Custom Upholstery vs Store Bought Upholstery

Hey, friends! If you’re a part of the large percentage of Americans who haven’t upgraded their furniture in the last several years, you may find yourself looking for new furniture. I’m here to give you the nitty gritty differences between ready-made and custom upholstery and help you make an informed decision on your new pieces!


It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts

This statement holds true for people, and maybe even a little more for upholstery. The inner workings of our custom order upholstery lines have always been a priority for my company, because as designer, I know that when investing in a custom piece, you want it to not only look good, but you want it to last. Whether your looking at a sofa for your living room or lounge chairs in your primary space, every detail matters – even the details you can’t see. In upholstery, these items matter the most!

The art of upholstery began centuries ago, and quality is key. When selecting what custom upholstery lines to carry, I sought out American made companies with artisans that hold generations of experience. Just like ready-made furniture, custom upholstery comes in different price points and qualities. What’s the best construction option if you have a choice? Eight way hand-tied, baby! This construction requires skill and is a hand-tied spring system who’s result provides maximum flexibility, support, and comfort. Frame construction is also made of solid wood and excellent joinery techniques. There is a catch to this. The best, hand-made items usually come with a higher price tag, and this situation is no different. However, their long lasting quality prevents you from having to spend money on future replacements. Ready to make a change down the road? No problem – you have the ability to recover the piece repeatedly, changing the style without compromising the stability of the piece.

On the flip side, ready-made upholstery tends to be with sinuous springs, and mainly features foam wrapped cushions with mdf or plywood frame construction; providing a more cost effective price point, but at a lower quality. If you tend to change your design aesthetic often, and make your selections understanding that these pieces are only intended to be used for a few years, then store bought furniture may be the way to go for you!


Kids + Pets

If you have pets or little ones that will be using your upholstery pieces, you’ll want to select a fabric that can resist stains and stand up to a few spills. All of my custom upholstery lines offer performance upholstery options that resist water, oil, and stains, making them perfect options for heavy traffic upholstery items. In this day and age, you don’t have to sacrifice style or softness to get a durable performance fabric. Upholstery options are available in numerous patterns, weaves, and colors, providing an extra layer of protection for everything life throws your way!

If custom upholstery isn’t in your budget, some retailers are beginning to carry performance polyesters on their ready-made furniture. How will you know? It will say on the tag. Trust me,  Going further, if you can’t find a performance upholstery, opt for a darker polyester blend furniture piece. Polyester is easy to clean with a washcloth and a darker color will hide small stains or smudges.




If you are on a tight timeline, I recommend shopping at local retail stores. Most stores have furniture in stock and ready to go the same day you make the purchase. Keep in mind, however, that the likelihood of seeing the exact store bought piece in someone else’s home is high.

Now, if time is on your side, and you’re prepared to wait, I suggest finding a custom upholstery piece within your budget. Another benefit that comes with custom furniture is every piece is unique. For example, a sofa can be made a particular height or depth, leg style changed, nail head detail added, the list goes on! If you need a special piece for a peculiar shaped space, custom furniture is extremely beneficial.


Shop Custom + Ready-Made Pieces



Are you wanting help selecting your next custom piece? Or maybe you need help selecting a good quality, ready-made upholstery piece.  Sapphire + Co is here for all of your design needs! The benefit of using a professional to help in your next upholstery purchase is vast – a dedicated team to answer your questions, space plan to ensure the right sized pieces are selected, and free swatches provided in presentations to make sure all elements of the design are just right. I hope to be your go-to resource to ease the undertaking of your next renovation project. If you have any questions about our process, please reach out to


Make it a great week!