What is Custom Upholstery?

Malcolm Tatum

Custom upholstery is upholstery for furniture and car seats that is specially designed for the individual client. Unlike mass-produced upholstery, the custom coverings often feature designs and combinations of material that are a little different than the mainstream versions. While upholstery of this type does tend to be more expensive, it is often worth the extra expense in terms of not only looks but also durability.

A custom upholstered footstool.
A custom upholstered footstool.

One situation where custom upholstery is often considered necessary is with the creation of a custom car design. Often, the leather or vinyl used in the upholstery design is thicker and likely to hold up to greater wear and tear. When custom cars are designed as a racing vehicle, going with automobile upholstery that will hold up under extreme circumstances is almost a necessity. The upholstery is often specially treated to be fire retardant as well as resist tearing or splitting at the seams.

When restoring vintage vehicles, the task often benefits from the use of custom auto upholstery. Many of the designs and materials used in decades past are no longer standard upholstery in today’s vehicles. In order to be true to the original design, this may mean ordering custom upholstery that conforms to the original materials used to manufacture the vehicle way back when. Determining the perfect type and design for the upholstery may require some research, but it is often to identify the specific characteristics of the original upholstery and arrange to reproduce it with a business that produces made to order upholstery designs.

In some cases, original materials can be harvested and reused to create custom upholstery. However, this strategy can often be extremely expensive, since the task requires a great deal of searching to locate the materials needed. Choosing to identify the materials and original designs and then having them recreated is often cheaper in terms of expense and also can normally be completed in a fraction of the time.

There are a number of companies that produce custom upholstery that is made to the exact specifications of the client. Often, the vendor will confer with the client on what is desired and then provide a basic price quotation for the project. It is not unusual for the vendor to provide the client with an approximate amount of time it will take to produce the design required. In some cases, the vendor may also offer to oversee the installation of the new upholstery.

Whenever going with custom upholstery, it is imperative that the customer take the time to investigate the vendor carefully. Obtaining references or seeing examples of the quality of work provided by the vendor is extremely important before making any type of commitment. It is also a good idea to gather several different price quotes from various vendors, as this will allow you to get a better idea of how each company works and what they have to offer.

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