If you’re simply buying a reupholstered antique, rather than commissioning the overhaul yourself, you’ll still want to do your due diligence to make sure the quality is up to snuff before you commit. That moisture sensor will come in handy here, too, and take note of the piece’s country of origin: Expensive French and English antiques tend to be hardier and more dependable than, say, Italian-made chairs, says Brackeen.
Do a spring test, running your hand along the underside of the seat to hear if the springs make a sound as you tap them; if appropriately taut, they’ll “ding.” Remove the cushion, if you can, and sit directly on the deck of the chair. “It should feel even, without one spring popping to make it lopsided, tight enough to be comfortable,” says Brackeen. Try sitting down and standing up quickly: The crown of well-upholstered cushions should spring back within 10 seconds.“If she’s not back by then, she’s gone,” the designer laughs.