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Choosing Upholstery Fabric

How to Choose the Right Fabric

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Sofa - Hickory House

Sofa - Hickory House

Photo (c) Hickory House

Some aspects of choosing upholstery fabric might seem pretty obvious such as selecting a color, the single biggest factor in fabric selection. However, since it's always good to take your needs into account, here are some other factors you might want to consider.

Fabric Durability

  • Choose a fabric based on who will be using your sofa. If your pets will also be sharing your sofa with you, consider a microfiber fabric or leather as they can withstand heavy use.
  • Consider fabric durability if your sofa will be placed in a high-traffic area of the home.
  • Woven patterns hold up longer than printed ones, as do higher thread counts. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric, and denser fabric lasts longer.

Fabric Style

  • Your fabric choice should approximate the style and character of the piece it is covering. For example, a traditional fabric would look better on a traditional style of frame.
  • Some fabrics appear casual, while others might look more formal. Choose a fabric to echo your own style or theme that you have established throughout the home.
  • Consider the scale of the pattern. It should be appropriate to the size of the furniture it is covering, as well as the room size. A large bold, pattern might work better in a larger room, while a more muted or smaller one might be a better choice for a smaller space.

Fabric Color

  • Color is the most important reason people choose a fabric, so make sure your color choice is appropriate. For instance, it may be best to avoid a very bold color for a smaller room, especially if your sofa is also large.
  • Avoid delicately colored fabrics around children and pets.
  • To strike the right mood, consider the color temperature. Since warm and cool colors affect the mood of the room, make sure you’re choosing the right fabric for the right mood.
  • Avoid trendy colors, unless you happen to really like them. Color trends come and go so be careful. What if you don't consider eggplant attractive in the first place? Will you be able to live with a color even when its popularity wanes?

Special Considerations

  • Fade Resistance: Consider if your fabric is fade resistant especially if it will be placed in a room that gets plenty of sunlight, or will be placed close to a window.
  • Mildew Resistance: Look for fabric that is mildew resistant if you live in a humid climate that fosters mildew.
  • Allergies: Consider fabric such as microfiber for certain allergies because it is lint free and does not attract dust.
  • Pets: If you have pets avoid using delicate fabric such as silk, or any fabric with lots of texture. Select pet-friendly upholstery instead.
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