The right fabric for YOU

Gone are the days of formal living rooms and furniture covered in clear plastic. Our customers are looking for fabrics that are durable, and easy to live with. The challenge becomes prioritizing what features are most important as you’re designing your reupholstery project.

Image courtesy of House Beautiful
Image courtesy of House Beautiful

The thing we hear most around here is “I want something that’s durable”. Well our fabric vendors have heard you loud and clear! The number of patterns we have with a high abrasion rating has grown exponentially each year, to the point that there are very few light or medium duty fabrics left in our gallery. With an industry standard of 15,000 double rubs for a heavy duty designation, the majority of our fabrics have left that number in the dust. It’s now typical to see 30,000, 45,000 and even 100,000 double rubs on residential fabrics.

Crypton velvets from Robert Allen have both stain repellant and heavy duty abrasion rating.
Crypton velvets from Robert Allen have both stain repellent and heavy duty abrasion rating.

How do these fabrics look and feel ? Typically they will be solid, or lightly textured fabrics that have these high numbers. Velvets have by far the best for performance of all the options we carry. Whereas in the past durable fabrics were hard or scratchy, modern mills are making fabrics with a soft pile and tight weave so you don’t have to sacrifice performance for comfort.

Another thing to consider is care. Sure, it would be great to be able to chuck our cushion covers in the washer/dryer when we want to clean them, but washable fabrics are few and far between in the furniture industry. With few exceptions, upholstery fabrics are designated solvent clean to prevent damage to the feel and appearance of the fibers.

Upholstery fabric will have one of the following codes for care.
Upholstery fabric will have one of the following codes for care.

Before you consign yourself to a plain canvas cover, keep in mind that these cleaning codes mostly apply to stains. The best thing you can do for your upholstered furniture, no matter what the cleaning code, is to vacuum it. It’s amazing the difference you will see gently using the upholstery brush on your cushions, seats and arms. Vacuuming prevents general dust and dirt from accumulating, helps fluff up your cushions (especially down!) and gives stains less to adhere to if they do happen.

If you are in the habit of having your upholstered furniture cleaned, there are solvent cleaning products available through home improvement stores, and many professional rug cleaners also do solvent furniture cleaning as well. A lot of vendors are also offering various after market stain repellent treatments for a nominal cost per yard, like Nano-Tex, or Teflon. If you like to enjoy nachos on your sofa on game day, this would be a great option to consider.

A good piece of advice is to think about what is most important to you as you approach a new upholstery project. Knowing what your intended use is, the color/texture you want, and how long you want to keep the piece will set you in the right direction to get exactly what you want for your piece.