Ignore the superficial scratches or rips and tears in upholstery—these are simple fixes a dedicated DYIer can easily do. Focus on finding pieces with good bones: a classic chair or sofa with ugly upholstery? Snap it up before anyone else does. This 1930s rattan couch was part of an eight-piece set that was languishing at a Chappaqua tag sale. People walked by it because the cushions were is such bad condition. But designer Brenda Kelly Kramer saw beyond that and bought the set for just $150.
“The cushions were ugly, but well made, so I didn’t need new ones,” she says. “I had slipcovers made for $30 each (including fabric) and did a contrast welt to really show off the lines.”
The set was recently appraised at more than $3,000—an excellent return on her investment.