Old Bones, New Flesh. Sounds Creepy

Photographer: Marcel Christ

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Photographer: Marcel Christ

Reupholster? You?

Sure -- reupholstery can be a compelling alternative to buying something new. Tip: The furniture should be of high quality in the first place, says interior designer Thomas Pheasant.

"Upholstery is really expensive, and I'm not a believer in investing good money into bad," Pheasant says. "Oftentimes the cost of a good upholstery shop, plus the cost of the fabric, is so close to mid-priced upholstery pieces, you have to explore if it's a good idea."

The way it works, an upholsterer comes to your house, picks up your couch or chair and takes it to the shop to strip the fabric from the cushions and put on new fabric of your choosing. Then back to your door. Presto, old couch new.

Are you willing to scavenge? With reupholstery you can fundamentally alter the character of the furniture you find. "If you want to be cleaner and more modern," Pheasant says, "go welt-less or make it casual with nail-heads -- there are so many details you can alter to give it a new look."

Couches bought at flea markets and estate sales are candidates. You find an old piece with good bones and update it. The designer Stephanie Stokes even reupholstered a chair she found on the street.

So while reupholstery isn't a cheap proposition, it's something to consider. Instead of trashing your old object and buying a new, very similar one, try recycling what you have or go digging for some good old bones. It's adaptive reuse. It's smart.

And that sounds like you.

James Tarmy reports on arts and culture for Bloomberg Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News.

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