Fabric Choices: Pick The Best Upholstery For Your Furniture

23rd July, 2020

Follow these great tips and get it right every time.

Whether you’re buying a new sofa or upcycling an armchair, your choice of fabric is the biggest and potentially the most important investment you will make. Make the wrong choice in terms of colour, pattern or material type and it can bring the whole vibe of a room down. You might even have to redo the entire piece sooner than you think! 

But, make the right choices, and you can elevate a room, make a style statement and have a piece you’ll love for years. Here’s what you should consider before you make this all-important choice.

Use & care

Functionality is paramount. Sounds boring, right? But thinking practically about the fabric you need instead of just the one you want can make all the difference in the long run. Ask yourself if these questions:

  • Where is the piece located – high-use area or low profile area that doesn’t get much use (like a headboard)?
  • Does your fabric have to withstand pets, young children, clumsy friend or lots of messy parties?
  • How easy or difficult is it to clean and maintain?
  • Is it fade-resistant – especially if you plan to use it in space that gets direct sunlight?

All of these questions will help you narrow down what kinds of fabric will work best for your needs and make the next steps that much easier. The sheer variety of materials available in the market today makes sure there is something for everyone. Messy eaters or pets who shed may need you to pick distressed leather and stain resistance fabrics instead of luxurious velvets or high-maintenance silks, but when done right, the tradeoff can be a small one. 

Consider the piece as a whole

Solid colours will work almost anywhere, but when pieces with complicated shapes and distinctive features require more thought. Use lighter solid colours for a more open, airy feel, but darker colours can be useful to hide wear and tear. When considering patterns and prints, think about how it will wrap around the edges, the size of the piece, other furniture in the room and if, e.g. your trendy geometric print will work well with a curved shape. Stylish pieces are great but can look dated quicker than a solid colour you’ll love for years.

Fabric types like Jacquard, Vinyls, Velvet, Canvas, Tweed, Linen and Chenille all have specific weights, fibres and treatments that will either work with or against your project. 

Swatch & learn

Patterns, textures and colours all come into play as well. Perhaps the easiest way to figure it out is to ask for a swatch that you can take back and drape over the piece. Think about whether you want a piece to make a big splash or a more subtle ripple? Remember, neutral pieces much like a little black dress or a classic tux can be styled up with bold accessories. This can also make it easy and inexpensive to change up a look every once in a while.

Don’t discount buying fabric online. What was earlier an unconventional approach could be advantageous, especially if you’re handy with a little photo editing. It can give you the freedom to explore various uses for fabric and empower you to make some bold choices; you might not have considered before.

Well-thought-through fabric selections can result in pieces that will become timeless to you. After all, we all want furniture that reflect our personalities and make our spaces inviting. Use this guide the next time you have your heart set on switching up your upholstery and don’t quite know where to start!

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