A few years back my girlfriend was going to dump an old couch. She knew I was a fan of vintage finds so she asked if I might want it.
At first glance it wasn't much to look at. Flame retardant 70's material and played out cushions.
Even so, I decided the lines were nice and the structure was in good shape so I adopted it. Much to my husbands chagrin it sat in the basement for ages. It became the slumpy couch we only used when we were putting on shoes, or needed somewhere to stack old books. (Apparently, my dog liked to keep his bone here too.)
I finally got around to picking out some fabric and getting it reupholstered, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the result.
Picking out fabric is even harder than picking out paint colors, if you can believe it. I was pretty set on a bold geometric pattern, but I am so glad I went with the aqua velvet.
If you ever get a piece of furniture reupholstered, think about the wearability and washability of the fabric. Although I went with velvet I did chose one with stain guard so I could easily clean up spills. That being said, this is the only piece of furniture in the house my dog isn't allowed on.
You'll hear about rubs and grades. Rubs, or double rubs, is the durability of the fabric. The higher the number the longer it will last. Anything over 50,000 is very durable. Grades are simply price... the higher the grade the higher the price. Don't be hesitant to ask your upholsterer for a key so you can more easily compare prices.
One other tip. If you chose a fabric with a nap (like velvet), make sure to discuss with your upholsterer which direction you would like the nap to run once the piece is finished. This seems funny until you reupholster a dining chair the wrong way and you have a big butt print on your chair all the time!
Don't let fear lock you up. Find a fabric and re-do that couch you've always loved so much but isn't quite in style any more. You hear it all the time but, "they don't make 'em like they used to", and likely the cost you put into re-upholstering your favorite piece will be cheaper than buying new AND will be a higher quality.