shape to a piece of furniture, while also offering exceptional comfort.

Good quality, well-made antique furniture is built to last for centuries. Usually made from hardwood, with mortice and tenon joints, unlike modern furniture held together with staples and thin dowels. Therefore antiques have the strength and durability to endure for generations.

After a century of use, however, the natural fibres in the webbing, hessian and stuffings begin to weaken. At that point, some attention may be needed.

What We Can Fix

We have years of experience in repairing antique furniture and examples of the things we can fix are:

  • Webbing: We use fresh jute and cotton webbing where webbing has ripped and collapsed. Sometimes this can be done from below, without the need for complete reupholstery.
  • Springing: We repair collapsed or broken springs  and re-lash them as part of the reupholstery process.
  • Stuffings: A common problem with old pieces is that the hessian gives way and stuffing is lost, reducing the comfort of a seat. We can replace the hessian and add fresh stuffing of coir fibre or horse hair to bring a piece back to its original state
  • Padding: In traditional upholstery the final stuffing was usually horsehair. This layer was covered with cotton padding to prevent any hair coming through and to give ultimate comfort. Over time this padding can get dirty or smelly and can wear. We can replace this with fresh cotton and ticking, or modern fire-retardant calico for safety
  • Final fabric: If your seat is looking a little tired, we can remove the old fabric and replace it with one of your choice. We have an extensive range from specialist producers in the British Isles, Europe and around the world. Additionally, bespoke fabrics can be commissioned from artists to make a truly unique piece. Whichever fabric you select, it can be complemented with beautiful finishing touches by adding an elegant trim or studs from the hundreds in our collection.
  • Cushion padding: Traditionally cushions were stuffed with feather and down for ultimate comfort. However, over time these can break down and lose their plumpness. We can provide new feather cushion innards or add extra stuffing to improve your existing pads.

The Cost

The cost of traditional upholstery can sometimes be considered to be high, compared to using modern springs and foams. However, this fails to recognise that traditional upholstery can last for centuries whilst modern foams deteriorate after a few decades of exposure to the sun. 

It is also important to mention that modern foams can emit petrochemical toxins which linger in the home. In contrast, traditional upholstery utilises natural fibres which are clean, environmentally friendly and completely sustainable.

Ask for a no obligation free estimate

Send us some photographs of your furniture with a few details of the damage or problem and we can usually provide an estimate.
For a detailed quote, contact us to arrange for us to visit your home or office.
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