If your old sofa or chair has a good frame, it is well worth reupholstering. A frame is the essential element in the structure and if it's solid, there's no reason to go out and buy a new piece of furniture when you could have it reupholstered.
So, how do you tell if a frame is a good one? A good frame is made of hardwood: oak or maple, for example. These woods are very strong and have longevity. One way to tell if your frame is made from a hardwood is by the weight. Hardwood is heavy. Many times a furniture salesman will lift up one end of a sofa to demonstrate the frame's weight.
High prices in lumber have caused many furniture manufacturers to resort to using materials of lesser quality and cost, materials such as soft woods and inexpensive plywood. This furniture, made from low-quality materials, will not hold screws, nails, staples or glue for very long and cannot endure the everyday stresses in which most of today's furniture is subjected.
But, back to the hardwood frame....
The hardwood frame, even if substantially damaged, can be repaired and reupholstered to look new for far less than the cost of a comparable piece in today's marketplace. Every good upholsterer should know how to fortify and repair such a frame.
Building on your old frame, the Re-upholsterer re-ties the springs, puts on new webbing, all new padding and filling, and totally re-creates the piece of furniture. This is all hand-work involving a high degree of skills. What you get back is a piece of furniture in the caliber of a custom-made piece.