Choosing the right kind of furniture
fabric may not seem that important but may eventually reveal
its significance several years later when you see that the
fabric you originally chose was totally wrong. After many
cleanings, this fabric may now appear stained as well as
faded and possibly torn in a few places. Having children,
pets and a steady flow of traffic steamrolling all over
your furniture can necessitate replacing inappropriate fabric
within a short time span.
Another consideration many people neglect to recognize as
important is the color of the upholstery fabric. While you
may immediately love a certain pattern or color, that pattern
or color may not look as good once it is established in
your living room. For example, bold or vibrant patterns
may overwhelm a smaller room, making it seem cluttered and
claustrophobic when it didn't seem that way before you replaced
your old furniture fabric. Certain colors may clash with
color of your carpet once the colors are next to each other
Consider Fabric Grade
Fabrics are graded on a scale of "A" to "F",
with "F" being the most expensive type of fabric
you can buy. Grades are assigned based on weave complexity,
how it is made, contents of the fiber and how well the fabric
stands the test of time. However, grade does not mean to
designate the durability or quality of the fabric. Instead,
grade just means how much a manufacturer spent when making
Also consider thread count of a fabric. Thread count indicates
how many threads were used per square inch in the fabric.
For example, a square inch sewed with eight thick threads
will not have the durability that an inch of fabric sewed
with 30 thinner threads will provide. An easy way to check
thread count is by holding the piece of fabric up to a light.
The more light that peeks through the fabric, the looser
the fabric weave.
Natural Upholstery Fabrics
The benefits of natural upholstery fabrics such as cotton,
wool, cotton blend, linen and ramie are:
• Ease of cleaning (can be spot cleaned or machine
• Fade resistant
• Pilling resistant
One drawback of natural fabrics is their tendency to wrinkle.
Treating natural fabrics with wrinkle-resistance solutions
can help inhibit creasing, especially with all-cotton fabrics.
Synthetic Upholstery Fabrics
Lightweight acrylic is highly resistant to wear and tear,
soiling and, unlike natural fabrics, does not wrinkle. However,
acrylic that is not high-quality may begin to pill when
used on high-traffic furniture. Often used as a substitute
for wool, acrylic keeps its original color well and is warm
in cool weather.
Microfiber upholstery fabric is also stain and wrinkle resistant,
lightweight and absorbent. Some items made with microfiber
such as tablecloths or vehicle interiors actually repel
spills by causing the liquid to bead and easily roll off
the material. Lovers of suede like microfiber because it
resembles suede but is much cheaper. However, microfiber
fabric is prone to flammability and exudes a poisonous gas
when it is on fire. It is also not biodegradable.
Using vinyl as an upholstery fabric is a great choice for
furniture accustomed to children, pets and households experiencing
a lot of hard furniture use. Spillage is easily wiped off
vinyl, reducing the chance of staining or fading. Although
it is used as a substitute for leather, it is not as durable
as leather, but neither is it as expensive.