Friday, November 23, 2018

Before and After of an 80 year old Art Deco Reading Chair

We rebuilt this chair keeping and reusing nothing but the heavy frame.  We discarded all old worn out fabric, old dirty paddings and old springs.  Next we strengthened the frame, refinished the show wood, installed new springs, padding and reupholstered it in one of our 9,000 + fabrics chosen by our customer.  Our customer told us that he would read to his son, while the son sat on the arm when he was young.  The father intends to pass the chair on to that now grown son.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Lesson In Decorating Through The Use Of Pattern, Textures And Color

Notice how this customer's decorator first chose a beautiful patterned fabric for the seat cushions, and lip, of this beautiful cane back/arm sofa.   She then requested pillows of different shapes and sizes be made from coordinating fabrics of different colors and textures.  The pillows were then trimmed with brown welting, pleats and buttons to add interest and richness.  

Anyone can match and coordinate colors and textures this way. Our swatch catalogs often show groupings put together by professional designers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Upholstered Furniture Services

  • All old fabric is removed
  • Repairs discussed during the estimate and that are in writing, are performed
  • New welt cords, zippers, deck fabrics and dust covers are used
  • Thin layers of new padding are often used over the old paddings
  • Seat cushion cores are rewrapped and reused.
  • Small style changes are sometimes made
  • Cutting, sewing and application of the new fabric is warranted.

Rebuild & Reupholster
  • Old fabrics, paddings and springs are removed
  • We look far into the future and repair or replace what could fail within the next 20 years
  • The frame is closely examined and repaired as needed.
  • The seat and back springs are retied or completely replaced as needed.
  • Padding supports are tightened or replaced as needed
  • Paddings are either replaced or repaired on a case by case basis
  • Meticulously we rebuild the piece from the frame up
  • New welt cords, zippers, deck fabrics and dust covers are used
  • New high quality seat foam is always used
  • Arm, back and deck Padding repaired /replaced
  • Outside arms and backs are padded
  • Quality self lined skirts are used (if of this style)

  • We do furniture store warranty work for 5 different dealers in our area
  • Also, we work directly with the customer whose furniture is out of warranty.  We can repair anything that is wrong with any piece of upholstered furniture, with the exception being recliner mechanisms. 
  • A few of the common repairs we frequently do are: 
                   Cushion core replacement - firmer/softer
                   Cushion cover replacement
                   Zipper replacement
                   Broken or soft spring replacement/repair
                   Spring retie
                   Padding built up/repair/replacement
                   Arm shaper repair
                   Seam repair 
                   Partial repair/replacement of cover panels
                   Button replacement
                   Broken frame repair
                   Squeak repair
                   Loose leg repair
                   Finish repair of show wood

Custom Built New     
For the customer who is fed-up with the low quality of mass produced, new upholstered furniture         
Quality, Quality, Quality!
  • For the discriminating customer who wants quality and understands value, in the long run, cannot be measured by initial cost alone. 
  • Our custom built upholstered furniture is built to the highest standards.  
  • We combine our 43 years of experience, quality custom built hardwood frames along with the best available supplies and paddings to create a quality piece of furniture that will sit well and look beautiful for many years.
  • High end suspension (seat and back springs)
  • Highest quality modern paddings
  • High Resiliency seat foams are used
  • Hours and Hours of detailed, slow and meticulous workmanship
  • Workmanship, frame and suspension come with a 20 year warranty.

Fabrics! Fabrics! Fabrics!
We have approximately 230 fabric swatch books at our workshop
You are welcome to shop for fabrics at our workshop or online 
***Thousands and thousands of fabrics to choose from***
Fabrics are delivered to us in 2 days or less



Do we work with customer supplied fabric?  Yes, we do, from time to time, but please keep in mind:  We need a certain number of dollars to do your job.  If you purchase your fabric from us, some of those dollars come from our sale of the fabric. If you supply your own fabric, we must add those dollars back in.   

Howard’s Upholstery
17225 Akin Blacktop
Benton, IL  62812

Want a free estimate?   Email pictures to:
Web site:

*Memo swatches are shipped directly from our distributors  to our customers.  Limited to those distributors that participate in this program. Memo swatches are approximately 4"x 6" and are often free.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ethan Alan Chair And Ottoman

This older chair was reupholstered with a nice neutral chenille fabric.  The springs were retied, the back pillow was built-up, a new seat cushion core was added and the kick-pleat skirt was self-lined with a stiffner to keep it looking great for years. We also made extra arm covers to help the customer keep it clean.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Simple Reupholstery + New Seat Cushion Core

Since this loveseat was only 4 years old, the customer chose to go with a simple reupholster job.  In addition we built her a firmer seat cushion core.  It now sits firmer and will look good for many years to come.  We like to replace ALL seat cushion cores, because after they have been in the old covers for years, they develop a "set" and loose their ability to expand correctly and fill out a new cover.  Yes, we can make the cover smaller, but then the cushion will wrinkle, have a poor shape after used for awhile and will be to small for the seat opening.

Custom Built Sofa

This sofa won me Upholsterer of the year!!

Ted was chosen as one of Upholstery Journal's 2004 Upholsterer's of the year.  Thanks to his  commercial partner, Cheryl, who submitted his profile and application. Each Year, UJ chooses 3 upholsterer's from each region. He was chosen from the 10 state Midwest region for the custom built sofa above.

When this picture was taken, the sofa had been in his home and had already been used for almost 5 years! Now let me ask you a question: Does your store bought sofa look this good?   Benton Evening News did an article on this:  Midwest Region Upholsterer of the Year - Ted Howard

Howard's Upholstery builds high quality upholstered furniture that looks better and outlasts mass produced manufactured furniture. Folks, it is not hard to do. Did you know that the factories push out a sofa every 10 minutes? Most mass produced furniture is built in  Asia and South America.  They skimp on quality by using such things as plastic legs, cardboard arm shapers, poorly made plywood frames that incorporate low quality methods of joinery,  to few springs or no springs at all, cheaply lined skirts, low quality dust covers, dacron only filling in the inside backs and poor quality sewing- just to name a few. This is very typical of new sofas selling for less than $1700.  Howard's do these kind of warranty repairs for local dealers weekly.

Custom built upholstered furniture is the answer to obtaining quality.   For pricing, choose your frame and fabric from the links on the top right sidebar of this page, send this information to:  for a free quotation.

The Throne - Complete Rebuild

This beautiful old antique chair became known as the "Throne."  The seat, back and arms were completely repadded, upholstered and new trim applied. In other words, all we used was the outstanding frame. It went directly from our shop into a new home.  The chair is missing one of the top finials.  The customer told me he had it at home, and would reattach it later.

Custom Built New Sofa

My son was the lucky recipient of this sofa. This is a brand new sofa that my friend Cheryl and I built in my shop for his wedding present. This sofa will last for years with minimal care. The sofa would have retailed for about $1600. But had he taken that $1600 to a furniture store he would not have got near the quality of this hand built beauty.

70 Year Old Rocker Rebuilt From The Frame Up

This chair was in really poor shape when I got it.I think the customer told me it had been in the family for about 70 years. One of the arms was broken off, and the rocker base springs were broken.

So we agreed that the chair needed to be rebuilt from the frame up.  Here are some of the steps we took to make the chair like new:
1. The chair was stripped down to it's bare frame.
2. The frame was repaired, reglued and refinished.
3. New springs  were added, then came new burlap and new padding
4. And finally the new fabric and decorative nail trim around the arms.

30 Year Old Rebuilt Sofa

The beauty and comfort of older well built furniture cannot be found in the oversized, poorly constructed new furniture of today.  

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Customer Walks In the Door With Only The Refinished Frames

When the customer who owns these chairs came into the shop, he was carrying only the frames. She did the refinishing herself.  I rebuilt the seats and backs from the frame up. No telling what there worth now.

We Pride Ourselves On Quality Workmanship! - BETTER THAN NEW!

These two chairs were complete rebuilds. When they came to me, the springs were literally hanging out the bottom.  All the old fabric, webbing, springs and padding were removed and thrown away.  Starting with only the frames, the woodwork was professionally repaired, new springs were installed, new paddings shaped / installed and finally reupholstered with this beautiful new fabric.  The customer was thrilled. The price with $35/yard fabric came out to $318 per chair.  BETTER than new!