If your furniture has suffered tears or other such damage, you may not need to get rid of it quite yet. Upholstery can typically be patched up, cleaned, or otherwise repaired so that it looks as good as new. If you decide to tackle this job on your own, note a few common mistakes to avoid so that the end result is as good as you expect and that the repair job lasts as long as possible.
Using a patching compound
Leather or vinyl can usually be repaired with a patching compound, but don't assume that these will work on fabric or upholstery. The patching material may melt into the fabric and discolour it rather than actually blend in seamlessly, and it may also not be able to hold fabric and upholstery together the way it can hold leather and vinyl. Save these compounds for the material for which they're designed rather than thinking they're a cure-all for all upholstery repair projects.
Using the wrong needle and thread
If you take the furniture apart and sew up a tear or rip from the underside, this can keep the material strong and durable. However, as with sewing clothes, you need to use the right tools, according to the fabric itself. Wool is thicker and more durable than a silk or cotton and silk blended fabric; using the thread needed for wool on these more delicate materials can mean having them just tear and rip even more. The wrong needle can also mean stitches that are too large for a fabric with a denser weave, so that they're very visible even when you sew the fabric from the underside. Don't try to rush the job with a large needle, but use the tools that are best for the fabric itself.
Cinching fabric too tightly
When performing any types of repairs on fabric or upholstery, you may need to pull that fabric tight in order to cover the rip, or to create a new hem that you attach to the furniture frame. If you pull or cinch the fabric too tightly, this can cause tears in other areas or cause too much fabric to bunch up around your repair, making that area very unsightly.
Remember that if the tear or other damage to fabric is too large for you to manage on your own or you're not sure how to stitch it up properly, it might be best to leave this work to a furniture restorer. A commercial upholstery service can ensure the work is done right and that the repair job looks professional.