Reupholstering old sofas and chairs is a great way to refresh interiors – without the guilt of adding to landfill
Redecorating can bring a new lease of life to a home, but there are less positive consequences when having a whole-room makeover. Each year, 800,000 tons of furniture goes to landfill. With a little care and some fresh ideas, that doesn’t have to be the case.
“Getting rid of old furniture responsibly is difficult.”
Sarah Page, managing director of the upholstery business Plumbs, says that the problem is a big one: “In the past year we’ve covered or reupholstered 245,153 pieces of furniture. That’s a lot of furniture still being sat on in the home rather than rotting in the ground. There’s a lot of talk of upcycling and it is increasing, but we’ve been doing that for nearly 60 years.”
Plumbs, a company specialising in soft furnishings, started life on a market stall in 1953. Today, it employs more than 300 people and supports a further 350 companies in partnerships and supplier relationships. While it still sells new items to customers, Sarah Page says that the company is redoubling its efforts to ensure that good furniture doesn’t go to waste – or the tip.
“We really have two sorts of furniture customers, the ones who want to change the look of their room but don’t want to get rid of their old furniture, and the ‘restorers’ – the ones whose fabrics are showing wear and tear, and they just want their favourite chair looking like new again. In both cases, we are able to add a new lease of life to their furniture.”
“In the past year we’ve covered or reupholstered 245,153 pieces of furniture.”
Getting rid of old furniture responsibly is difficult because charity shops won’t take anything that doesn’t have fire safety labels attached, leaving only the option of landfill. ”But it’s silly to throw away a whole settee just because there’s some damage,” she says. “We think furniture really should be an investment, and investments need looking after. That’s where we step in.”
Plumbs products include made-to-measure removable covers that are machine washable, or a complete reupholstery service for fixed coverings. In both cases, the customer can choose from a vast selection of fabrics to suit their tastes, and the result is a good-as-new piece of furniture. “I’d say better than new,” says Sarah Page, “because you’re not throwing the old one out.”
For more information, visit plumbs.co.uk