If you want your sofa and chairs to last make sure that you read this post before you buy your sofa. Here I’ll show you how to choose the right fabric for your sofa and chairs like a pro, so that even Lucy, the Wheaten, will have a hard time destroying them.
Fabrics Grading System
Unlike your high school grading system where “A” is a hotshot, in the fabrics grading system, it may stand for the lowest price point. As you guessed, it scales from a less durable fabric to the most durable or trendy fabric. For example, the “B” grade sofa fabric dictates $1,500 while the “N” stands for the most expensive $3,200, for the same piece.
What does it mean to you? No matter how well your sofa is built you should certainly pay attention to the fabric. Even some of the upscale furniture stores can sell you a sofa that won’t last because of the quality of the upholstery fabric. So, if you do not want to deal with trouble and expense of reupholstering, choose a more durable fabric right away.
Here are the steps for choosing upholstery fabric:
1. Choose Medium or Heavy Use Fabric.
Ask your salesperson if the fabric is for light, medium or heavy use. If you have kids, pets and your lifestyle is very active go with heavy use fabric.
Fabric’s sustainability is measured in double rubs. The double-rub testing method uses a special machine that passes a testing pad back and forth over the fabric until it is worn out. Each back and forth pass is known as a double-rub. Commercial grade fabrics are usually rated at 100,000 to 250,000 double-rubs. Residential is usually between 10,000 to 25,000 double-rubs.
For example, chenille fabric is 15,000 double rubs.
Light Use – 8,000 to 10,000 double rubs. It will not sustain everyday wear and tear. For example, you will not want silk fabric in the family room.
Medium use -10,000 to 15,000 double rubs. This type of fabric is very often a combination of rayon, cotton, and polyester. For instance, 44% Rayon, 33% Polyester, and 23% Cotton.
Heavy Use – 15,000- 30,000 double rubs or more. Honestly, you don’t need more than 30,000 for any reason unless your business involves parties for dogs. Polyesters, combination upholstery fabric, and some commercial blends are included in this category.
2. Fabric Color
Because most people don’t change their furniture every day it makes sense to consider the color of the fabric. First, figure out if you tend to get tired of saturated or dramatic colors quickly.
Solid colors or patterns with a small repeat offer more flexibility when you choose accents. On the other hand, if you are a fan of bright colors or patterns you won’t need to worry about accessorizing with pillows and throws.
Color can change the look of the familiar or otherwise boring sofa. For instance, a classic or traditional sofa can turn into a fashion statement with unexpected fabric colors.
Use fabric color for creating a certain mood of the room. Dark blue, denim or navy fabrics are perfect for a beach house. Depending on placement, finishes, and pillows these colors will look crisp, playful and hip or understated and sophisticated.
Many people stay away from bold patterns for the upholstery fabric. They prefer to use pillows as accessories instead. Likewise, if you prefer bold patterns as the main fabric go for a solid pillow to top it off.
The shape of Furniture and Fabric’s Pattern
Certainly, the shape of your upholstery piece has to work with the fabric’s pattern. For example, a sofa with straight lines will look better if you choose a pattern with straight or geometric angles.
On the contrary, a rounded shape will look great with floral patterns or allover motif. Use patterns with a large scale for a more modern, updated look.
There is no limit in the variety of different textures available today.
When you select a texture, remember that your upholstery will be consistently compressed so it might be hard to maintain the look of overly dimensional texture. In addition, always get a sample of the fabric you want to use. Stretch it, compress it and see if it changes its structure.
You are making a big investment and the more planning you do the more successful the result. No matter what fabric you choose for your sofa remember to plan before you buy. This is what designers do with every project as it never fails to plan. One of the best ways to do planning is by creating mood boards. You can cut out the photos of the fabrics you like and pin them to a foam board. For those who like apps, there are many of them that allow you to create mood boards where you can digitally layout all the swatches, colors and ideas so that you see everything in front of your eyes.
First, I created numerous mood boards for just one room. I don’t want to bore you, so I show only one, final version.
Here is the finished room above.
How do you choose the right fabric for your sofa and chairs? Please do tell me. If you have a friend that is looking to invest in a new sofa and chairs, please share this post with her. Of course, please post your questions here below. I’ll be happy to help you!