Your Guide to Choosing the Right Upholstery Fabric for Your Furniture

May 25, 2017  ·  4 min read  ·  Reviewed by Sarah Zubowski

Choosing an upholstery fabric for your new sofa or armchair is one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire furniture buying process. You get to have fun gazing at and feeling all different kinds of materials while picturing how the overall piece will fit into, and hopefully complete, your current living spaces. But before you make a selection based on fabric type and quality alone, make sure you carefully consider the following as well, as these aspects are equally important when it comes to selecting the material that’s best for you and your family’s needs, tastes and lifestyle:

Neutral is virtually future-proof 

While trendy prints or seasonally inspired colors may be enticing, neutral colors and patterns are much better at weathering today’s constantly evolving design trends. Plus, you’ll be more likely to enjoy a neutral fabric for longer than one that instantly grabs your attention the moment you walk into the room. If you have any bold accessories you’re particularly fond of and want to make sure they stand out as major focal points of the room, then neutrals are the way to go.

Carefully inspect the pattern 

Closely examine the pattern in the fabric to ensure it lines up, or remains completely unbroken, from the ground up and from side to side. Your furniture should look as though the designers draped a single piece of fabric over the entire thing, even though it’s comprised of several different pieces.

Ask for a swatch 

Many furniture stores will allow you to check out (or pay a deposit for) swatches of fabric you’re considering for your new upholstered furniture. If possible, hold onto the swatch for a few days and put it in a prominent area of the room in which you plan to put your new furniture. This should give you a good idea of how it looks in various light settings and whether or not you are as in love with it after a few days as you were on the showroom floor.

Compare fabric weights 

If you’re looking for a durable material – whether because you have kids, pets or frequently eat/drink on your furniture – you may want to choose a heavy fabric like canvas, woven wool, leather or tapestry. Linen, satin, taffeta and other lightweight fabrics are lovely, but don’t typically stand up to frequent or rowdy use as well as heavier ones.

Know the thread count 

Higher thread counts (number of threads per square inch) generally mean the fabric is woven tighter than a piece with a lower thread count. As a result, high thread count fabrics are usually more durable and capable of withstanding the wear and tear of daily use than lower thread count fabrics. Tightly woven materials with high thread counts also tend to be less porous, making them significantly more resistant to dirt and stains, not to mention easier to clean.

Ask about chemical finishes 

Chemical finishes are often applied to fabrics/fibers for the purpose of enhancing its durability and, ideally, prolonging its lifespan. Ask the salesperson or designer you’re working with if the fabric you’re considering will be chemically finished, and if so at which point the finish will be applied and whether or not it will affect the way you clean it. This information will help you select the best upholstery fabric for you and your family’s needs, budget and lifestyle.

Bring Your Fabric and Design Preferences to Life with Living Designs Furniture

Upholstered furniture is an investment, so don’t just settle for cookie-cutter pieces you might find in a big-box furniture store. Come to Living Designs Furniture for local, custom-designed furniture that’s guaranteed to be as individual as you are.

We’ll listen carefully to your needs, tastes, budget and lifestyle to help you select the fabric that’s best suited for you, then we’ll custom build it by hand in our on-site factory and deliver and set it up for you as soon as it’s finished. We do all this (and more!) at unbeatably low, factory-direct prices, because helping Houston area residents create the custom furniture pieces of their dreams without breaking the bank is our top priority.

Stop by, browse our online product gallery or contact us today to begin the process of turning your dream furniture into a reality!

Share on:

Related Articles