Getting the best sofa fabric for your new or refurbished sofa set is a significant investment. The last thing you want is to be faced with buyer's remorse a few weeks later because you chose what you thought looked nice without considering how it would serve your family's purposes. Colours and patterns are important too; they should work with the rest of the living room. This article discusses the most important pointers that should determine the fabric you choose.
1. Kids and pets
Instead of being worried about stains, spills, fur shedding and premature wear, your topmost consideration should be fabrics that are hardy and durable, and preferably in darker shades that don't show dirt and stains easily. Here are some qualities to look for:
Weave – Fabric should be weaved tightly. Get a swatch and rub it with your fingernails repeatedly. Do not buy it if fabric strands shift or there's a mark left. Choose fabric with the same strength of weave (not heavy strands in one direction and thin strands in the other).
Stain testing – Carry a swatch home (buy a small piece, if need be) and see how easy it is to remove common household stains.
Wet test – Wet a portion, bend and rub it and then place a weight on it. It should resist the weight and remain as close as possible to intact according to the weight you placed on it.
Diagonal – For mohair and velvet, bend the fabric on the diagonal to see how tightly woven it is: more visible rows means worse quality
You can also choose removable slip covers which can be taken off and washed regularly. This allows you to have your own choice of fabric underneath (as a bonus, you can take off the covers when you have company).
2. Aging characteristics
Whether your choose fabric or leather, it's important to consider that it won't always look the way it does when new. Ask the dealer about the fabric content in exact percentages, and then research to know its cleaning needs and aging characteristics. Leather develops a green-to-brown film over time because of oxidation, and exposure to sunlight will cause any material to fade over time. Will you still love it then? You can reduce wear and fading by placing the couch away from direct sunlight if possible or by closing the blinds when the sun hits the room directly.
3. Furniture shape
Many people don't consider the shape of the sofa itself when selecting fabrics/materials. For instance, curvy, intricate pieces look better with solid-coloured fabrics which allow the design of the piece to stand out. Also, patterns, motifs or complex textures may not look as good in the final product because of the cutting that goes into upholstering curves. Larger pieces will also look good in solid (or classic neutral) colours. You can add splashes of colour with smaller pieces like throw pillows and rugs to break the monotony.
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