If you're looking to renew your interior with a furniture upgrade, it's easy to be tempted to buy new furniture. But before heading to the store or online shop for brand new items, you might want to consider a different approach: Buying vintage furniture - reupholstered or not - or simply reupholstering your present furniture.
It may seem like a complicated and pricey project, but upcycling furniture can actually be a clever, sustainable and often cheaper way than purchasing new. In this blog post, we explore some of the benefits of upcycling furniture, from price savings to its environmental impact.
New or used furniture?
From a climate point of view, reupholstering furniture is a much more sustainable choice than replacing it with new furniture. Every year, millions of tons of furniture end up in landfills, taking up space and releasing harmful greenhouse gases as they decompose. By reupholstering furniture instead of discarding it, we extend the lifespan of the furniture and prevent it from contributing to the waste stream.
In addition, the production of new furniture requires a huge amount of energy and resources, including the extraction and processing of raw materials, transportation and manufacturing. All these processes create greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the critical issue of climate change. Refurbishing furniture instead of buying new ones can reduce the environmental impact of our consumption and save the planet's resources, which we have been consuming over the past many years well before the earth is able to create new ones.
An old 'Papa Bear Chair' by architect Hans J. Wegner. Ready for reupholstery.
Personalise your furniture
Furthermore, reupholstery and refurbishment gives us an opportunity to customise and personalise our home furnishings in a way that is not possible when buying new furniture, which often has quite limited options. When reupholstering, we can choose from a wide range of fabrics and leathers to create a truly unique piece of furniture that reflects our personal style and taste. Do you want the seat in one color and the back in another? The piping and buttons in leather, but the rest in textile? Reupholstery is only limited by your imagination - well, at least with us.
Before reupholstering, the woodwork will usually also be restored, which also allows you to choose the finish: Do you want it oiled, soaped, varnished or stained? Sanded down or a continued desire to retain its patina?
We have previously renovated this early 'KK 6092' sofa by Kaare Klint in new Savak wool and natural leather piping. In KLASSIK, you can design your own piece of furniture in collaboration with our experts.
Less expensive than new
In terms of price, refurbishing is also often a far more affordable option than buying new. Reupholstery and refurbishment is not necessarily cheap and varies according to the complexity of the item and the price of the fabric or leather - but it is nevertheless usually much cheaper than buying a new piece of furniture of similar quality. This applies especially to the furniture we work with: High-quality 20th-century Nordic design furniture. By refurbishing second-hand furniture, you can give it a new lease of life and enjoy exclusive furniture at a fraction of the price of new.
An on-going reupholstery of Arne Jacobsen's iconic 'Swan' easy chair.
'Made in Denmark'?
It is no secret that many new manufacturers, as well as Danish competitors of ours, have their and their customers' furniture reupholstered abroad - unfortunately, we think. Our attitude to the craft of furniture upholstery is indomitable: We only wish to upholster the vintage furniture classics in Denmark. And there are several reasons for this.
You may have come across the 'Made in Denmark' label on the old original furniture classics by architects such as Arne Jacobsen, Hans J. Wegner, Børge Mogensen, Finn Juhl and others. And for good reason. Because there is a certain pride behind the label which is why it is often applied to Danish furniture design. After all, Danish designer furniture - especially from the 1940s to the 1970s - is produced in the highest quality at Danish carpentries and includes both the frame of the furniture and the upholstery work itself. That is what we want to hold on to.
We believe that our Danish craftsmen (and our own upholstery workshop included) carry out their work following proud traditional craftsmanship methods and, as far as possible, using original materials, which is the way we believe furniture of this quality deserves to be cared for and dealt with. Not to mention supporting the local economy and helping to create jobs locally.
A second concern is the transportation of the furniture across borders, which requires a large amount of energy and resources. Besides the fuel used for transportation, there are also emissions generated during the upholstery work abroad, which rarely have the climate credentials that we can be proud of in Denmark. This especially applies to the manufacturing process of the materials used. One of the difficulties for many consumers is distinguishing between types of leather. Because even though leather is often called the same thing by all retailers, it is rarely the same.
Our team member, Stefan Jensen, helps a customer finding the right leather.
The choice of materials matters
At KLASSIK, we have dedicated a lot of effort to making our upholstery work sustainable, yet also the best. That's why we work with carefully selected suppliers in the textile and leather industry who share our ambitions. A low climate footprint and a strong focus on animal welfare. This is also the reason why we use the Danish company Sørensen Leather as one of our main suppliers of leather.
"We work, among other things, with extensive requirements for our suppliers in relation to the environmental impact and animal welfare. This includes the EU requirement to ensure that the use of chemicals for tanning is at a minimum" - Director of Sørensen Leather, Louise Vesterskov Sørensen.
This is why we believe there are many benefits of buying second-hand and having it reupholstered locally instead of buying new. You can save money, reduce your carbon footprint, extend the life of already-produced furniture and support the local economy (being a customer of ours), all of which contribute to a more sustainable interior design that is both beautiful and responsible. So, next time you're on the lookout for a 'new' piece of furniture, you should consider second-hand and local. In our opinion, there are lots of good reasons to do so!
Maintenance of a PK 22 easy chair by Poul Kjærholm at our workshop in Copenhagen.
We give new life to old furniture every day
Since we opened our doors in 1991, our in-house workshop has been repairing and restoring furniture following proud craftsmanship traditions for both our customers and our own furniture. Today, we are proud to have a team of highly trained professionals and experts who are passionate about fine craftsmanship and only use original materials whenever possible.