The right upholstery can completely transform the look and feel of your furniture. Ideally, it should complement your room’s décor and the furniture itself while also proving practical for your needs. If you’re on the verge of purchasing upholstery for your furniture, do some research and consider the following to make sure you decide on the right fabric. What type of fabric should you choose?
Consider the style of your furniture as well as its function to help when choosing the type of fabric. Is your furniture in a traditionally themed living room that is only used on occasion? Consider the luxuries of silk; its gorgeous appeal will be eye-catching, although it’s not very durable. Are you looking to outfit the casual family couch that’s used on a daily basis? Look for a cotton blend or a microfiber that are resilient and sturdy and will endure years of constant use. A good measure is thread count: the higher the thread count, the longer it will last. What types of fabric are available?
There is a wide range of fabric that can be used for upholstery. They generally fall into two categories: natural fabrics and synthetics. Here is a brief overview of several common fabrics: Natural Fabrics: • Cotton:
Cotton is durable and resistant to wear, fading and pilling, but not as resistant to dirt and wrinkling. Cotton can go from casual to formal depending on the weave. •Cotton blend:
Cotton blends are slightly more durable than cotton due to the mix of additional fibers. •Leather:
Extremely durable and functional, leather wears well and gets better with age. •Linen:
Resistant to pilling and fading, linen provides a crisp and casual look to furniture. However, it wrinkles and shows dirt easily. •Silk:
This elegant fabric will add a sophisticated and formal touch to furniture. Due to its delicacy, its best for light use and requires professional cleaning. •Wool:
Blended with synthetic fiber for easier maintenance, wool is durable while also being resistant to pilling, fading, wrinkling and soil. Synthetics: •Acetate:
Developed as imitation silk, acetate is resistant to pilling and shrinking, however it doesn’t hold up well for everyday use due to its tendency to wear, wrinkle and fade in the sun. •Acrylic:
Developed as imitation wool, acrylic may pill easily if not of high quality. However, it’s softer than natural wool, and is resistant to wear, wrinkling, dirt and fading. •Microfiber:
Made from polyester fibers, microfiber is similar to suede and is easy to maintain, durable, and affordable. •Nylon:
Nylon is often blended with other fibers, creating a durable fabric that won’t wrinkle or soil but may fade and pill. •Polyester:
Usually found in a blend with other fibers, polyester is resistant to wrinkling and fading. •Rayon:
Though prone to wrinkling, rayon is durable and affordable. •Vinyl:
Durable and affordable, vinyl is a more affordable option compared to leather. What type of pattern should you consider?
If you choose a patterned fabric, be sure it’s scaled appropriately to the furniture and the room; a small-scale pattern may feel lost in a large great room, and a large-scale pattern may consume a small ottoman. What should you think about in terms of color?
Choose something that works well in the room but also functions appropriately. For example, if you have small children and pets, you may want to steer clear of white. Also, be sure to understand whether you want a warm or cold color; it will ultimately affect how the overall look is perceived. How do you protect your upholstery from sunlight?
If your couch is sitting in a constant stream of sunlight, you’ll want it to be upholstered in something that is fade-resistant. Cotton, linen, acrylic, and polyester are all good fade-resistant options. How do you read fabric grades?
It’s important to understand fabric grades since they do not indicate quality or durability, only how expensive the fabric was to make. Based on a scale from “A” (least expensive) to “F” (most expensive), fabric grades measure the weave, fiber content, construction and performance characteristics and vary per manufacturer.
Begin your upholstery search here by viewing our large assortment of fabric styles, from luxurious silks to casual linens.