Your may love a fabric on your body – you may hate that fabric on a sofa. When choosing an upholstery fabric, these are the factors you have to think about first.

With a custom piece of furniture, there may be a lot of pressure riding on choosing the perfect fabric. Whether it’s on couches, chairs, ottomans or cushions, this choice will be a major player in your overall design look. But these are also some of the highest traffic pieces in a room too, so the fabric will not only need to be stylish, but functional.

To find the perfect upholstery fabric that looks good but will stand the test of time, look for these qualities in your fabric choices.

  • Durability: For pieces you expect to be exposed to everyday wear and tear, there are many durable options available today. Fabric manufacturers have styles that are treated to be stain repellant, waterproof, or UV resistant (meaning their colour won’t fade in the sun). In the fabric itself, look for materials that have higher thread counts and a tighter weave – these will hold up longer against use. If a fabric is patterned, woven patterns will last longer than printed ones. And finally, if a furry friend is sharing your seat, consider the ultimate in durable fabrics: microfiber or leather. Abrasion tests (or “double rub” tests) will ascribe a number to measure a fabric’s durability – the higher, the better. RFP often recommends Alendel 100% polyester and polyester blended fabrics.
  • Care: If you have a durable fabric, you’d probably like it to look its best for as long as possible. That’s where the care comes in – you can get fabric pre-cleaned before upholstery, or sprayed with protectant once it’s on the piece. As stated previously, other treatments include UV protection and mess resistance. In most cases, spot cleaning will be the easiest option – but for larger cleanings, its best to have your slips be removable with a zipper and follow the care instructions given by the manufacturer and dry clean, handwash, or throw them in the washing machine, respectively.
  • Colour, Pattern, and Texture: Each of these three elements have different impacts on the look of a room: colour adds atmosphere, pattern adds drama, and texture adds depth. With almost endless options, the variety can get overwhelming quickly – have a specific colour palette in mind to start, and then decide if you want your piece to be formal, fun, simple or ornate. Keep in mind the other pieces in the room and make sure each piece is in harmony with the other.