The Four ‘R’s of Eco-Friendly Upholstering

eco-friendly upholstering


When we consider some of the eco-friendly upholstering terms used by craftsmen in the field , there are certain ones that have served our planet long before the  Go Green Movement began. Just as they have served us then, they continue to serve us now and into the future. If we let them. From RE-purposing and RE-finishing to RE-upholstering and RE-storation, at  J&O-Summerdale Fabrics we are always finding old and new ways to make use of some of such life saving options when it comes to fabric textiles and furnishings. Below are the top four  ‘R’s’ of  Eco-Friendly Upholstering defined. We know they will surely continue to gain popularity on the tongue and use over time.  After all, Mother Earth is depending on it.



Typically, re-purposing is done using items that are considered to be junk, garbage, or obsolete. But as the old saying goes…” One man’s trash is another’s treasure.” This never held more truer then when we see the AMAZING ways by which an object with one use value is transformed or redeployed as an object with an alternative use value all together. As old as human civilization itself, re-purposing is a great way to save well built pieces from going to our landfills, restore appreciation in the craft, and really make the most of our resources.




While re-finishing refers to the act of repairing or reapplying the wood finishing (paint, top coat, lacquer or varnish) on an object, one interesting modern development in refinishing is the art of doing just the opposite… distressing or antiquing to make the finishes of pieces look older. In the case of antique furniture, refinishing has been known to significantly reduce the overall value of the piece though so a bit of research beforehand into the history and framework of the furniture in mind is wise. Many a treasured heirloom has been brought back to life by this simple life-saving act alone.



The art of re-upholstering is not just the work of replacing a seat or sofa with fabric covering, but the padding, springs, webbing and trim as well.  It is a craft that requires a creative eye, skilled hands, and the right tools. The term is equally applicable to domestic, automobile, airplane and boat furniture too. A transformational tool, re-upholstering can turn a cherished yet outdated home furnishing into something that looks funky and new!




A rare Redwood Oak table with a broken leg…

That beautiful vanity dresser passed down through the generations but now sitting in storage with broken drawers…

Grandma Mae’s Old Victorian Chateau awaiting a rebirth to its original state…


Restoration is the simple act of repairing or renewing something….big or small…old or new. Unfortunately like many of our pieces of apparel, so many truly timeless and treasured furnishings are sent out to the trash in the name of inconvenience. From there they get buried in open grave landfills to die a slow death. Restoration, along with the rest of the four ‘R’s’ of eco-friendly upholstering, is the remedy of a seemingly dying craft simply calling for its apprentices to rise to the occasion.


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