Karin Verzariu of Key Interiors gives us essential guidance on how to choose the right fabric for your sofa and armchairs.
1. A textured neutral fabric is a good choice, camouflaging any small spots; it will be more interesting than a completely plain fabric for some time to come. It will also blend well with scatter cushions in patterned or strong colours, which are easier to change if you tire of them.
2. Patterns can be good for families with pets and children as they camouflage the wear and tear. Beware of mixing too many patterns though, as you may tire of a pattern more quickly than a plain fabric.
3. Weaves and blends are often strong and durable, and frequently made in natural materials which will only require an interliner to meet fire retardant regulations, and so are softer, more pliable and comfortable to sit on.
4. Leather is easy to clean but can be cold to sit on in winter and stick to you in summer. However, good quality leather does look better and better with age. Beware of very light coloured leathers – denim jeans might rub off on them and create an unwelcome blue effect.
5. Polyester and blends: these can usually be more easily spot-cleaned but may not meet fire retardant requirements and may require back-coating which can stiffen fabrics.
6. If there are pets in the family it is advisable to avoid velvets and chenilles as their fur will work its way into the fabric. Cats love to claw at them, too.
7. Review the rub test; if it’s over 30,000 it would be a good choice as it’s more durable.
8. If you dislike wrinkles it’s best to avoid linen. There are linens available with an added viscose or similar mix, and this can reduce this fabric’s propensity to crease. Linen can be prone to soiling especially in light colours.
9. Choose the best quality fabric you can afford and you will enjoy it for many years.
10. Don’t forget to think about the interior construction of your cushions when choosing your sofa – feather, feather/ down or foam with feather wrap. The seat cushions are often filled differently than the back cushions, which need to be softer. Remember that the fabric is only a covering – what is beneath it is even more important.
For a comprehensive selection of some of the finest upholstery fabrics available, visit the fabric section of The House Directory.