Upholstery refers to the materials used to stuff and cover seats, couches, chairs, and most furniture. One of the ways to bring a new lease of life to old furniture is by redoing the upholstery. Redoing the upholstery upgrades the appearance and style. It increasing the padding or stuffing makes furniture more comfortable.
There is a wide range of fabrics, colours, and styles to choose from including velvet, wool, cotton, silk, and more. Redoing upholstery can be costly and feel like a significant time commitment necessitating some serious thought. Here are some things to consider when choosing upholstery fabric.
Current room décor
Consider the current décor and the appearance of the room where the upholstered furniture will be. Decide whether you want the new fabric to blend in or stand out. This will determine the colour palette and patterns you choose from.
Assuming the room currently reflects your personality and personal preferences, your choice of colour and patterns should reflect that. Colourful upholstery gives an edgy vibe to the interior setting, Bright and colourful fabrics also work well for children’s rooms. Simple striped prints are classy and stay trendy for a long time compared to large, seasonal prints which may soon be outdated. If you intend to keep the furniture like that for long, go for classic patterns like floral and geometric weaves.
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Usage and location of the furniture
How you plan to use the furniture will greatly dictate the type of upholstery fabric. Will it be in a busy high traffic room where you entertain, or will it be in a quiet office area? Do you have children or pets who will be using it?
Choose luxurious textured fabric like wool for seldom-used rooms. Smooth cotton fabric is the best choice if you have children or pets. If you have any sensitivities or allergies, synthetic blends will be a better choice. Other durable fabrics for high-traffic areas like living rooms are corduroys and microfibre blends. Microfibre upholstery remains lint-free and traps very little dust.
For furniture likely to experience a lot of wear and tear, durability is key. One of the measurements of durability is the number of double rubs. Double rub test refers to the back-and-forth motion that mimics the wear and tear of someone sitting on an upholstered seat over time. The higher the number of double rubs the better, especially for high-traffic areas, so 100,000 beats 10,000.
Size and shape
The size and shape of the furniture matter. Is it a sofa or a statement chair? Larger pieces generally benefit from fabric that is of a neutral or solid colour. These colours are easier to enjoy and easier to live with longer.
Patterns work best for smaller items like pillows or accent pieces. It’s also more difficult to make fabric with a bold texture or pattern closely following a curvier-shaped item. For this reason, solid upholstery fabric is a better choice for furniture with angles.
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For furniture that sees a lot of activity or is accessible to children and pets, cleanability is a key consideration. Find out what it takes to clean and maintain the fabric before purchasing it. This prevents some terrible surprises on the cleaning front when you finally have to live with the fabric.
How much do you love the fabric? Redoing upholstery can be a significant commitment so you should love the fabric that you pick. At the end of the day, you should be surrounded by textiles, colours, and patterns that you enjoy looking at and being around.
Pick swatches that fit your aesthetic and that you are considering then bring them home with you to see how they look and perform under different conditions before making the actual purchase.
Check out Lifestyle: Care and maintenance of a couch or sofa
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