Whether your cat mauled your favorite chair or your thrift store sofa's in desparate need of a makeover, take eco-reupholstering
By rachelsarnoff on July 27, 2009
Do you find yourself daunted by the idea of reupholstering your well-worn furniture pieces? Fear not! It’s much easier and less expensive than you might think to get your old furniture looking like new—the green way, naturally. Whether your cat mauled what was once your grandfather’s favorite chair or you just found a stellar thrift store sofa in desperate need of an update, we’re here to lay down the fastest and simplest methods for eco-chic reupholstering.
To get started, here’s a short list of what you’ll need:
1. A piece of furniture. (Duh.)
2. An upholsterer. If you don’t have one already, check with friends for referrals.
3. Enough fabulous eco fabric & decorative trim for the project (see resource suggestions below). To estimate the proper amount, either consult your upholsterer—if the piece is too large to easily transport, take photos and dimensions with you instead—or use an online upholstery calculator (we like the one at Designers Sketchbook).
4. And finally, what no eco upholstery project would be complete without…kapok! What’s Kapok, you ask? Why, it’s a soft and super-sustainable fiber found in the tropical forests of Central and South America, and Asia. It’s similar to cotton, sans the environmental impact, because it falls naturally from the trees rather than needing to be harvested or treated with pesticides. Kapok is the perfect replacement for down—equally cushy and luxe-feeling, but completely animal friendly. And it’s far superior to any sort of toxic poly option.
Now that you know what you need, let’s talk about where to get it!
You’ve probably got the furniture already. If not, hit Craigslist or your favorite secondhand shop.
So, now let’s focus on the fabric. There are so many great organic-cotton, upholstery-weight fabrics out there. The hardest part of this whole endeavor may be having to choose!
Mod Green Pod, with their oh-so-appropos tagline “shaking the beige off organic,” was a pioneer of eco-style upholstery fabrics. As pictured on our home page, their organic cottons are durable, reasonably priced and super chic, and a dose of MGP gives your room an instant B12 shot. From whimsical, colorful damasks to bold retro prints, all Mod Green Pod fabrics are printed with non-toxic dyes and made in the U.S.
If you’re going for more of a classic vibe, check out the bright and elegant designs of Rubie Green, from whom we borrowed the adorable pictured above. (Who doesn’t want to be that girl. Seriously.) From 1970’s-inspired contemporary to airy but traditional pineapple prints, Rubie Green’s selection of high-end, high-style fabrics has something for everyone. And, of course, they too are printed on 100% organic cotton with low-impact dyes. You just can’t go wrong!
Finally, your must-have item: Kapok. First check with your upholsterer to see if they stock it—and prepare to be surprised. Even non-eco upholsterers have been known to work with Kapok because it’s abundant, affordable and easy to use. If not, buy it yourself and bring it along—any decent upholstery shop will be happy to oblige!
And—presto change-o—you’ve got a refreshed, recycled, eco-beautiful piece of furniture to sit on and show off.
Get 20% off all fabric yardage and wallpaper through August 31st at Mod Green Pod with “stiletto” at check out.
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